Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanks For a Great First Show, Ottawa!

It's been over a week since the OGBA show! We were pretty tired by the end (not too tired to go straight out to a party afterwards, of course!) but it was a big success for us and Andrea and I both feel pretty great about the experience.

There were some pretty amazing artists involved in the show and I was really nervous! But everyone was so nice, and we had a good response from visitors. We even re-imagined out display a little, using the bronze-coloured drapery instead of the yellow-gold damask. I like the subdued colour better.

Our approach to display is always evolving but there are a few elements that I highly recommend: light, height and levels. To raise the table to hip height, we use 4 pieces of black ABS pipe about 18 inches long, and just fit one over each of the folding buffet table legs. It's dead simple and makes it so much easier to see our tiny work. For our levels, we use two of our transport containers (plastic suitcases) and lay a melamine shelf across them, before draping everything in fabric. It not only adds visibility and visual interest, but it gives us a hidden "cave" under the middle of the shelf where we can store packaging materials for easy access!

We bought some new glass and frit from Nortel and the Glass Shoppe that I'm looking forward to playing with. We don't have any more shows planned for the rest of the year, but we look forward to our next one, whenever it may be!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Post 100 - OGBA Show This Friday & Saturday!

My 100th blog post!!!

(Fireworks, fireworks, flag raised on castle)

Today, the OGBA show begins! (Ottawa Glass Bead Artists, not the Ontario Goat Breeders Association).

OGBA Bead & Jewellery Show 2010
Friday November 12th, 4-9pm
& Saturday November 13th, 10-6pm 2010
* A Showcase of ‘Hand Made’ Glass Beads , Jewellery & Bead Work *
Venue: Hellenic Centre, 1315 Prince of Wales Drive
Ottawa, Ontario

Andrea and I have been working hard and are proud of the new work that we have for this event. We moved the kiln onto the giant metal work table so that it would be easier to make off-mandrel work, and I made a great series of leaves and calla lilies. I really like the new workbench layout! It's ridiculously convenient.

Andrea has created a fresh batch of Captive Drop earrings and I'm very excited to see how they're received by the Ottawa community.

Other than the earrings, all of our new work is being offered as loose beads or pendants because many show attendees will be jewellery designers. However we're bringing a kit of wire-wrapping tools and sterling components so we can create custom finished jewellery for buyers as requested.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

99th post: Florals Galore!

We have five brand new, Ottawa-made florals that will be available at the OGBA show this Friday and Saturday!

This one has a twist: I added some small cane-florals around the main stamened florals. It added a lot of time to the creation but I like the effect! I'm also happy with the enamelled base.

This one is sweet, little and bright. I accidentally made it on a 1/16" mandrel, which was nervewracking at the time (it's very delicate mandrel for a focal!) but luckily it worked out. It's a benefit now, as a smaller hole diminishes the hideous spectre of bead-wobble. The vivid green, coral and pale pink palette isn't one of my typical colour combinations but I'd like to explore it more! I actually did make a matching earring pair that Andrea is making into Captive Drop earrings.

This one was the first floral I made in the new studio! It features my trusty black base and handpulled reactive cane base, with stamened flowers in white.

I love the background on this one! So rich and vivid. Blue does such wonderful things in glass. I'll never get tired of playing with blues.

This was the most recent one I've made, and also the biggest of the batch! I'm really happy with it. It has a rich background with frit, silver foil, reactive cane and goldstone, two huge violet florals with nicely flared stamens, and four smaller complex cane-flowers. It's something that one can gaze into and enjoy the depths and detail.

I can't believe I'm almost at post #100! Thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog. :) It's nice to have a place to talk through projects, track progress and generally nerd out on glass. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Show preparations!

We're getting geared up for the Ottawa Glass Bead Artist show coming up Friday November 12th, 4-9pm & Saturday November 13th, 10-6pm 2010 at the Hellenic Centre (1315 Prince of Wales Drive). Since we got behind in preparing our studio we've been at the torch pretty much constantly all week!

At first it felt weird and I was mostly making "safe", process beads, just getting used to the feel of glass and fire again. It has been six months since we packed up our studio! But over the course of the week the groove started to come back and by the middle of the weekend I was feeling the love!

I've been having fun in a few designs with "threading" - heating the tip of a rod, then, outside of the flame, making a tiny anchor on the bead and quickly stretching and spinning a tiny thread of glass around the bead until the glass cools and snaps off. Repeat as necessary.

We also realized that we were out of business cards! I've attempted to design interesting business cards for us in the past but it's always ended up over-crowded and boxy. This time Andrea had some concrete examples of business cards from other artists that she'd been collecting. I worked from there and experimented with a split and angled design. I'm pretty excited about it - I think it's a breakthrough.

I'll have to write a phone number for people who don't have internet (raise your hand if that's you!) but that's what the plain back is for.

Stay tuned for photos of my first batch of Ottawa-made florals coming up next!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Studio, first incarnation...

In real life, it took a lot longer to get the studio going than it did when I imagined it in my head. Stupid real life!

It has been a productive month-and-a-bit since my last post. I was interviewed about Alaska's story (which hopefully was helpful to people going through the same situation, and/or to the Humane Society in terms of recruiting new donors and volunteers!). I also had to take her back to the vet for antibiotics for a nasty kennel cough she picked up (another side-effect of the overcrowded situation in the current shelter, which the new shelter will be designed to help prevent). I'm happy to report that she's fully recovered now and back to her old self 100%!

We also painted most of the first and second floor, which took forever, and unpacked and organized most of our stuff. Finally, once all that was under control, we were able to turn our attention to the studio.

I found a huge steel worktable on Kijiji near our house and spent an evening with Andrea trekking it home down the sidewalk on a dolly. (Clangy!) After that, my first goal was ventilation. I found a 715 CFM kitchen vent on Kijiji and after an epic quest to far Nepean, returned home with it. It was huge but covered in a thin film of sticky grease that took two hours of scrubbing to remove. It cleaned up nicely though and I'm kind of in love with it! It's a Japanese model called Sakura and the centres of the two fan grilles are shaped like cherry blossoms (which is what sakura means). Cutest fan ever.

My father spent a Sunday with me finding parts at Home Depot and installing it. It's wonderful to have a father who, at a moment's notice, can drop by with exactly the right kind of machine screws and driver bit for a job! The window was a slider and the vent duct and cover fit perfectly. We fed it through blue styrofoam sandwiched between two layers of plywood, which we custom-fit to the window hole. I painted the outer layer for protection. It's snug as a bug and looks sleek. And of course it really sucks.

We've decided to take a break on pursuing a natural gas line for now, as the red tape for that in Ontario is unbelievable. At first I thought I'd try the disposable tank and Hot Head approach, just until the show (two weeks away at the time). I bought a new Hot Head as my old FireWerks QuietTorch was dying. We made it work for a week but it was way too frustrating. The flame is so much more bushy, reducing and weak than the oxy-fuel torch. It was like trying to paint with a plastic brush when you're used to a fine-tipped sable! Of course a true artist can adapt to any tool but we were on a timeline, and I'm out of practice being an artist of any kind!

So Andrea took up the challenge and spent two days tracking down parts and connectors to get our big torch running. It's SO much nicer. Thankfully the oxygen concentrators seem to have survived the move - keep on trucking, little guys!

I also want to point out that most of my tools are hanging off rare-earth magnets from the vent! It's working out well so far.

We have the kiln and controlled going again and our old glass storage back in action. (Still being unpacked from their bubble-wrappy shrouds in the photo).

So many things we want to upgrade... (Including, you guessed it, insulating and drywalling the gloomy walls!) But for now, we are making glass again!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reunited: A Heartwarming Tale!

I usually try to keep this blog glass-focused, but this is a really amazing story that happened to Andrea and I. It starts off really sad, though!

When we moved in to our summer sublet in June, we reclaimed our cat Alaska who had been living with my parents while we settled in. She HATED the noisy downtown apartment and cried constantly. Her restlessness led us to choose to take off her collar because the constant jangling was preventing us from sleeping, and the info was all for Winnipeg anyway. We'd tried to get her a new ID tag at the pet store and had been told we needed to go to City Hall for a license, which we intended to do the next week. After Alaska's first week with us, though, we woke up to find that she was missing, and that a corner of the decrepit screen in our second floor window had been pushed open. She must have squeezed onto the ledge, jumped to another ledge, and leaped down onto the dumpster and away into the night.

We immediately combed the bushes and alleyways looking for her, put up posters, and checked the shelters. No luck. The next day was the Ottawa earthquake, which didn't help, but we kept looking. After that they ripped up the pavement in front of the apartment. But we kept looking. We posted ads online, and enlisted everyone we knew to keep an eye out for her. We called for her in the streets and went to the shelter every three days, hoping that someone would bring her in.

Weeks passed, then months with no news, good or bad. We stopped calling in the streets but kept up our visits to the shelter, although we started to suspect that some sweet but internet-illiterate old lady had adopted her and was spoiling her with cat treats in a highrise somewhere. We hoped that was the case, because our baby was not a great hunter (she killed mice, but only by *accident*, and I don't think eating them even occured to her) and certainly not a great fighter. She had even been declawed on the front before we adopted her. We didn't think she would survive more than two weeks on the street.

At the end of August our sublet expired and we moved in with a friend for the next two and a half weeks until our house was ready. The route from work to her house took us past the shelter, so we kept checking. On Sept 10 we got possession of our house and spent a week refinishing the floors. After that we'd be in Vanier, and the shelter would be hard to get to (a 40-minute bike ride...).

On Monday the 13th I got an email from someone who had seen a white female cat at the shelter. I was able to make it in on Tuesday and there was indeed a female cat that looked painfully like our Alaska. Something about her face wasn't quite right though, and her eyes were the wrong shade. Still, I had the shelter staff check her front toes to be sure. She had claws, so she wasn't Alaska. Heartbroken, I left - around 5:45 or 6pm.

You need to check the shelter every three days to find your lost animal. That's how long they'll hold lost beasts before evaluating them for adoption, fostering, or euthanasia. You're supposed to post a lost notice at the shelter but the staff really don't have the resources to check, because so many cats come in every day. We'd tried very hard to be diligent, but we'd have a few gaps of 5 days during the transitions. Still, between Andrea, my mother and I we'd gone approximately 25 times to the shelter from June 22nd to September. Friday September 17th was my last bike ride from work to my friend's house, and it was going to be my last check in at the shelter.

It felt like a regular Humane Society shelter visit - the smell of disinfectant, the staff in scrubs, the usual police offers bringing in stray beasts, other teary-eyed petowners looking for their lost ones, and the squeaks of lonely animals. I signed into our lost cat report visit page (in the margins, because we'd already filled all the lines), checked the DOA list, checked the first wall of new arrival cages in the entryway. Each cage has a kitty litter box, food bowls, a floor mat and a little cardboard cat-cave. Usually one cat alone, sometimes siblings snuggled together or a mass of peeping kittens. You're not allowed to touch the cats because it might spread kennel cough.

There are two holding rooms of cages at the shelter, plus the entry-way and the overflow cages in the hallway. I checked the far room first, and found a flatter-faced white cat, definitely not Alaska. The hallway kitties weren't her. At least it's easy to check for a white cat...

The room closer to the entry had the door closed and a sign up about special hygiene measures to be taken. I asked the staff whether I was allowed to go in, and I must have gotten a volunteer first because she said she didn't think so, and I almost left. Luckily another staff member came along and said I could go in. I opened the door, stepped in the room and looked to my right - straight into Alaska's eyes.

I recognized her instantly, even though she was filthy, skinny and matted. I'm not sure whether I stepped forward or back - maybe both - but I know I started to cry. It had been 87 days since she ran away. I think I chirped at her and called to her through the cage door and she responded weakly. I knew it was her but I could hardly believe it. My eyes ran across her chart - "white female DMH, declawed (front), found downtown Sept 14". Finally I got the room door open again and called semi-coherently to a staff member "It's my cat...".

A staff person opened the cage door and said "Touch her.". I patted her skinny side and felt all her ribs through her long, greasy fur. She pushed her body against my hand. Then I had to leave her and do the paperwork to take her home. I paid for the vet treatment she received, the days at the shelter, a license and a microchip. They loaned me a carrier and gave me the number for the pet taxi (I left my bike there). I got some more of the story, too. Alaska had been brought in by someone who found her trapped in an underground garage at Cooper and Lyon - only a few blocks from where we'd been staying. She was brought in on Tuesday, just a half-hour after I'd left from my previous visit.

We were staying two more nights at our friend's house while the floor varnish cured. I called Andrea (who was in Vanier, in the middle of varnishing) and, still in tears, told her the unbelievable good news. The poor girl had to finish varnishing before she could do the 45 minute bike back to our friend's.

Our friend Lisa was incredible. She said of course I could bring my cat to her place. She fosters cats regularly for the Humane Society and had some tins of special recovery food which she gave to us. We spent most of Friday night snuggling with Alaska and most of Saturday trying to clean her up. On Sunday Lisa drive us home, all together.

It's been so amazing to have Alaska back. We'd dreamed about reuniting in time to move into our new house and it actually happened. It's hard to see her so weak and skinny, but she cleaned up nicely and has been recovering like a champ. She eats constantly and has been using her litter with no problems. I took her to our local vet for a follow-up and, other than mild anemia and a slightly raised white-blood cell count (within tolerances and completely expected considering her ordeal), she was given a clean bill of health - no parasites, no viruses, no organ damage, no injuries. She probably weighed under 5 pounds when she was brought in and she's 7 pounds now, which is at the low end of normal. She had to have the mats shaved off of her belly so she's still a bit naked but she's looking more normal every day. She's still resting a lot and not interested in playing yet but we're hoping that will come in time. She is snuggling, though!

She is only eight years old so we hope to have another 8 years with her. Not sure how many lives she lost this summer, but we'll appreciate every year we do have because every moment we have with her is a gift.

The lessons I take away from this experience are:

-never underestimate a stressed cat's ability to escape.
-even wussy cats are amazing survivors (maybe even better survivors than aggressive cats!)
-it may take 3 months for your lost cat to look crappy enough for someone to bring it in. I have heard this from many people. Don't give up!!!
-If you see a lost cat, at least call the shelter. They can check the lost listings. Also check Craigslist, Kijiji, UsedOttawa and other online listings.
-the Humane Society really does need more space. You can donate to their capital fund for the new space here: HS "Breaking Ground" fund
-the shelter desperately needs more animal fosterers like my awesome friend Lisa. It is a really sweet deal where you get to play with kittens, save them from weeks in a cage, and everything is paid for!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Moving week!!!

We've been to the lawyers and possession day is so close we can taste it! It's almost time to move into our new home. We're SO looking forward to having our own space after "camping out' in a furnished sublet for three months and crashing with kind friends for the extra weeks before and after.
Part of our preparation for moving has included looking into the requirements for setting up a natural gas line to run our glassmaking and soldering torches. So far the news has been a bit daunting - according to TSSA we need to get a full industrial inspection (at nearly $600) in addition to the lost for gasfitting. Also, so far the insurance brokers we've spoken to have said that we'd have to get commercial coverage for our studio at around $700/yr, whereas we were able to include it in our home insurance for just a small cost in Winnipeg.
It's not impossible to arrange but it's significantly more costly than expected, and might affect our timeline. Still, we're committed to safety first and to being above-board with all our work so we'll jump through the hoops as best we can.
"BEFORE"Our bench will be here between two windows, with intake air and vented exhaust.

I've also been looking into limewashing application as it sounds like a gorgeous treatment for the rustic basement walls, and one that will be compatible with a semi-permeable surface. It depends on what the existing white surface is, as you shouldn't limewash over acrylic paint. The long-term plan is to frame in some proper insulation but that may be a few years away!
Step one is, of course, to move all our stuff out of storage and refinish the main floor hardwood so we can set up our lives and put our exciting but challenging vagabond summer behind us.
Wish us luck!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bead History with Tom Holland

Last night I attended a presentation by internationally-renowned pioneer beadmaker and bead history enthusiast Tom Holland, organized by the Glass Shoppe Studio and the OGBA. First of all, I still can't believe how big and active the beadmaking community is here! There were at least 50 people at this lecture. Secondly, I was blown away by how much I still didn't know about glass beads. Thirdly, Tom Holland is fabulous and adorable.

I missed the first part of the lecture because of slow buses and me being slow in figuring out the exact location. But I was there in time to hear Tom talk about ancient beads with the eye of a beadmaker, reverse-engineering them and explaining the techniques and tools that would have been used, and his theories on trade and influence between beadmaking cultures.

For example, it took him 5 years to figure out how to make this Islamic Folded Bead! Without thinking about it, I would have guessed that this bead was made with twisted cane, but no - it was folded from a thin disk.

His enthusiasm about ground murrine chevron beads and chevron-esque beads was cool, but then when we got to see his own work (and the work of his equally reknowned partner, Sage) it really hit home. His work, and especially the lapidary-faceted work, was just stunning. And we were only seeing what was left over after several days of teaching and visiting in Toronto and Ottawa!

It was also really humbling to hear the story of this cool pioneer who built his own torch and struggled to develop brand-new techniques with no teachers or resources other than his collection of ancient beads. These are techniques that we all take for granted now as beadmakers, but only because artists and teachers like Tom and Sage and a handful of others in the 80s and 90s opened the doors.

For more on Tom Holland's local classes (which I sadly can't even consider taking during our big move as money is too tight) check out Lise's blog PERLES DE VERRE (in French, translated through Google Translate - I love how they translated the name Sage into Wise!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Texture & Pattern Inspiration Part 3 - Birds

I've been lucky to see a lot of gorgeous birds so far this summer. I'm very priviledged to have a family with a fabulously cottagy log cabin on a lake with a healthy loon population. I won't lie, it was a MAJOR incentive for moving back to Ottawa! I also get to go boating regularly with my father and see wetland flora and fauna. Even though bright colours are associated more with tropical wildlife, it's amazing to think that these vivid and inspiring colours and patterns can be found in our own Ottawa-Valley backyard.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Texture & Pattern Inspiration Part 2 - Plants

Our demonstration a few weeks ago helped "take the edge off" of my ache to create things in glass. But I'm still dreaming away and looking forward to pouring out some new ideas once the studio is ready. Only 6 weeks to possession day, and around month after that 'til we're set up enough to start playing. It's been a busy summer, though, rediscovering the Ottawa Valley!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer Texture & Pattern Inspiration Part 1 - Insects

Some things I saw this summer in the Ottawa Valley and surrounding area that I'm keeping in mind as texture and pattern inspirations...

Friday, July 23, 2010

CIM colour choices for Saturday's Fish & Calla Demo!

Since all our glass is carefully mummified in bubble-wrap burritos, I've decided to use some of the luscious CIM colours available at the Glass Shoppe Studio for my demo! PURE PRACTICALITY, I promise! ;)
My fish and callas are fantasy lifeforms so there's no end to colour options. I'm leaning towards translucent purples and greens, though, like Crocus and Kryptonite.

Glassworking Demo
"How To Shape Hot Glass Fantasy Fish Beads and Calla Lily Pendants"
by Heather Stewart and Andrea Steinwand of Hearts of Glass Flameworked Talismans
Saturday, June 24th
1pm to 4pm
Glass Shoppe Studio
210 Colonnade Rd, Unit 12A
It is a free event and everyone is welcome!

See you soon!

ALSO: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREA!!! We're going out for pupusas with family tonight and mojitos with friends later on. Feliz cumpleanos mi amor!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Very First Hearts of Glass Ottawa Demo & Show!

A few weeks ago we visited Grace Edward's Glass Shoppe to watch Evelyn "Shebamakeda" Duberry's Goddess bead demonstration. It was such a cool demonstration and such a wonderful studio space that we immediately began dreaming of one day doing a demonstration of our own there!

That day has some sooner than we expected! Grace was kind enough to offer us a demonstration event next Saturday, June 24th from 1 to 4pm at the Glass Shoppe Studio, 210 Colonnade Rd, Unit 12A. It is a free event and everyone is welcome!

I'm going to demonstrate a glass fish bead and an off-mandrel calla lily pendant.

These designs are both excellent for showing a wide variety of shaping techniques that beginner lampworkers can apply to their own work. I'll cover studio safety and tools, glass colour reaction theory, pulling cane, frit application, loops, dots, trapped bubbles, and more!

Andrea will talk about some of her jewellery finishing techniques, share booth display tips and tricks and show off the current Hearts of Glass collection. We'll be having a trunk show of some of our favorite work as well, and we'll be placing some pieces on consignment at the Studio afterwards.

We're both so excited about this fun opportunity. I look forward to seeing curious "glass virgins" and experienced lampworkers who are into gathering with other glass-obsessives. Maybe my family will come by too! Any time I get to torch and nerd out on glass (especially with fellow glass nerds) is a great time in my books!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A New Home for Hearts of Glass

We did it!

Andrea and I bought a house in East Ottawa (Vanier-Beechwood) this week. It's waking distance to the Bytown Market, biking distance to my office downtown, and on three bus routes, so we should be able to continue to manage without a car. It's in good shape with just a short list of projects to work on (mostly roof ventilation and drainage, but definitely DIY stuff) and great layout, kitchen, bathroom, and yard.

Most importantly for the glass side of our life, it's got a tall, bright and spacious unfinished basement and a classy garage with a huge window overlooking the garden - so much studio potential!

We look forward to building our dream bench over the next year, step-by-step! The first steps will be gas hookup and ventilation, and some sort of basic bench surface. Eventually as we can afford it we'll upgrade to something in stainless steel or slate (my Dad has offered us a large salvaged slab - he's the king of "good junk"!). We also want to build a silversmithing bench with a dedicated line for our soldering torch.

Of course, we don't get possession until September 10. But now we can enjoy the summer and know that we have something very special to look forward to!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Demonstration by Evelyn "Shebamakeda" Duberry last Saturday

Last weekend was so much fun! We went househunting and canoeing with my Dad and sister, which was awesome, but our more glass-related adventure was our first in-person encounter with the OGBA folk and with the Glass Shoppe Studio.

Evelyn Duberry of Shebamakeda was at the torch demoing her curvy goddess sculpted beads. She was using Cirrus, an milky opal-like glass from CiM. For us, it has always gone regular opaque white in the kiln, but Evelyn explained that it needs to be re-struck to translucent *and* the annealing should be done closer to 980, instead of 968 as we'd always been doing it. Good to know! I look forward to trying that.

Evelyn was on one of about 10 Nortel torches (hers was a red Mega Minor which looks really slick!). They were all individually piped with propane from a huge tank outside (I assume - I just saw the black pipe marked "Propane") and an oxygen concentrator for each that looked just like our Devilbiss Solarises. Each station had front exhuast grilles and ducts leading down and out to a central exterior blower. It was all beautiful stainless steel and I want our new studio to be like that.

It was really cool to watch Evelyn work and speak with Grace about her supplies, her new shop and the OGBA. We were able to compare the CiM and Moretti colours side by side which was so much more revealing than online shopping! I really wanted to stock up on new tools (mama needs a new masher) but since all our gear is still in boxes it would be a bit premature. The bead store right next door was a huge temptation also but we resisted. Must save money for buying an actual house!

We've got our eyes on one that would be perfect (two, actually: Choice A and Choice B) so we'll let you know...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ottawa Glass Bead Artists

Last week I contacted the Ottawa Glass Bead Artists to see about getting involved in upcoming events. I got an immediate reply from Grace Edwards of Laucha Lady fame. Apparently she has just opened a new teaching studio on Colonnade (near my old high school!) which hosts special events, meetings and demonstrations!

Sounds very interesting. I look forward to attending an event in the near future!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

...on the other side: Ottawa


Andrea and I are halfway through the process of moving here from Winnipeg. I've been here for nearly two weeks now, starting my new job, and our stuff arrived safely last Wednesday in a shared truck. But Andrea's still in Winnipeg tying up loose ends, and we don't have a place of our own set up yet. I've been staying with some very generous friends downtown and helping them with some projects in return. It's a weird time! All the hard work of moving away from Winnipeg is dealt with but there are still emotions of loss and displacement. Even though this was my choice and it's my long-lost hometown, it is disorienting to be the "new kid" in town! Ottawa has nearly twice the population and a much higher average family income than Winnipeg, so everything here seems bustling and shiny.

For example, a pillar at the corner of the block where I work has a base of shiny black rock. But not just any rock! It's beautiful Larvikite, a semi-precious stone with lots of dramatic blue flash:

I've made lovely jewellery using this very same stone!

Some would call it "flashy", and some would call it "fabulous". I don't know what to think of the downtown streetscaping so far, but I do know that I'm being very well taken care of by my friends and family. And I know that there is an amazing arts and cultural scene that belies Ottawa's rather buttoned-down reputation. And I know that there's an active and creative glass beadmaking scene that I'm very excited to join!

For now, we're still working on settling in. The rest will come in time.