October 21, 2014

Potless Melt

Pot melts are all the rage these days in fused glass studios and a plethora of shiny $tainless $teel tools have hit the market. Molds, frames, custom grids, fibers thick and thin...they're all out there for the experimental artist.  But if you're on a budget and want to use glass scraps as a cost effective medium, how about going potless?

Tools and Materials:
-Clean, unused, unglazed red clay plant saucer with no cracks
-Scrap kiln paper
-Scrap glass of many colors (be sure it's all the same COE!) 
-Frit (optional)

1.  Gather that good intentions scrap glass you've been saving.  Sort same COE colors into like piles. Not only will this utilize your expensive scraps, but you'll feel so good about cleaning it up!

2.  Overlap scrap kiln papers (note the theme here $$) and line the saucer--pretty doesn't matter.

3.  Layer glass into the saucer. Depending on how you plan to use your potless melt, reserve your "good" glass for the bottom and top layers.  Use frit or less attractive scraps in the middle layer as filler.  Orphan beads not meant for daylight make an excellent foreground, I save them just for this.

When you're happy with your design, full fuse with a slow cool down.  Sandblast or sand the paper residue off prior to using your potless melt in a mold, etc. Your saucer may break...you'll be out a $1.  But you'll get much more control of your final abstract design--all at the cost of running your kiln.  

Give it try and share your thoughts!

March 8, 2014

Saturday Night Beading

Love going online and seeing something I made gracing someone I appreciate!

Mark Karan of Grateful Dead bands Other Ones, Ratdog, photo by Alan Hess: http://alanhessphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Mark_karan-43.jpg

April 23, 2013

Can You Do Better?

As artists we've been there, that awkward moment when you hear, "How much will you knock off" on your one-of-a-kind creation. I have several (said with a smile) one-liners at the ready for these moments, such as, "Are you inquiring about a wholesale account" or when pressed, the snarkier "Hmmm, you'd like me to discount my already less than minimum wage salary?"

I'm not against the art of the deal. We haggle on real estate. Cars. At a flea market. In many cultures it's expected. But there's something about the juried art show that's a benefit for underprivileged children, where participants pay a fee to enter and vendors donate a percentage of their sales to the cause that knocks off kilter even my expectant disenchantment. In this case, it's two matching but unique hand-molded glass lampshades (count the production hours) priced as a duo that are not greated with inquisition, a complement or even the courtesy of a response to "hello" but with a blunt, "Can you do better on the pair?" Pat responses don't do this justice.

It started off the regular way, a group checking out my space, no eye contact, repeated visits, your business card scooped up like a secret file in "Mission Impossible." But here's the blue sky: I recognize the Negotiator as my paperboy from days gone by. The one who would stand on my porch, laser beam eye contact, a wonderul smile, chatting away. He was great at his job. Finally that winning grin, as I remind him of how fondly I remember him, sharing my thoughts with his family and confirming, "I did tip you well for your service?"..."Yes you did."

Negotiations ended without a sale as my patrons quietly left the booth promising to stay in touch, which is ok as I truly did not want to sell those lamps. In my opinion, they're some of my best work and look great on my mantel where they'll stay with a story to tell. My paperboy is now a successful internet mogul. I am an artist that will continue to do better.

March 27, 2013

Come SPRING @>~

It's finally here, and we've been doing some big renovations around Casa Carasmiths.  A redesigned studio with more space.  New equipment.  And a new website.

More to come, but please check us out at www.carasmiths.com!