Sharing My Favorite Creative Work

(C4ward March Blogathon Day 3 post, a day late because Monday is my insanely long day with no breathing room) What should I show as my favorite creative work? In what area did I DO my favorite creative work? Was it this pair of chainmaille earrings? Or these earrings made from one of my favorite pairs of lampworked beads? Was it this paper I did for my first art class on German artist Käthe Kollwitz? Or perhaps the debut performance of the dance troupe to which I belong at TribalCon last month? I can’t decide!!  

Don’t forget the attitude!

Three years ago, at the first show that Andrea and I did together, we saw the importance of a good attitude to having a successful show. This weekend's show is certainly testing our resolve at sticking to that principle. It's pretty tough to remain cheerful and friendly when the chill has penetrated your very bones, you lost feeling in your fingers hours ago, you dread having to visit the porta-potty again because you'll have to bare your backside to the elements, and the many people that walk into your booth and say very nice things about your work then walk …

All set up, come on down!!

This weekend is a biggie for us — it's Copper Dancer Designs' first big outdoor festival! We're heading over to Chastain Park for the second annual Chastain Park Arts Festival tomorrow and Sunday. It's going to be coooooold, I expect, with tonight's low at freezing or just below. By the time I get there tomorrow around 9:15 or so, it'll hopefully be back above freezing. The high is supposed to be in the low fifties, but that's pretty darn chilly when you're standing or sitting around. We set up for the festival this afternoon. It was in the low fifties, …

Quickie

No, not THAT kind of quickie ::frown::. I spent all evening doing all the show prep stuff that I know not to put off until the last minute but do so anyway. I always end up cleaning the last batch of beads on the last night, and then they have to be sorted, culled, placed into sets, inventoried, placed into the right place in the display boxes. Everything has to be fit into as few boxes and totes as feasible, and then eventually put into the car. Oops? Did I say put into the car? That didn’t get done yet. …

The Great Cabochon Experiment

I was told several years ago that if you have round beads that have broken in half due to thermal shock, you can use your kiln to slump them down into little oval cabochons and thereby make use of otherwise wasted glass. This certainly appealed to me, being one to not waste anything. I mean, other people have nubs and shorts of glass that they are always trying to get rid of, but MY shorts get used up until there’s essentially nothing left. Of course, the people that have slumped their beads were doing it with “soft” glass, aka COE …

Show Prep

Unlike you may think, I don’t torch right up until the night before a show trying to make as much product as possible. Tonight, in fact, was likely my last session on the torch before this weekend’s Down the Street Bead Show. Anything that’s made on a mandrel — that means beads — has to be cleaned after it comes out of the kiln and off the mandrel. That means hauling out the handy Dremel and zapping all the bead release out of the middle, under water. Yes, it’s messy! Once the beads are cleaned and dried, they have to …

Branding & Being a Polymath

My business partner Andrea commented on Twitter this week that I totally fail at branding. I tweet about rescue dogs, academia, early music, lampwork and jewelry, words, health care, and politics. She’s not alone — I could almost have written that tweet, though mine would have said “I tweet about rescue cats, computing, lampwork and jewelry, bellydancing, chainmaille, and teaching.” The same thing is true of my blogging, as you know if you read Art of the Firebird regularly. I blog and Tweet and post about whatever I damn well please, which means I may focus on beads one day, …

On the Road to Roanoke

Observations: Even after rush hour ends, Atlanta traffic, even in the off-direction, is no fun. There’s a Carhartt outlet at Commerce. I wonder if they carry women’s stuff. Bulldogs are loveably slobbery fun to pet. Playing tug-of-war with a 40 pound bulldog is a good workout for your deltoids & such. The guys at Mountain Glass Arts don’t see me very often, but they do seem to like it when I (and my credit card) stop by. Burger King’s food hasn’t improved in recent years. What goes up, up, up on I-26 must eventually come down, down, down into Tri-Cities. …

I Don’t Do It Alone, Part II

Besides Gary, there’s one other critical person associated with my business — my occasional business partner Andrea, of Four Tails Lampwork. Although we have separate online businesses, we team up to do shows, and that works out VERY well for us. One reason is that our styles of work are complimentary but not copy-cat; she works mostly in soft glass and I work mostly in boro, and we both exploit the characteristics of our chosen glass as much as possible. Having a second person there to “share the load,” so to speak, makes doing shows when both of you have …

ALMOST Indestructable Mandrels

I work mostlywith borosilicate glass (better known as Pyrex), which tends to make me a mandrel-killer. These mandrels are stainless steel TIG welding rods so are meant to handle heat…just not the kind of heat I need to make that glass MOVE where and how it’s supposed to move. I burn through 3/32″ mandrels routinely when working on bigger/more complex beads or when trying to do two or three basics on a single rod. I can even burn through a 1/8″ mandrel without any real problem. I haven’t quite burned through a 5/32″ mandrel (the ones I use for Pandora/Troll …