Category Archives: friends

Get well, Sheri

Our Sheri had surgery today.  She’s actually been online briefly telling us that things went well and she’s OK.  I am very glad to hear that and now I want her to use that pain medicine.  Sheri, feel better quickly!

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Featured Artist: Patty Pulliam

I’ve known Patty for a long time it seems. She makes some simple, beautiful boro beads. She’s a great mentor as well and readily shares what she knows with you. Just ask and you’ve got it. I hope you enjoy what she has to say about lampworking.

*Featured Artist Patty Pulliam

1. How did you get started in lampworking? What was the thing that made you interested?

I saw it on TV and was intrigued. When Tammy from TLD called me to see if I wanted to learn, I jumped at the chance.

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2. How long have you been lampworking? Is it a business for you or a hobby?

I think it was Jan of 2001 that I had my first class. It’s mostly a hobby, but I do try to sell my work.

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3. What inspires you? How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?

Nature is a great inspiration. Nothing is more beautiful than that! It’s tough when the glass muse goes in vacation. Sometimes I look at the gallery at LE to jump start some ideas.

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4. Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? Why?

Tough one! There are so many great artists out there who I like for different reasons. Kimberly Affleck for her gorgeous seahorses and great personality; Anastasia always awes me with her unique style; Pipyr because she’s so inventive and really thinks outside the box… and she’s adorable!

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There are lots more as well. Too many to list!

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5. What is the best thing about lampworking? The worst?

Best: Melting glass and playing with fire!

Worst: Not getting to do it full time.

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6. What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching?

Well, flinging a hot marble into your lap is always fun!

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7. What kind of set up do you use? Torch?

At home I use a GTT Lynx and 2 oxycons. When I’m teaching at TLD I use a HotHead and bulk propylene.

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8. What is your favorite glass?

BORO!!

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9. What are your favorite color combinations?

I think silvered ivory is my all time favorite. “Dougie Pink” is always fun to make.

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10. What’s your favorite technique? What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?

It’s simplistic, but I really love using clear frit over the boro reactive colors. It’s so easy and makes some of the coolest results.

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Making good loops on pendants makes me want to scream sometimes.
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11. Is there a shape that you really HATE to make?

Bicones! Can’t make ‘em symmetrical to save my life.

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12. Do you have a ‘comfort’ bead

The boro frit bead. I really enjoy just making simple round beads. It’s meditative.

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13. How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future? What are your goals?

I want to become a more consistent lampworker, with my results as well as doing it on a regular basis. I don’t think I have any articulated goals, but I always want to improve. I guess getting better with sculptural stuff is a goal.

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14. What do you consider as successful? What is the key to getting there?

I would consider myself successful as an artist if I could completely support my habit by selling my work. I wish I knew the key!

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15. What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?

Practice, practice, practice! • Don’t work too hot. • And slow down.

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16. Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?

Yes!! I love taking all kinds of classes. I would be a professional student if I could afford it.

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17. Do you teach? Will you travel to teach?

I teach classes at TLD Design Center & Gallery in Westmont, IL.

Yes, I’m planning some classes at GiaRosa Creativity Studio & Retreat in Taos, NM.

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18. What other creative outlets do you have?

I like to play with all media. I enjoy paper, fiber, polymer clay,metals, wood… you name it! I also enjoy photography and some digital art. I have Art ADD. 🙂

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http://www.rusticstudio.com

When creativity has left the building

I had 2 year bout with this…during my father’s losing battle with cancer….and a year later when my business mentor faught and lost her battle in just about the same time frame.  During this period, I felt like a creative slug.  Just going through the motions day to day.

I couldn’t see it at the time…but that’s what actully helped.  I Kept going through my creativity motions.  Kept my hands and eyes working in my medium…even tho my heart was breaking.  Just kept going through the motions.  Kept going into the sewing room.   Kept surrounding myself with my “creativity stuff”.  I even took classes in a new medium (they called it lampwork..hee hee)

Do I feel that I created “art” during this time…nope. 

One day….I was done with grief.  I had a dream that night for a new direction in my felt work….creativity had re-entered the building.  sigh.

I realized after this experience…that I needed regular intervention and peer support.  We tried offering a group with an assignment based approach…it was good for a little while… but then, several of us began to feel angry and down on ourselves (I could never complete my assignments on time!)  After some time had passed…some wounds had healed…we tried again with the group we call  “Creativity Continuum”.   There are no assignments or due dates (unless they are self imposed)  We meet once a month with a “coach” to keep the meeting on task…but we always have an activity….that makes you use your hands differently….your eyes differently….different materials…different approaches.  Our main goal is to keep our creativity muscles moving so we’ll always be ready for the “work-out” when creativity returns….because you know it will be a work-out!

 

Tammy Deck

 

 

Featured Artist–Brent Graber

Featured Artist Brent Graber

 

What can you say about Brent? He’s funny. He’s a wonderful teacher. He’s in love. He makes beautiful hearts. He’s a wonderfully talented glass artist. He’s a great dad. He’s just one of my favorite people. Have fun getting to know him a little better!

 

 

 

 

How did you get started in lampworking?

 

I had a friend in south Florida that made marbles and sculptural stuff in his garage. I saw the set up one day and asked what it was. He had a Carlisle CC and an Aim front loading kiln. I asked if it worked and if I could melt something. He handed me a clear glass rod, lit the torch and pointed to a pile of crushed colored glass he called frit. Funny name, but what the heck, I’m game… I melted the clear, rolled it around in some of that frit stuff and I was hooked!

 

What was the thing that made you interested?

 

The fire and the weird tingly feeling I got when I melted glass… it was a rush and it was definitely not easy. I knew I had to figure it out… I just had to!

 

How long have you been lampworking?

 

I’ve been lampworking for about 8 years I guess. Time really doesn’t matter when you’re doing what you love, so it may have been longer. Sure doesn’t seem like 8 years!

 

Is it a business for you or a hobby?

 

This is my sole source of income. I’m a single Dad with 3 kids. I have custody of two and this obsession feeds us all. I am very grateful for everything I’ve been able to do in this industry and look forward to a lifetime of melting glass.

 

What inspires you?

 

I am in love with glass. I love everything about it. The way it moves… the way it captures light… the way it looks while I’m working with it. It truly is awe-inspiring. Most of my inspiration comes from the glass itself. I make objects resembling other things, but it’s because the glass lends itself to the shape or design so well. Some of my best work has come from an “Awe crap” moment… like… “What am I going to do with this now?”

 

How do you get the inspiration/motivation back when you are in a slump?

 

I play. I don’t set out to make anything in particular. I sit at the torch and melt something. It will eventually become something interesting and if it doesn’t, I throw it into the woods. Some people think it’s a shame for me to launch a good portion of my work, but the truth is, most of my work wasn’t made to sell. It was the process and I learned what I needed to from it. That was it’s purpose and I am happy to set it free.

 

Who are your 3 favorite lampworkers? Why?

 

I don’t have 3 favorite… I have at least 100. There are so many talented lampworkers and wonderful human beings in this industry; I couldn’t possibly name anybody my 3 favorites.

 

I can name 3 people who make me weak in the knees when I see their work…

 

Paul Stankard… that in no mere mortal. What he does with glass makes me shake my head. He is living proof that there’s no end to what we can do in glass.

 

Luccio… I’d really just like to know how he gets those tiny fingers all perfectly positioned without melting the one next to it. Mine would all look like burn victims. Mutilated freaks and that’s why I don’t add arms to my human forms yet.

 

Robert Mickelsen… If you’ve seen his work, you know why. 😉

 

 

What is the best thing about lampworking?

 

Everything!

 

The worst?

 

Running out of propane…

 

What is the funniest or scariest thing that ever happened to you when you were torching?

 

It’s the same story… funny and scary! I’ve got to give you the back-story first. My Dad used to be a welder and we live in Florida. We have bugs… big as your head… biting bugs. I used to do a lot of lathe work and I have two hand torches as well as a bench torch on my lathe. One night after a session, I came inside and told him the bugs were eating me alive. He said they used to kind of swat at the bugs with their torches when they were welding. He explained that the bug’s wings were so delicate that they would burn up and it didn’t hurt you, if you did it quick. This fascinated me…

 

Ok, so now fast forward a few weeks or so. I’m on my lathe and there is this yellow fly. It’s a deer fly type bug on speed. I swear these things are part psychic and part Ferrari. He was chewing on me left and right. I had about 6 bites to my legs and every attempt to smack the hellhound resulted in more humiliation. He finally pissed me off! He landed on my big toe (I wear flip flops all the time). He devoured my innocent soft flesh, just happily trying to grow a toenail. I had my Carlisle premix hand torch blazing. I knew what had to be done… I had never been so clear about an objective… I was gonna cook his little butt!!! So, in one fell swoop, I poured the full fury of my 18” blue flame of death onto his fragile little frame. His little world came crashing down and the biblical hell fire and brimstone stories came to life for him… I rejoiced… I was smiling from ear to ear, until I remembered what was under the bug… and as the flame shot sideways, deflected by my toe, I realized I hand forgotten about the most important part of my Dad’s story… “It won’t hurt you, as long as you’re quick!”

 

I managed to finish the piece before the throbbing set in. The toe was black for a good long while and the blister can only be described as enormous. The bug didn’t recover. 😉

 

What kind of set up do you use? Torch?

 

I use a Bethlehem Barracuda and power it with two concentrators from Unlimited Oxygen. I love it!

 

What is your favorite glass?

 

What ever I’m melting at the time, but I do predominately work in boro.

 

Do you have a favorite technique?

 

Not really… It’s all fun!

 

What are your favorite color combinations?

 

Amber Purple over Egyptian White Sands…

 

What’s your favorite technique?

 

See the question before last… I guess you didn’t like that answer, so you’re trying to trick me. I’m on to your crafty games. LOL

 

What technique makes you want to bang your (or someone else’s) head against the wall?

 

The more challenging the better… why would I hate anything? Just because I can’t do it right yet? A real challenge gives me something to look forward to. If I could do everything, I wouldn’t be interested in doing any of it.

 

 

What is that shape that you really HATE to make?

 

Butt plugs. That always made me a little uncomfortable. Oh, by the way… I made sex toys out of borosilicate glass for years. So I’m being serious when I say they were not my favorite shape… 😉

 

Do you have a ‘comfort’ bead?

 

Hearts. I figure there can never be too much love in the world and I really enjoy making them.

 

 

How do you see yourself developing as a lampworker in the future?

 

My goal is to explore every thing I have time for. I love doing larger sculptural work. I’ll hopefully be healthy enough to do this in some form or fashion, for a very long time. Right up until the day I die would be perfect!

 

What are your goals?

 

To be happy and raise my kids with love in their life. To never stop caring about the people around me…

 

 

What do you consider as successful? 

 

Look in the mirror… if you like what you see and there’s a smile more often than not, you’ve achieved it.

 

 

What is the key to getting there?

 

Love yourself enough to do what you need to do for you… love others and give what you can, without expecting anything in return… realize that you are unique… and you deserve to be happy… just like everybody else. Forgive others when they do you wrong, but it’s ok to avoid their evil asses if you can. You don’t have to like everybody… but you do have to like yourself. 

 

 

What would be your 3 best tips for new artists?

 

Don’t compare your work to anybody else’s. There will always be folks who have more skill that you and there will always be folks who can’t do what you can do. If you compare your work to your work, it’s the only fair comparison… if it’s getting better, you’re successful!

 

 

 

Some times the very best ideas come from a mistake you didn’t give up on… it comes from playing and trying new things. Realize that there are no limits to what you can do and you don’t have to do anything in particular… PLAY!

 

 

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself…

 

Do you like to take classes from other lampworkers?

 

Yes, it’s a lot of fun!

 

 

Do you teach? 

 

I do and I love it. It’s one of my passions. I absolutely love it when a student figures something out or realizes that they really can do something difficult. It’s a magical moment and I’m blessed to be a part of it.

 

 

Will you travel to teach?

 

“Have torch will travel!”

Judithe Hernandez

I’d like to give my friend Judithe and the show she’s going to be in a nice plug.  Judithe is one of the early Latino muralists in LA and the only woman of the time.  She is going to be exhibiting fifteen of her works (and selling, I hope!) in this show.  I am really excited for her and I hope that anyone who can come, will. I can gauarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Happy Valentine’s Day by Patty

Love and challenges. I learned a little something about this recently. Sometimes love can really be challenging, and in many different ways.

I was doing a trunk show recently, and a woman saw one of my vessel pendants. Casually, she asked if I could make one in a heart shape. Intrigued, I said that I would try, not really sure how I would go about this challenge.

She went on to explain that not long ago her son, who was in his early twenties, suddenly died, and she wanted a vessel to put some of his ashes in so she could carry him with her always. Of course this made me even more determined that I would create a vessel for her that is worthy of it’s duty.

This was definitely a challenge to figure out how to make the shape out of a blown vessel. It took me several attempts and a couple of weeks, but I finally got it to work out. Here are some of the “prototypes”:

The first one I tried in boro and it didn’t quite work. The second one in soft glass wasn’t any better and I didn’t even bother to put handles on it. (There were a couple of other attempts that aren’t even worth photographing!) I was getting really frustrated until the third one, and the shape came out nicely, but unfortunately it had collapsed down too much and is not hollow. Finally on a roll, I created these two:

Now this is what I’m talking about! She chose the one on the right, which is a little smaller than the left. Seeing the bittersweet look in her eyes was justification for all the effort I put into this.

While I was working on this challenge, I thought about how loving can really be a challenge. Whether it be a spouse, significant other, child or pet, loving comes with definite ups and downs. What my client just went through definitely makes one think if it’s even worth it to risk loving. Fortunately for most of us, our hearts won’t let us choose – it tells us that without loss, we may never appreciate the love we share with the targets of our affection.

Many of us will tell our loved ones today that they are loved. But let’s not let that end with just today. Take every opportunity to tell the special ones around you that you love them and that they mean a lot to you.

So to you I say: “I love you and you are very special to me!”

Tuscon

WooHoo!  Mari and Keith went to Tuscon this morning.  Mari promised to be our ‘Tuscon Correspondent’ and I can’t wait for the first installment.  I would guess we won’t see anything tonight. 

 Going to Tuscon is one of my dreams.  My friend Marilyn and I always talked about doing it ‘next year’ and for her next year won’t be happening.  I swore that if she was still alive by this February I was going to get her there one way or the other but it wasn’t meant to be.  I will go someday but it won’t be the same without her.

Does anyone else have as damned much trouble doing their business stuff as I do?  (Mari and Keith YOU can’t answer this question.  LOL)  I was fine as long as it was all beads and findings and things like that.  Now I am buying sterling silver wire in the 35-40 ounce range and making jumprings.  Of course, I use some of it as just plain wire and I’ve also bought jumprings.  That doesn’t take into account the base metal jumprings either.  I have a lot that are annodyzed aluminium and some that are niobium.  The aluminium ones I bought by the bag, not by the ounce.  The niobium were by the ounce.  Arrrrrgggggghhhh!  I spent the afternoon weighing things.  Decided to convert the bag ones into ounce ones because it’s going to be hard enough for my pea brain to keep track of it anyway.  And what do I call the wire that I’ve already turned into jumprings?  Is it catagorized under wire or rings?  And what do I do with the wire I buy to turn into rings…and so on and so on.  I’m sure that once I get a system figured out it’ll be fine but until then I could scream.  Then Don tells me that I need to account for my seed beads somehow too.  Really?  All million of them?  LOL  I can’t even do a good guestimate for them.  I’m not liking this at all.  I planned on a lot of other things for today and that was nowhere on my list.

So how was YOUR day?