Welcome to A Hot Piece of Glass!

WELCOME to my colorful corner of the world! I write here about the things I make, in glass, fiber, metals, and whatever else I can find to play with!

**And if you want to read more about me, check out Adventures In Living!, my personal blog, or The ScooterMom, where I write about my adventures on two wheels! If you're interested in medieval, ancient and Renaissance glass, check out my history blog, The Medieval Glassworker!**

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore."
--Andre Gide (1869-1951)

Exploring is a necessary part of an artist's path. It's a necessary part of life, in my opinion, because if you don't reach out, don't go further or see what else is out there, well, how can you possibly be alive? I don't know....I have had a strong desire all my life to "see what else is out there", and it's soemthing I don't feel I took full advantage of when I actually had the time, space, energy and freedom from responsibilities.

So, I seek my exploration now in other ways. I'm definitely the type of person who has never met an art supply she doesn't like, and if there is extra money in the budget, I'm usually buying something to make something else with. Fabric, metals, paint, paper, wire, stamps, glue....you name it, I want some of it. The possibilities for creating are just endless, and these days, with DIY and crafting so much on everyone's radar, there are TONS of different supplies and tools and ideas out there. It's a bit overwhelming, sometimes, having SO MANY choices, but it sure beats not being able to find a photo-safe glue stick, or alcohol ink, or a Crop-a-dile when you want one.

Recently, I have spent more of my inner reflection on exploring my abilities in art-making. My jewelry and glass is, of course, a constant series of expeditions into the unknown and the impossible, with the end results sometimes being completely awful. But, that is part of things. I have had some good successes, though, with a few of my "impossible" ideas...a bracelet project I developed will be published in an upcoming issue of a national jewelry magazine (to be named later!). That project was a result of my vision of the end project, and my utter lack of "real" metalsmithing skills. I just got to the end bracelet by figuring out what I needed to do at my workbench to get there. Sort of like navigating by dead reckoning. It was fun!

Lately, I am looking longingly at art journaling. I don't even know where to start, mostly, but I have plenty of paper and glue sticks and some paint and markers. I think I will just put some paper on paper, and maybe paint over that, and write a journal entry. Start there, and see how it goes. Tonight's project is a page in my journal with the theme "red". I don't even know what i want the page to end up looking like, but that's half the fun of exploring your media and your creative ideas. So, I am going to stop writing *here*, and go writing and drawing and painting and markering and collaging and gluing over at my paper art journal.

So, I challenge you....readers and art-people and all you especially who think you are not creative...reach out beyond your 'usual' medium and explore something else...what will you try?


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Walking Along The Ocean

I love the beach. I spent half of my childhood living in Miami, so the beach and I, we're pretty well acquainted. I don't get to go nearly as often as I'd like to these days, but I do dream about walking along the shoreline, especially as the sun sets, and I adore listening to the waves crash on the sand. So relaxing. I've been working on some beach-themed pieces lately, combining my favorite turquoise blues and playing with different layers of blue glass. I love how, in the Carribean, the water takes on SO MANY different shades of blue. One of my favorite things about the waters around Miami is the clarity and depth of blue there is.

(And the fact that the water is so clear has completely spoiled me for swimming in water I cannot see to the bottom of. No lakes, rivers, or not-clear ocean water for me, nope!)

Anyway, so one of my most favorite creations of late is this one, called Along the Ocean:
In keeping with my goal to list something new every week in my Etsy shop, this piece is currently available at this link.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

wet blanket

Oh you know us artists, always all angsty over something, right?


I haven't had much to say or to show of late, mostly due to the fact that it is a HUNDRED FREAKIN' DEGREES here most days, and honestly, I think my Muse has gone out in search of a walk-in freezer or something. Gah!

Summer is great, but only if it doesn't go above 90. Then I hates it, I do.

The result of all this dreadful weather we're having, besides keeping one in a continual state of inelegance, is that I haven't felt much like glassworking. No lie, I fired up the torch the other night, and all I could think about while working was how soon I could stop. It was miserable.

So, the upshot is no new beads. No new jewelry, either, really. Ugh, I just don't feel inspired by anything, and pulling out my materials is just overwhelming. Which means I sit there and stare at them and get anxious because I don't know what to make and THAT gets me upset because I feel like I "should" make something, ANYTHING, but...ugh. Vicious cycle.

I've been feeling more of an urge to sew, though, and some of that is brought on by the fact that I am teaching a new friend how to sew. Not medieval stuff, but regular-life stuff -- easy clothing patterns or accessories or whatever. Today we are meeting at a fabric store so I can help her choose and pattern and fabric, and then tomorrow, we will start in on the project. I was going to pick a project for myself and buy some fabric for it so I can work alongside her, but I realize that I have such a fabric stash and so many patterns that there is NO need for me to spend any money on any of that. So, stash-busting it is.

I'm looking forward to spending time in this part of this room, even as cramped and cluttered as it is.
I haven't quite decided what to make yet, and I'm trying to figure out if I want to sacrifice about 6 yards of deep burgundy linen that had been earmarked for a medieval gown and turn it into something else. Six yards of wide linen is a lot, and I wouldn't be able to afford it again anytime soon, but do I *really* need a medieval gown right now? Probably not. I could go for a new dress, maybe. I don't know.

Another issue lately: lack of focus.

Anyway, enough whining at you all about my creative inconsistencies. Time to go by my office, then drop the kids at preschool, and then spend some fun time with a friend.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Check it out! I am in a Treasury!! Go here to see my hollow vessel pendant on Etsy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

This Week's Listings! And other stuff...

I have listed a trio of new items in my Etsy shop. Some of you may recall the new beads I started making in the late spring, the 'Bloomz' series. I finally got some pieces made with those beads and got them listed in my shop. I hope to make up more sets with other Bloomz beads and get those in the shop soon, too. But go have a look at the pendant, earrings, and bracelet I have listed!

(Free shipping if you snag all three of the pieces!)

In other news, thanks for all the support and comments on my decision and plans the other day. It always means so much to me to know that I have supportive friends out there in cyberspace!

And, I am still learning how to really use Twitter, but I ahve been followed by Lindstrom USA, the maker of very fine jewelry tools. They loved my business name and tweeted about it, which is awesome in and of itself, but they also tweeted a link to my Electric Avenue bracelet, also in my shop at the moment. They thought it was cool! I LOVE the internet!

And a question for my fellow jewelry artists who operate a business.....I need business materials, like stickers and address labels and maybe even thank-you notes with a business logo on them. Does anyone have any favorite graphic designers they have done business with who could help me out?

Thanks, all. Have a great Monday, and as always, there will be more to come...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Important Mail

Yesterday, I made a few decision about the direction and scope of my little glass and jewelry business. I don't love a whole lot of chaos, and frankly, I like chaos better if it isn't impinging on my ability to be happy. Some chaos is good, a lot of chaos spread over many areas of my life is Not Good.

Creative chaos is....okay. Until I can't find my tools.

But I digress.....

I launched A Hot Piece of Glass three years ago with a booth at a brand-new farmer's and artisan's market in a really cosmopolitan neighborhood of Richmond. An Etsy shop came shortly thereafter, and this blog, and things just kept growing. Early on, I didn't have the confidence nor the line of work to apply to the intermediate and larger art shows around here, so I kept on with the markets. I switched to another new market last year, this one in a more affluent area of town, and I was a vendor this year as well. Both of the markets have grown, but my average sales have not. Additionally, I have discovered that I have the ability to do other things with my skills, namely teaching and writing. These take up good chunks of time.

I realized I was getting very stressed and unhappy. I started dreading spending the five-plus hours on a Saturday morning at the market, only to have low sales. Spread out over the hours of time, I was making barely enough to justify being there. And I have been teaching more, and writing more.

It was all too much. This year, I decided I was going to really put forth the concerted effort to apply to, and get accepted by, larger shows. Places where people understood my work, were at least generally willing to pay for it, and would want to be a part of what I do.

So, a week or so ago, I brought a small display of my work to a jury day for a local art show held in September on the campus of the University of Richmond. Yesterday I got a letter in the mail that I was invited to participate in the show! The great thing is that this show is a really good one, with great attendance and a well-established history.

So, I decided to stop doing the farmer's markets.

I worried I wasn't making the right decision and that I wouldn't be able to sell my work. But I need to spend time with my family, and I need my energies to go *efficiently* toward advancing my work.

So there it is. I feel better already.

Now I need to go make a LOT of new work for this show. I've been dreaming of the display I want to create, and I am going to make it happen, not just "make do". And I know I keep saying it, but I am going to make a goal to list something at least every week on Etsy, starting next week.

But first, I am watching DVR'd Doctor Who and sitting on the couch. It IS Friday night, after all.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On Their Way!

Two more packages are going out to publishers today! This makes a total of FOUR publications for me this year. And what's surprising (to me anyway) is that at the beginning of January you know how many I had as a goal?


I didn't even think it was possible.

So, get out there and "do the thing you think you cannot do", because I am here to tell you, you CAN.

You'll just have to stay tuned now to find out all the details...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I had a very VERY busy holiday, and I think I am still recovering! We had a huge party with TONS of kids and friends and food, and it was great fun, but very, very draining. It was also ridiculously HOT here, and I am about done with the triple-digit temperatures. According to my dad, who lives in Miami, it isn't even that hot there! Something's wrong when it's cooler in the tropics....

Anyway, my little kids have started summer preschool, so that means I have four free mornings each week! Peace and quiet! All to myself! Well, not entirely....I still have to make sure I work my regular job sometimes, and I need to clean the catbox and the house and make supper and probably run some errands, but still...

I tend to lose a lot of my time being on the internet, which is a belssing and a curse...I waste too much time fooling around, but I also *need* to be online in order to read and comment on blogs, promote my work, participate in the art jewelry community, and catch up with far-off friends. I know that I don't, however, have to do that all. day. long. So, I exercised some discipline. Yesterday, after I dropped the kids off, I came right back to the house and pulled out ALL of my current working materials and supplies. I plugged in my mp3 player, pulled out my sketchbook, and got right down to work.

By the time I had to stop to clean up (this IS my kitchen table, and my kids are ALL about playing with Mommy's tools...), I had completed three necklaces, and gotten at least marginally organized for a few more. Plus, I even photographed some stuff! Woot!
This is where my stuff usually lives...in my kitchen....note the bowl of the stand mixer and my unfinished-but-sitting-on-a-candle-warmer cup of coffee.

I even sent off some work to a magazine last night....we'll see if it gets picked up or not....I hope so!

So, before I can show some new work, I have to do a few more things....like, make some...

I promise. I will post some new actual jewelry soon....very soon...this summer is turning out to be much busier than I had anticipated!

In the meantime, though, YOU should go do something creative yourself! And have fun!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July!!

I'm taking a break from wire-mangling, I mean, wrapping, and celebrating the Independence Day holiday weekend with my family and friends. I even rode my scooter to the farmer's market and down by the James River in the beautiful weather this morning.

Just off the road by Pony Pasture Rapids

I hope all of you are enjoying your weekend!


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