Thursday, December 28, 2017

My Kiln Has a Boo Boo!

I'm no kiln repair person, but my diagnosis is that the relays in my kiln are done in.  I had a small project to fire and when I checked on the kiln the next day, the computer said the project was complete ....but the kiln was still on...and firing hotter than the programmed settings. I thought I shut off the kiln a second AND a third time...but despite the readings on the computer, the kiln continued to, everything is now shut off at the fuse box until repairs happen.

             I found someone who does these repairs but he's on vacation til next week.  The last pane is in progress so the only hold up is firing. 

It's a great opportunity to catch up on other things, like cleaning the studio some endless task complicated by the fact that I am a terrible organizer!  Oh well, I guess the kiln shut down is a blessing in disguise!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Don't Let the Light Go Out !

It's the darkest time of year but we have winter holidays that bring light to us .

Chanukah ended at sundown what does that have to do with my glass blog?

Glass is all about light. Light passes through it, reflects from it, and offers us color, pattern, and, and sparkle!

The Ark door windows are progressing. Since I am working on the mirror image of the left door, there are no new photos that reveal anything new. The fourth window is complete and the 5th should be competed by the end of the week.

Let the shine in !

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Kiln Action

Two of the three panes have spent time in the kiln. Pane #3 will go in tomorrow.

Today I brought the panes to the ark to check on fit (they are slightly too large ... which is an easier problem to solve than if they are too small!)

The designer of the windows was there to see his design come alive!     Check it out!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Panel #3 !!!!

I am a couple days behind schedule...harumpf!
Life demanded my attention.... but finally, the third panel is completed! 

Tomorrow I will fuse the top pane and hope that all goes well. Before I start the next set of three, I need to cover the middle and bottom panes with least an hour or more of work! 

I'll then take the master "cartoon" and flip it to get a mirror image.
That will be an hour of drawing before I can cut out the pieces for the remaining panes.

It's very exciting...exhausting....exilharating...with small bouts of frustration mixed in! Honestly...the frustration is pretty minimal and mostly has to do with my lack of patience.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Confetti Glass Adds Texture

Look carefully ...I am holding onion skin-thin clear glass called confetti. I have been laying this down on the the clear glass around the flowers, stems, and leaves to add some texture and visual distortion to the clear background glass. It is time consuming...but more successful than my attempts at trying to find a firing program that would accomplish the same thing, failed.

I tried using lava cloth as one option...but the patterning was too regular:

While I didn't cover the entire test piece with confetti, the piece below shows you a sample of the distortion I can achieve with clear confetti. 

I think the first panel will be fired on Sunday....stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The ark and Amud

The ark and shtender are in place and the chapel is taking on a greater feeling of completion!

I wish I could hurry the glass along, but these things take time.

What is a shtender? It's yiddish for a stand.... a book stand. Think of it as a reading stand.

Typically a bimah is a raised "stage" area where we place a shtender or amud (hebrew).  In the old days, the bimah was in the middle of the room. It is more common to see it in the front of the sanctuary now. The shtender was usually placed in the front  but now typically is located on the bimah.

Because we want the chapel to be as accessible as possible to all, there is no raised "stage." Its a smooth walk or roll up for those with walkers or wheel chairs.

At a later date I'll tell you about the builder of these items, as well as some of their special features.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Two Out of Four!

Three and a half hours to finish cutting and then gluing the pieces down .... but it was worth the push! 

Two panes down. One more to finish the left panel. My goal is to finish that third piece by Thursday. If I proclaim it publicly, I might just accomplish it!

Wish me (and my back) luck!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Knowing When to Stop!

Knowing when to stop or at least when to take a break can be challenging when you want to just push through and "git 'er done!"

If I cut myself (even a little bit) it's time to take a break. Where there are competing Thanksgiving Dinner, I stop.

I raced against the clock today, but it is almost I stop.

Leaves and vines have been cut out of paper and glued into place.
My father's tailoring tape measure served as inspiration and a reminder today to place the pieces as closely as possible to conserve glass. I don't want to have to go buy another piece in order to finish the project. Sunday I will resume my efforts and hope that pane #2 (middle left door) will be ready for the kiln by Monday at the latest.

In case you are tuning in to my blog now, let me catch you up.
Robison Jewish Home has been renovated thanks to the generosity of many....especially the Schnitzer Family. The new building is the Harold Schnitzer Health and Rehabilitation Center. The Chapel is currently also being renovated thanks to the generosity of the Glasgow/Cogan Families in memory of Sarah Glasgow Cogan. 

The ark has been designed (by Gary Pearlman) and it is complete, save for the glass window inserts (which I a making.) It's an exciting opportunity...and I will talk more about the people who are making this project happen in future blogs....but...I have to race against sundown, so for now....

...Shabbat Shalom Y'all!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


The second panel is under way....Three hours in the studio produced a new work table free of clutter, a clean saw with a fresh supply of water, all the red and orange flowers/green crowns cut, and the base glass trimmed, washed and ready to receive adornments.  

The little pieces....ah....the little pieces! Sometimes the paper likes to slide off the glass before I am finished.  Pictured above are a few of those pieces ready for washing and placement....

Thanksgiving is just a day away....and that means some time away from the studio......

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Grinding small things

That's the sound of a tiny glass blob slipping our of my grip at high speed while I am trying to grind it down.

I won't tell you verbatim what sounds I make when that happens!

Remember those dichroic dots I showed you a few posts ago? They were still too I have to grind down each little blob.

It's cold, wet work (my lap grinder is outside) ..... but my grip is getting stronger!

I've ground down about 25 so far.....only lost two!

A Second Look

Just another few adjustments to some of the orange flowers and this piece is ready to go.... 

I also need to wait for the kiln test to run it's cycle. It's a good start and I think I have a sense of how to streamline the process for the next 5 panes.

Gary Pearlman designed this piece...and it just feels right! 

I'm smiling!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

First Glimpse!

Almost....almost done assembling the first panel. I need to reshape one flower, move a couple pieces, and add in the rest of the pieces(3) ...but the top left pane is nearly done!

I haven't gotten to the kiln to run a program test....but maybe tomorrow! This panel took a week...but if I can can adjust my work space to be a little more ergonomically friendly, I might be able to complete the next five panes more efficiently.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Today I decided it is time to move my ring saw indoors. It's getting too cold. First I worked on cutting leaves and vines for the ark door project (2 hours!)....while admiring the leaves in my back yard forest! I will miss my time out there....but I won't miss my very cold fingers (that had to thaw out before I could type this blog entry!)

The ring saw has been moved to a seldom used bathroom. The tile saw and the lap grinder will remain stowed outside, drained and wrapped for upcoming freezes.

Tomorrow, I'll cut the base glass, assemble....and run a test of the firing schedule before I waste a lot of expensive glass!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Spots Before My Eyes

Dichroic blobs spots, beads.... call them what you will...there's a lot of 'em! More than what is in this photo! The color seems a bit washed out....yes, it is my personal lament...photographic dichroic glass is just  an elusive thing.  

These came out of the kiln today. I worked in my outdoor wet studio cutting leaves...but I know that I need to relocate the saw's just too cold! 

More photos tomorrow!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Glass Flowers!

Paper cutting is part of getting the pattern onto glass so I can cut the pieces with greater precision. The glass shown in the second picture is red iridized glass. The irid finish prevents the red from showing up in the angle of this photo.

I have cut  red and orange flowers and buds for the first pane...about 1.5 hours of work. Tomorrow I will cut vines and leaves....whoo hoo!!!! The fun part of this journey has begun!

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Beady Eye

This is just a small sample of the almost 200 bead/blob sets I just finished.

That means I had to cut a total of 200 dichroic squares and 200 size-matching clear squares. Two hours later...they are becoming blobs in the kiln as I write this.

Let me just say, this is not creative work! It does allow me to get into a groove, listen to music, and.... get a sore back. That's my next challenge. How to stand at my bench for long periods of time without developing a bad back.

Sunday I begin cutting flowers, vines, and leaves. I'm excited because the work isn't repetitive. The colors and the shapes change!

Bring it on!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hiatus is Over!

It's been about 6 weeks since I began the glass door project. 
I needed to prep for Celebration of Art...a very wonderful show.
Jack and I had a wonderful time collaborating and we are excited to continue exploring the kinds of wood and glass that will share  conversations!

But now it is time to grab that pattern I posted back in September and start the process of cutting patterns and glass.
I am so excited to devote some real time and energy to this next project.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Friday, September 15, 2017

Creating the cartoon/glass pattern

Gary Pearlman is a fabulous designer...he drew this set of three panels... 
In order to make copies on a large format machine, I had to trace the pattern with a sharpie....
THEN, I had to flip one of the patterns and redraw it on the back side so I can have a right door pattern.

Tedious work, but also exciting...I am inching closer to the fun work. 

Next step in the process: number each piece on a master cartoon was well as on the other copies.....after each piece is numbers, the paper pattern has to be cut out and glued onto the right color of glass.

Time invested: 

40 minutes numbering the master cartoon and 2 pattern sets for cutting

Why did I forget to number the master before photo copying? SHEEESH!

Stay tuned...more to come!

Monday, September 11, 2017

The beginning of a New Glass Journey

Green, green amber, striker orange and red
iridized glass

I've been involved in various volunteer efforts for Cedar Sinai Park for many many that I don't have an exact number. I remember being there with my mom to visit  patients and residents and often playing accordion and guitar for various programs there. I've been helping to lead services and since my retirement from the school district I have been volunteering as a writing teacher, service leader, hebrew tutor, and I also serve on the board of directors.

If you don't know about this amazing organization, you should. It is a model for how to provide services to those who need convalescent care as well as for the elders in our community who desire independence or semi independence in a stimulating environment that feels like HOME! 
Go to: to learn more.

Lots of construction has been happening on site as new buildings have been built and the old building is getting a remarkable facelift. The synagogue at Robison home has been gutted...and as I write this, drywalling is happening.  A brand new ark has been designed by Gary Pearlman, a most talented artist and interior designer. We recently worked together on a metal and glass Tree of Life for the synagogue lobby of Congregation Neveh Shalom....and NOW I am thrilled to be part of this new project. I'm going to build 6 fused panels for the ark doors. Each panel will be 15"x18". This is a new endeavor on a few fronts for me, so I want to chronicle this adventure here in my blog.

Step 1: Consult on the design with Gary and discuss the limitations and advantages of fusing vs. stained glass. 2hrs

Step 2: A field trip to Bullseye Glass. 1 hr

Step 3: A trip to a large format copy machine to create 2 full size cartoon patterns. 30 min

more tomorrow!

Total time to date : 3.5 hrs

Friday, September 8, 2017

New Shabbat Tray: Irid subtleties

This is my newest effort...."playing" with iridized glass. I have layered irid green on top of irid green but also played up some strips of clear on top of irid. The effects are nuanced and lovely. It is always a challenge to photograph the effects of iridized glass. I also fused this dish on top of some herringbone lava cloth so there is some additional  subtle texture to the plate. This is a commissioned wedding gift...Mazal Tov and blessings for many Shabbatot to come!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Collaboration with my Neighbor

My neighbor of 30+ years retired and now has returned to his passion of wood turning. He is turning a beautiful tray and asked that I make a grape themed disc for it.... Hey Jack, here it is!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Latest Commission : Elegant Sushi Plate

Yes, the picture is crooked! I didn't realize when I snapped the picture that it was a "live shot" (using my iPhone) attempts to straighten it clearly failed.  The plate has been picked up so I can't retake the photo.

This is a sushi styled form....gray on top of black with stringers and strips of glass adorning it.  I hope the new owners are very happy with it....It was commissioned as a gift.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Newest Mask- Meet Bella!

Meet Bella. She is the subject of my latest (almost all glass) mask  and gift to her human mom.  Bella is an adorable Boston Terrier I have had the pleasure of often watching (never often enough!) in my days of pre- puppy ownership. Yup...I now have a great dog...7 months old as of yesterday (perhaps the subject of a future mask!)

Below is a photo I snapped of Bella last year. Usually she wears a zebra harness and her favorite chew-toy is a zebra! 

Everything but the zebra fabric is made of glass and is made in Portland Oregon! This glass has an easy panelclip ®  mounting bracket also made here in Portland by the wonderful folks at Brooklyn Hardware Manufacturing.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

New Seder Plate Commission

Apologies for the dark picture, but it is a beautiful turquoise seder plate with a textured back that adds true depth. The frit sprinkled around it is burgundy in color, the lettering is dichroic glass. You'll see two zig-zag lines representing two journeys, each filled with ups and downs. (sorry for the two vertical lines.....part of the plate stand!

This is a commissioned  wedding gift....lucky couple! MAZAL TOV!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

New Collaboration: Neighbor Artists!

It started with a 12" glass disc and a chunk of wood.

After some careful measurements, my neighbor Jack Liskear set to work on the wood, while I returned to my studio to work on the embellishments.

The most challenging part was cutting the tree.  The glass is a reptilian patterned iridized black glass that creates a cool effect when light hits it.

The leaves came next..... and when the wood and the glass met again....

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Talit Clips Fresh From The Kiln!

Torahs remain one of the most popular designs in my Tallit Clip Collection.  The bottom right set has already been claimed. 
They will of course be finished with gold, copper, or silver chains.

When I make larger pieces, I usually still have room on the kiln shelf for small items. A couple of new large pieces will soon be ready for firing...and some other designs will emerge.

Commissions are always welcome.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Never to late to Get a New Seder Plate

It's that time again....Above is the seder plate I made in honor of my family who survived the holocaust. It has 6 small dishes that accompany it.

Below are some other plates I have made. While it is too late to commission a plate for this Passover, I do have a couple in stock....and you could always commission one for the future. 
They make great wedding gifts!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tree of Life- fused glass bowl

The writing on the leaves doesn't show up well in the photo but the names are there! I am pleased with how it looks. The white rim is not part of the bowl...just the rim of the slumping mold.

New Commission for Great Grandma!

The base disc is pre-fired. A second tack fuse firing follows 

Each leaf bears the name of a grand or great grandchild! Once the tree is tack fused, the disc will be slumped into a bowl

I've had a bit of fun (and challenge) working on this latest commission. It is a 14" iridized cobalt blue bowl with the tree of life as its theme.

There are 27 leaves, each with the name of a grandchild (in green and red) or great grandchild (yellow and orange)

Depicted here are two of the stages before firing....the finished bowl will appear in my next post!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Getting There

Tomorrow I will realign stringers, finish the fruit work, and  finish the sky....
...then it will be time to load the kiln, program it, say a few prayers, and wait.....and wait.... Fusing isn't the scary part. It's all about the slump.  

I'm holding good thoughts!

A New Vineyard in the Making

More to come...but it's a good start!