Thursday, April 30, 2009

Elm Street Open House - The Spring Edition!

Andrea and I will be displaying our glass talismans on the first weekend of May (Friday, May 1st, Saturday May 2nd and Sunday May 3rd) with a small group of artisans at the Spring Artisan Open House at 395 Elm Street in River Heights. It's at the corner of Grosvenor, right by Grosvenor School. Whether you're an "in the know" Elm Street regular, have heard the buzz and have always wanted to check it out, or are getting it on your radar for the first time, we warmly invite you to come have a peek at some very hot metalsmithing, gemwork, firesculpted glass, and handmade soap. Friday night is wine and cheese night, and there will be great snacks and a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere all weekend.

Elm Street Artisan Open House - the Spring edition
395 Elm Street
Friday, May 1, 5pm-10pm (wine night!)
Saturday May 2 and Sunday May 3, 10am-5pm
Admission is free of charge. All are welcome!

Heather will also be teaching Intro to Beadmaking and Intermediate Beadmaking at Prairie Stained Glass May 2nd and 9th. If you've always wanted to learn the basics of lampworking give Brian a call at 783-1117 to see if there are spots left in these classes (there were still a few left as of Saturday but space is limited). Heather focuses on a clear and encouraging approach to teaching and is proud to say that several of her former students have made waves for themselves as glass beadmakers!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Visits and Bookmarks

This weekend my mother flew in from Ottawa to visit us for three days, and we had a great time. We went to a slam poetry and folk-blues performance, a backyard bonfire party, an shamanic-themed Inuit art exhibit, antique shops,a pedicure salon, restaurants, and the local casino (where we all won $10-20 each). We also had some great games of Ticket to Ride at home, with Andrea's fabulous margaritas! It was *so* fun. I miss her already.

We did get to spend a bit of time on the torch, too, and I finally convinced Mom to try her hand at melting glass. She did great! I only got a bad photo of that, unfortunately, but it was a very cute lapis-fritted periwinkle barrel. Go Mom!

Now to leave you with some better-photographed eyecandy, here are some of our recent bookmarks made of hammered copper and lampwork:

Dot Matrix ----------------------------------- Kissing Fedoras

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Calla Lilies

Our show at Fort Whyte was lovely, though the weather was cool and grey. Our booth was right overlooking the lake and we had Canada Geese peeking in at us most of the time. They didn't show up when I was taking pictures, of course!

We met some great new customers and also spoke with a few shop owners with whom Andrea and I hope to sell our work in the future. One design of ours that I think would be great for a storefront location is our Calla Lily series. People always respond to them, and I've been having so much fun making them lately! I could go on forever and never make two the same. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Directions to Fort Whyte

Hi folks! For those planning to come see us at our show this Saturday and Sunday at Fort Whyte, take the Wilkes entry onto McCreary (the northern entrance). Fort Whyet is at 1961 McCreary. The southern entrance is closed right now due to some overland flooding on the road - nothing too serious but I don't want anyone to have to turn around! The northern route is fine and Centre itself is dry and very much open and ready for you to come out this weekend. :)

From their website:

"Manitoba Crafts Market Days

April 18,19, 10am–4pm

Bring your totes and fill up with beautiful and functional creations created by some of Manitoba’s finest artists. This juried craft sale offers a beautiful array of jewelry, clothing, accessories, decorative items and more. Presented by the Manitoba Crafts Museum & Library.

Enjoy FREE admission both days!

Sod House Pioneers
Sunday April

Visit our pioneer couple to learn about the unique challenges of spring on the prairies in the late 1800’s."

ps - apparently this is a great time of year for bald eagle sightings!
See you there!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Two styles of bracelets

Our Fort Whyte show is coming up in just two sleeps! We're happily finishing up our preparations - stay tuned for some new earrings and some calla and butterfly pendants I'm very proud of. Today, though, I'd going to showcase our two main bracelet styles.

We've been recycling old leather belts into leather cuff bracelets with borosilicate glass buttons. These are *really* fun to make!

Our ornate silver and gemstone accented lampwork bracelets are also really rewarding to create. I'm really happy with my latest two designs: Devonian and Retro Futuristic.

We have so much more than we can possibly blog about, so if you want to see more the best way is to come out to the Crafts Museum and Library Artisan Sale at the Fort Whyte nature centre this weekend at 1961 McCreary Rd!

It's a nature and historic interpretive centre in south Winnipeg. Saturday will have the best selection of handmade goods, while Sunday will have the most gorgeous weather and a special Sod Hut Pioneers event! See you there...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Lampwork Weekend

Andrea and I don't have family in Winnipeg so we just enjoyed a few phone visits to Edmonton and Ottawa and then spent the rest of the long weekend getting ready for our show next weekend at Fort Whyte! Our one nod to the season was making these adorable boiled eggs dyed with onionskins for our breakfast. It was so easy and fun!

We've been moving our jewellery assembly studio from the guest room to take over our whole former bedroom now that we're sleeping in the lovely renovated attic loft. Andrea got a great tall desk that they were getting rid of at her work, and it makes a great workbench! She painted it from red to grey so it wouldn't interfere with our colour perception.

Between our recent gem and silver orders and our marathon bead making of the past few weeks, we've got a lot of components to assemble! Here's a sneak preview of our work in progress...

And here's one of the outcomes!

It's called Laza Tigress - a gorgeous (if I do say so myself!) bracelet in our Laza Tiger colour theme.. beads made by me, constructed into its finished form by Andrea.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Canadian Suppliers

The lampworking world, like most other international pursuits, is not Canada-centric. I purchased all my glass at my local glass store, Prairie Stained Glass, in my first year of learning but eventually my glass rod needs required bigger orders. I ordered from the USA for four years. My main suppliers were Arrow Springs for glass and tools and Metalliferous for silver findings. They both have great selection and prices, but the downfall for Andrea and I was cross-border duty and especially brokerage fees from UPS. After waiting 4-6 weeks for shipping, we would get hit with $70-$100 in fees for big orders, plus another $40 for shipping. Finally we figured we were being DUMB and needed to look harder for good Canadian suppliers already!

And find some we did! This season's big restocks came from Artistry in Glass, based in London Ontario nearish to Toronto, and Bamiyan Silver in Montreal. Canadian dollar prices (which are a better deal for us and will be way easier to deal with for tax time next year), FAST shipping (bliss!) and best of all, NO duties or brokerage, just GST! What took us so long to switch??? Well, I guess that in past years I couldn't find an online supplier with prices or selection that compared to the big US suppliers. That seems to have changed now - either more suppliers are finally getting online or my search skillz are improving.

Artistry in Glass carries a huge selection of glass for cold, warm and hot glass art. For lampworking, they have a good selection of tools (not quite as big as Arrow Springs, but growing) and a fabulous selection of glass rods, including Precision, Color is Messy, fancy silvered glass, and lots of boro too! They were also really nice to deal with during the order process, and the glass came beautifully packaged in rod-sized clear storage bags with labels. No irritating cling film or melty elastics or flammable rod-ends tags. They also have a "Flame and Foil" blog introducing all their new products as they come. My only disappointment was the clear which as I mentioned before was far from "Ultra" but that's really a manufacturer beef. I will definitely order from AIG again.

Bamiyan Silver was a bit of a surprise for us. You have to sign up for an account, which I did one day when I was searching for new silver and gemstone suppliers. Then I forgot about it for months and when I finally checked back I was really impressed! The prices for their silver beads and findings were even better than Metalliferous! And the selection is almost as good for silver findings - way better in the case of gemstone beads. The main weakness is metalworking tools, which they don't really carry, and a somewhat hard-to-navigate online store. You also have to be a business and order at least $150. The silver findings are really nice though, and I finally got my hands on some moonstone. :) I'm a happy girl!

I hope these review are helpful! Are there any other Canuck suppliers I should know about?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

May Flowers

I spent a good chunk of time on this big round floral. :) It has three layers of encasing to give extra depth to the layered petals. I had fun layering transparents on each of the petals, too.
May Flowers
(...I'm desperately looking forward to spring flowers! This winter has gone on far too long in Winnipeg!)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Warm Welcome to KEBO, Laura, Meagan and Lise!

As a new blogger, I am tickled pink to see that four people have become the first to follow the Hearts of Glass Blog!

The first two ladies are both from the U.K. I seem to be following quite a few blogs from there. I must like the way they spell "jewellery". I'm Canadian, eh?

KEBO Jewellery Designs is Kelly Boulter. I love name contraction business names - my friend Susan's jewellery business, Sumak, did that too and it works on many levels. Anyway, I follow the KEBO blog and highly recommend it!

Laura Sparling has a blog called Beads By Laura (which I also follow), famous for its adorable glass cupcake beads! She also posts knitting patterns and beautifully decorated real cupcakes.

Meagan is from sunny Florida, where there is *not* still two feet of snow on the ground. Not that I'm bitter! ;) She has a website called The Jeweled Lizard where she sells and discusses her own lampworked creations.

Lise is more mysterious, [edit - she's introduced herself in the comments, along with a link to her blog! Hi Lise!] but I do know that she is a fellow lampworker and I believe that she's also a fellow Canadian, since she's following several other Canadian blogs and is a French speaker. I adore French - "perles de verre fabriquées au chalumeau" has such a lovely ring to it!

So thank you, ladies, for reading our first few months of stories about our glass adventures!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I've been practicing my boro and trying to figure out this whole "striking" concept. (In boro, I've just learned that the best way to get bright red/purple colours is to keep the whole piece glowing hot while you're shaping it, then let the glow disappear only at the very end, then reheat gently in an oxygen-rich flame. Before I was heating and cooling repeatedly, which isn't as effective.) These aren't the best examples of my colour progress but I wanted to share this design since I really love it!

It's based on a variety of inspiration from making "glasswing" flutter beads in soft glass, then making a similar toggle in boro for a lady who decorates purses. I then forgot about it for about a year until I saw a singer with a crescent of contrasting undershirt showing at her neckline and thought how awesome that would look as a necklace. It reminded me of some kind of historical neckwear but I couldn't remember what until I did an internet search. Eventually I found it: a gorget, (from the French for "throat", pronounced "gor-JHEY") a piece of medieval plate armour for the neck that gradually became more of a decorative rank marking and eventually a trade item in the New World.

I thought that glass would be an interesting medium for "armour", and these are some of the results thus far! They're between 2.75 and 3.5 inches wide.

Aurora Gorget

Blue Gorget

Amber Gorget

Currents Gorget

This one is actually quite purple and reflective in places, but the photo picked up the amber transmitted light instead of the purple reflected light... Darn uncooperative light! I re-used some shards from a failed blown piece to make the blue background.