Saturday, December 31, 2011

New kiln brings a new adventure for the new year!

I'm an art dabbler -- painting here, beading there, and a million other art forms in between.  Working with glass is one thing I've always loved though, and I've been lucky enough to take courses in fusing, lampworking (making hot beads), stained glass, flameworking and glass blowing.  But fusing glass in a favorite!  I love to make jewelry, and the few candy dishes I've made were so fun and a chance to stretch my creativity.

This Christmas, my husband surprised me with a kiln that gives me the chance to fuse glass to my heart's desire, as well as work with ceramics.  It's a Paragon Janus kiln, which has a switch, allowing you to use different coils in the kiln for different types of materials.  I never dreamed I'd ever have one, and it was an amazing surprise.  He did his research over the past few months, had an electrician in to give it a specific type of outlet and had this heavy sucker delivered on a big truck while I was home and I still remained clueless!
These are the only two that kinda worked out of my first batch

Yesterday, we tried it out for the first time, since we've had to spend the previous 3 days applying kiln wash to the shelves to prevent glass and paint sticking during the cooking process.  It also gave me time to visit my wonderful art-partner, Pat, who lovingly lent me a newer cutter, nippers, a couple of molds, some kiln paper and some research books.

Unfortunately, the only glass I had on hand at home was my stained glass, and the pickin's were thin!  We tried a few things with an open mind and here are the results (good stuff above, bad stuff below).  Only one or two things are good enough to wear -- I discovered the opaque glass had too much lime in it and it developed a detrification, or milky coating.  I also tried to slump a piece of glass before fusing it, even though I knew you were supposed to do this in a two-step process.  Can you blame a girl for trying?    It took about 7 hours for all the steps in the kiln, and we let it cool while we slept. We checked it constantly throughout the afternoon-- hoping for good results and making sure there would be no fires.  I have complete confidence now in the process, and look forward to purchasing nice, compatible glass, stringers etc. and try again, learning more each time!
These are the ones that didn't work, however, I know where I went wrong now!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cement Becomes Artful

My husband, Jan, has a recent obsession with concrete.  He's begun doing some artful things with it....we now have a gorgeous new coffee table, which he made with Australian walnut and brown-colored cement. I love all the little pits and natural look of it.

His latest piece of our new bathroom countertop.  We purchased an old 1960's cocktail cart and he made this top out of stained concrete for it.  He has sealed it and it shines to a gloss, still retaining its cement character.  The bathroom is almost done now -- just need to place those tiles as a backsplash, and we've created a new look for it for very little.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Glass Blob Magnets Always Useful, and Sometimes Sentimental

I love a good glass blob.  I put them in vases, surround my candles with them and I like to make magnets using them.  I remember the first time I ever saw a glass drop being used as a magnet -- my uncle, who I adore -- gave me a simple, small glass blob magnet with an image of an Orca whale on it for Christmas years ago.  I treasure it not only because it reminds me of him, but it reminds me of the killer whales I used to see growing up in British Columbia.

I've been making the magnets for fun ever since.  I usually buy the blobs and magnets at Michael's -- usually the 1" ones, and have fun leafing through my magazines for images to put underneath.  Occasionally, I will also paint pictures underneath or find an image on google as well.  Unfortunately, I sold all my magnets at that holiday faire a few weeks ago and completely FORGOT to take photos of them before I brought them to the show.  One of my favorites was the Yoda magnet, which  I think I embellished with a little sparkle. (Martha Stewart has a thin-line glue pen that allows you to draw with, then apply sprinkles on top.)

Here's what they can look like, and an accompanying "how to," should you decide to try it yourself!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Getting My Blog Through Facebook

I don't know about you, but I enjoy Facebook.  I like to read about what's going on in my friend's lives and catch up on my favorite blogs.  Some of these are: What I Wore, Budget Babe, Art With Kids, and My Frugal Adventures.

If you would like to follow my blog, "The Art of Being Creative", on a regular basis, please click on the Facebook icon on the far right column and "like" my page when it brings you to Facebook.  You will not only receive on your Facebook all my posts from this blog, but also other artistic ideas I do not always duplicate on my blog.  Don't worry about being overburdened with all of you, I have a million things on my plate and usually only do something creative enough to blog about once a week or so!  Thank you again for your interest, and keep those creative fires burning!

Love,  Kath.

Music to my Eyes

Christmas is fast approaching, and I was running out of ideas of what to get a lot of people.  My child's music teacher is one of my favorite, so I thought I'd make him a painting that would come from my heart.  When I create a piece of jewelry or painting for someone, you can bet I have given it everything I have, with them in my mind the entire time.  I really hope he likes it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Success Selling my Paintings!

It can be kinda scary putting my art out, and although I enjoy sharing my art with you on my blog and corresponding facebook page, asking someone to purchase one of my works is something completely different.

My girlfriend encouraged me to do a holiday craft boutique with her on the weekend, and I made about 12 mini canvasses, several earrings and necklaces for the event.  I can't say the jewelry was as glitzy as hers and it wasn't my best, however, I did work hard on the canvasses, trying to enjoy the process for what it was instead of concentrating on what would sell.  I made small 4X4 wide-edged canvasses, as I felt I could offer a more affordable price for them  -- I sold them for $30 a piece.

Here's a photo of me with some of the canvasses -- I managed to sell 5, along with a few other jewelry pieces, so I'm fairly happy.  It was fun.  Not in a big hurry to do it again, but I'm glad I stretched my neck and got out there!  Many thanks to my friends who came to check out our creations!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lovin' My Messenger Bag Embellishment

I was at Pottery Barn a couple of weeks ago and saw this really cool messenger bag on sale.  I don't normally go for these things, but the price was right, the fabric was a wonderful thick felt, and it had an irresistible seatbelt strap.  How could I NOT pick it up?  Anyhoo, I decided to embellish it with some colorful felt flowers and birds and I'm loving the effect.  I think it really changes the look to go from serious to quite whimsical now.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Finding Creative Time in a Busy World

Today, I had a friend ask me how I coped with all the craziness that goes on in life.   The first thing I told her is that I do the best I can, and sometimes, it's not enough, but each day gives me a new chance to try again.  Then, it occurred to me that when I'm creative, I'm at my best.  It fuels my passion, and let's me cope with the drama and negativity that sometimes can drive my days.  Being creative gives me a positive, happy outlet and puts a smile on my face.

The days I paint, or make a pair of earrings, or even dream of the next project I'm going to work on is always good.  I've accomplished something, I've done something for myself and I've put something artistic into the universe.

I am extremely grateful for those of you who read my blog, who may be inspired by my creative endeavours, and hopefully, do more of your own thing as a result.  This blog has been really good for me, and thank you for sticking by my side days are challenging and the creative muse does not show her head.

Thanks again, and stay tuned as I post more of my art as I get ready for a holiday art boutique coming up!

Love,  Kath.