Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fire Divas Holiday Traditions

Believe it or not, sitting behind our torches aren't the only things Diva's do for the holidays. I asked the Divas to share some of their holiday traditions.

My own personal favorite holiday tradition is going to the bonfire lighting on the levee of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Tradition there is that Santa can't see to navigate the bayou in the dark so all the families would come out and build these 20 - 30 foot high bonfires to let Santa know where to stop. Now, entire villages have bonfire lightings. 
 Some of the bonfires just before Christmas Eve 2009
They have contests for the shape of the bonfire, the local fire dept will have a chili contest and sell of the makings. People play Christmas music from speakers on top of trucks. It goes on til Midnight and you can see bonfires for miles miles on the levee. 

Lara Lutrtick's favorite holiday tradtition dates back to junior high:

My mom would bake gingerbread houses and my sister and I would go and pick up the candies we wanted to use and make yummy houses. My sister now lives far away, but I would like to see her and my nephew make gingerbread houses too, maybe when he is older.

Sonja of Silver River Glassworks reflects back to her German heritage

My favorite Christmas tradition is Christmas Eve at my sisters house. We have a traditional German meal with homemade spaetzl and then read the Christmas story out loud. Then we open gifts and hang out.

Amy Sims of Amy Sims Designs concentrates on making memories for her children:

I don't really have any from my childhood, but for my kids we've been making gingerbread houses every year and that's been a lot of fun. Now that they are getting older the house are getting more elaborate and better executed!

 Rose of  Spawn of Flame takes pleasure in simple tradition.

We go to church.

And Cindy of CindyLynneGlass cracked us all up with her holiday traditions:

There was a traditional poker game that my parents and my mothers brothers and sisters would always play after dinner and gift opening. My cousins, my sister and I would put on a skit each year. We did little comedy acts, or made up plays, I would do some gymnastics. Havent thought of that in years! But I can remember a picture my mother took of me wearing a wig, white gloves and a short shirt funny, I can see that picture clear as day in my mind!
 And folks, here it is! Cindy in all her glory!

We would LOVE it if you shared some of your holiday traditions with us below!

Happy Holidays from the Fire Divas!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ventilation for Glass Beadmaking

Last month Sonja gave you a tour of her studio space, and this month I thought I'd elaborate on some different methods of ventilation. Ventilation is an often discussed topic in the world of lampworking, and it is one that not everyone is in agreement over. When you are working with a propane and oxygen mix torch, silver, fine powders like pixie dust and enamel, it is very important for your health that you have good ventilation.

A good ventilation system consists of a way to expel the air around the torch area to the outside, and a source of clean make-up air. Depending upon the size of your room, the location, (enclosed basements are not a good place) and the number of windows you have, you will need to find a way to make sure that you are getting all of the bad air out of your space so that you don't breath it in.

When I was setting up my first studio in Ohio, I ended up setting it up in the front room of our house! I realized that the basement would not work because I would be too close to the furnace and I no good source of makeup air. I found a good scratch and dent range hood on ebay that had a 360CFM fan that we hung over my table. This was vented out through the window along with the propane hose. When I torched, I opened up the dining room windows so that I had a good source of fresh make-up air. This worked very well.

When we moved to Atlanta, I had the opportunity to start from scratch with my studio, which was great! My studio is in our walkout basement, with a door and a window. I had a vent installed on a side wall for fresh makeup air-I just open it up when I  torch. For my ventilation fan I chose to use Andrea Guarino-Slemmons' concept. I bought the fan she suggested, and had it installed under the window beside my table.

The inlet sits on my desk, and is piped out under the desk. It works great-I've accidently had it suck up my silver leaf! I thought this would look much cleaner than the vent hanging over the desk, and it does. But, I quickly learned two things: first, I missed the great light I got from the vent hood so I had to get a floor lamp to set behind my table! Second, I miss the space on my table that the vent is now taking up. Oh well! I'm still very happy in my new studio, and I can breath easy knowing that I have great ventilation :) If you would like to see more of my studio space you can check it out on my website: www.amysimsdesigns.com/studio-2

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fire Divas Holiday Glass Beads

We interrupt your regularly scheduled lampworking due to a Christmas decoration Pile up Blocking your access! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!
In the meantime lets visit some of the other Fire Divas who are able to get to their workspaces!
Holly has made these adoreable Ornament beads, what cute earring these would make! http://www.etsy.com/listing/14629092/ornament-earring-pair-glass-beads-red
Lara Lutrick made this cute snowman pendant what a great gift!!
Rosemarie Hanus Made this set of gorgeous organic Christmas beads.
Amy Sims made this beautiful big hole bead perfect for Chanukah or Christmas gift giving!

Kathleen Robinson-Young shows her attention to incredible detail in this gorgeous floral bead.

Sonja McClung made this beautiful set of Christmassy florals.

We wish you all Happy Holidays.... now go forth and shop!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Color Obsession

Like most artists, the Fire Divas all have color obsessions. This month, I asked the team, "If you could use just ONE color, what would it be? And... what makes you love it so??"

Cindy of CindyLynneGlass was the first to jump in:
Oh gosh its hard to choose just one color but being that Pink is my favorite color and I wear pink extensions in my hair I have to go with CIM Cranberrry pink. I love that I can get a brighter pink or a deeper cranberry depending on what glass I use as a base, add dichro which is also an all time favorite of mine and it just puts me over the top! Pink and Sparkle?! Puhlease its a girly girls dream!
 Hot Pink by CindyLynneGlass

I had to suggest my personal fave Blue Steel. It's a Bullseye 90 COE but I just LOVE this rich gray - blue. reminds of denim and makes me want to curl up with a good book by a fire with a mug off cocoa! This color is just comfort to me!  You can see it dead center in my Pantone Colors of Spring 2013 set: 

The always elegant Lara Lutrick chose my #2 favorite as her top choice: opal yellow.
Opal Yellow, hands down. I like the blush of peach and pink you can get with the yellow. The base of all three of these beads.Let's have a closer look:

Sonja of SilverRiverGlassWork has another favorite:
Currently, my favorite glass is Psyche, mostly because I never know what its going to do! LOL!

Amy of AmySimsDesigns got a rude awakening upon mentioning her favorite color:
Double Helix Kronos is my go- to single color. I can get so many different shades of blues and greens out of it. ( I'd prefer the original to the Kronos 2, but you can't get it anymore!)
 The other Divas were all so sad to tell her that Kronos 2 is no longer being made either! AGGGGH! The glassworkers greatest dilemma: as soon as you fall in love with something, it goes extinct (and the price goes through the roof!)  This is Amy's current fave with her soon to be former favorite color pinned to the new Fire Divas Pinboard (follow us!)

But colors going extinct isn't the only dilemma faced by glass bead makers. As Rose of Spawn of Flame points out:
It's so hard picking just one color. I don't usually use the glass that morphs into other colors! Right now, this minute, I would choose an oldie - Effetre Medium Red. When it behaves it makes the most beautiful red. Ask me tomorrow and I might just pick something else.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I'm Coming Home.... Tell the world I'm Coming home...

May 7, 2011.... It's not a holiday anywhere in the world that I know of....It has no real significance probably to anyone but me, unless of course it's your birthday LOL.  And if that's the case, here's an early Happy Birthday wish!!!! ;-)

May  7, 2011...  It doesn't really seem that it's been 18 months.  It is and was, the last time I posted on this blog. The article was a dedication to all Mothers,.... a visual Mothers Day card from the Fire Divas.  And as I was reading that article, a song by Skylar Grey popped into my head... and although all of the lyrics don't  necessarily pertain to this article, the following 3 lines do:

                     " I'm coming home,
                        I'm coming home,
                        Tell the world I'm coming home...."

You see, this was the first team I joined on Etsy.  I learned how to promote here, how to effectively work my site, how to take better pictures, and in the process I also made new online friends, got reacquainted with old friends who were part of the group, and developed relationships with members in other countries. I learned to blog, tweet, re-tweet, HootSuite, Flickr, and a host of other valuable tips and techniques that helped my online visibility. The team is made up of a group of really fabulous and caring ladies.....all very  uniquely different- who share a common love .....glass.  It's the glue that keeps this team going ..sorta' like the  "Energizer Bunny"....  we just keep going , and going, and going....LOL

So it's fitting that today it feels like I'm home....It's familiar,--- like slipping on an old favorite tattered but cozy housecoat, or favorite fuzzy slippers....like, getting back on a bike..... It's comfortable.

In keeping it "real"... hats off to these Divas....oh,.... and feel free to check out their sites.. It's a perfect way to beat the holiday rush,-- and find fabulous finished jewelry and beads, that are unique and one-of-a-kind!  Happy Saturday!!!!!


Amy Sims Designs
Babs Beads and Design
Cindy Lynne Glass


Holly's Folly Glass


Silver River Glass Work

Spawn of Flame

Ugly Duckling Beads

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Look at a Lampworker's Workspace

I thought I would share what my lampworking space looks like so that you can see a little bit of how lampwork glass beads get their start.  Do keep in mind that each lampworker's space will be unique to their style of working and what level of messy they can stand while creating.  This is super messy for me, but I know lampworkers whose space is far messier than mine and they make some fabulous beads lol! 
So any way, this is my main work area,  you can see my kiln on the right, my ventilation in the middle and my lovely purple torch slightly to the right.  As you can see there are lots of tools, scattered around as well as glass.  On a side note, I drink a lot of water when I am torching, since the heat makes me thirsty lol.

This is my glass.  It is stored on these shelves by coe (co efficent) and then further organized by color.  I will be honest, I can go downstairs and just enjoy looking at my glass. ( I have a hard and fast rule that I don't torch when I am tired, its dangerous and not worth the chance of burning myself badly.  Don't ask me how I found this out lol)  So on the days that I work I don't torch.  So if I am really feel the pull to torch on those days, I will go down and do some pre torching color matching and designing.  Lampworking helps me destress and relax and it makes me happy to make beautiful things.

Please, have a look around our blog and check out the great lampworkers and the wonderful beads that they make that are a part of this group.   Now you have a bit of an idea what at least one lampworker's space looks like!
Sonja McClung

Saturday, October 27, 2012

After months away from the torch the weather is finally cooling down thanks to hurricane Sandy. I decided yesterday would be the day I would light my flame and melt some glass. I turned on the kiln to begin its warm up, brushed off the dried up leaves (dont ask) and the cobwebs and dust from my bench, got the music playing, propped open the garage door just enough to let in some fresh air but not be exposed to the wind gusts outside. I made myself a yummy berry smoothie, turned on the fan and plugged in the ventilation....... the time has come to torch! I turned on the propane..........hissssssssssssssss! Oh no! I checked the regulator to make sure it was screwed on tightly, turned the propane back on and hisssssssssssss! The valve on the propane tank is leaking! *Heavy Sigh* aaaaand.......... thats a wrap, shut it all down! :o/ I will live to fire up the torch another day!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A cause near and dear to me....

As some of you know I have a very special place in my heart for homeless dogs and spend alot of time on facebook advocating for them. My girl BB was rescued at 8 weeks old, 1 day away from euthanasia, by a wonderful rescue called A Second Chance Puppies and Kittens Rescue. I was thrilled and a little nervous to be invited to join them at their Autumn Pawfest! I dont really do shows with my beads and jewelry but for this cause I could'nt imagine saying no. Now I am busy gearing up for this event, Im hoping to fire up my torch and get a few more beads made to include in my booth so wish for some cool days and an active muse for me will you?! If you happen to be in the area I would Love to meet you, maybe you'll end up with a furry critter or some glassy goodness!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fire Divas Show Off October's Glass Beads

The days get shorter and  things just get... busier! All of the Fire Divas are feeling the effects of Fall!

Sonja of Silver River Glass Work has been feeling the pressure at her day job, filling in for a co-worker which leaves precious little time for torching glass beads. So she has set some goals for herself. Sonja is concentrating on hollow beads and scroll work as a way to focus her flame sessions! Great idea Sonja and the results are lovely:

Sonja also reports that she is so happy to have reclaimed her metalworking space from her son's snake! She plans to add more metal work projects to her shop soon! The snake had no comment on new accommodations.

Kids and shows are taking up Amy Sims time these days. She is most excited about her new leather bracelet designs that are selling like hotcakes!

Amy's next show is October 25th in East Hampton and is a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness. You can read about it on her blog.

Cindy of Cindy Lynne Glass is always busy chasing her pittie pup pack around but she's found time to work with more copper and making cuffs. She was most excited to show off a new focal glass bead:

Susanne  of Bab's Beads is thrilled to be finding herself behind her torch now that Fall is here. Isn't this bracelet just gorgeous?

Lara Lutrick is tripping ... road tripping that is... She and Lori Bergmann took a road trip to all their favorite glass and jewelry suppliers recently. The hit Frantz Artglass, Shipwreck Beads and Double Helix all in one day! Lara has also been busy doing inventory for tax season... Oy! What a task that is! Luckily, something elegant is always coming out of her torch.

Lara is celebrating her five year Etsy-versary but... the sale ends TODAY... so get over there soon!

Rose of Spawn of Flame has also found herself very busy at the day job but is very excited to show off her new "Candy Corn" set of beads:

And Holly of Holly's Folly Glass is happy to be back at the torch. Her current favorite bead is Punkin - a mini kitty with a leaf tail made from Tangerine Sparkle Glass.

That's what most of the Diva's are up to in October. We hope you will think of us when shopping for your holiday gifts!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Divas Getting Ready for Fall

Hard to believe we are halfway through September! The Fire Divas are all busier than ever!

The Divas are so excited that our very first fearless leader, Cindy of Cindy Lynne Designs has returned to the team! You are going to love getting to know her and her fun beads again! Cindy lives in the hot state of Florida and doesn't get to torch much in summer but always keeps a stash of beads back to list in her shop or to work on her beautiful copper pieces.

Sonja of Silver River Glassworks is focusing her energies on filling her Etsy shop this fall and taking the emphasis off doing shows. She is working on  a series of sets that will have two colors and three or four different designs with a pair of each color combo as part of the set. 

Susanne of Babs Beads and Design is glad the hot summer is coming to an end and she too is getting her shop ready for fall. 

Amy of Amy Sims Designs has a big show coming up next weekend!  She is most excited about her new Raku Flower Bead: 

Lara Lutrick has done three bead shows this year and is making a lot of production beads (i.e. beads with silver wire, beads with silvered ivory stringer) in a rainbow of colors. Her favorite type of bead to make this time of year are Halloween beads, like these:

 And Holly of Holly's Folly ~ Glass has been bitten by animals.... animal prints on glass beads that is:

 The Divas all hope you are enjoying your fall!!! Please be sure to check our Fan Page for the latest glass bead designs from the Divas!