Posts Tagged ‘Girl Glass’

14
Feb

Gnomie and the Glass

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Gail and the Glass

8 February 2011

It was a beautiful day in sunny Sacramento!

We made some beautiful glass — I did a few more lip wraps successfully.  I’m not the best, for sure, but I’m good enough to be useful!  And, my first two lip wraps that went on pretty little clear cups yesterday, came out just fine, and were gifted to me this morning, by Shannon!  So, I’m feeling pretty good.

We got a bonus, today, too!  We got to have lunch with my Kelly!  Gail Wilson picked her up from the airport, and instead of whisking her away immediately to the Wilson Ranch in Placerville, we arranged for them to come by Shannon’s house for lunch first.  Kyrana fixed a delightful luncheon of salmon and spinach salad and we had a great, but far too short, visit before off they went, and we resumed our work

It was a short work day—we quit around three o’clock and made ready for our evening outing to Auburn, to visit the Old Town Gallery where Girl Glass is a major exhibit, and Shannon’s mom who manages the glass, and from what I can tell, pretty much manages the whole place! 😉

Shannon’s mother is as dear a person as you ever want to meet.  I’m pretty sure I have an inch or two on her, making her well under five feet tall.  She’s as sharp as a tack and a little bit feisty and always gives free hugs!  I know we all have our faults, but hers are tucked away in a good hiding spot—I adore her.  And, that is but a drop in the ocean of adoration Shannon feels for her.  And, the feeling seems to be mutual.

Gail, or “Gnomie” as Shannon and all Shannon’s friends call her, loves Shannon and her work like few could.  She oversees the gallery exhibit, keeping the merchandise fresh and enticing, and working way more than her required few hours a month.  In short, she’s pretty awesome!

The Old Town Gallery of Fine Art is a lovely place—beautiful collections of for sale art fill every wall and much of the open space.  I found a textile artist whose work I really loved, and treated myself to a scarf to commemorate the trip.  We enjoyed the gallery for a while, and then, as darkness was falling, we walked around the corner to the other big draw in town—the Auburn Alehouse.  I was impressed with the little town itself, too, and wished for more time to spend there.  Auburn is an old gold rush town, and this “old town” section of it reminded me of Fort Worth’s northside Cowtown.  Next time, we’ll allow for some further sightseeing, but this day, I allowed the call of yummy beer to win my attention.  I was quite pleased with both my fish and chips and my eight-glass flight of some of the best micro-brewed beer in Northern California.

It was a good, good day!

~MB

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7
Feb

Let the Beauty …

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Words to Live By

7 February 2011

 

Is it any wonder I love these people and the creativity and beauty created in this glass studio?

This banner hangs on the wall above the leer in the Girl Glass studio—I absolutely love the sentiment it teaches.

 

I assisted today with a few vases and bowls … and learned the basics of doing lip wraps!  That was a really big deal, and something I am hoping to get good enough at doing, that I can help Shannon do more of that sort of work at Bristol this coming summer.  It was rather high-pressure learning, though!  It’s a process that requires speed and confidence and very, very hot glass.  And, I figure that writing about it will solidify it in my head, so dear readers … bear with me!

 

First,  I gather a little tiny bit of clear glass (dipping the pipe down into the crucible of 2000 degree molten glass, the consistency of honey) and marver it smooth at the marver table, and then push down on the very end, so it barely provides a hot, sticky tip to the pipe.  Then, heat that up again, and go to the leer to pick up a waiting color chip.  So far, not terribly unlike the first part of what I did over and over again the day I took those color chips and blew all the bubbles.  The color chip then gets heated up in the furnace heat and marvered.  But, instead of marvering it to let it cool, to gather over it (like I did the other day) the marvering on this must be super fast and ideally I form the colored glass into a sharp point.  Then, back to the heat to ensure as much fluidity as possible, and immediately thereafter, present properly to the gaffer, with the pipe at just the right angle, and the hot, pointed tip of color right where she can grab the pipe with her pincettes and tag it to the lip of the piece she’s working.  She controls the whole thing, then, requiring one flip of the pipe from me, before she touches my glass to hers.  My job then, is to carefully follow, doing nothing, really, but focusing, and supporting my pipe, while she spins hers, allowing the colored “lip” to “wrap” all the way around the piece as it turns.  Then, when complete, she quickly forces the end of my pipe down and away, requiring me to be both flexible enough to go with the push, and solid enough to control the hot pipe until any remaining trail of glass is severed and I take the pipe to the giant trash can of blow pipe storage.

 

*whew!*  So, it took me a lot of go-rounds to be useful and even so, I wanted more rehearsal before the real thing, but, I did successfully help with two little lip wraps that I cannot wait to see in the morning!  I wouldn’t say I’m good, yet.  But, I’m better than I was!  This week is all about that sort of journey … to gain confidence, to learn new things, and to show improvement with every successive action.

 

Tomorrow, I’ll take a photo of one of the finished pieces I actually helped make.

 

And, for anyone interested, my new friend Tina, a friend of Kyrana’s and Shannon’s, was in the studio today taking photographs and actually managed to snap a couple of me that I like, and that are already on Facebook!

 

~MB

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5
Feb

Chaos in the Heat

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Chaos in the Heat

4 February 2011

My first full day in the Girl Glass studio, here in Sacramento—and I had a blast! I shared some re-training time with a new friend who was experiencing her very first day ever on a glassblowing floor. We made snowmen (a training drill), we learned to open and shut the leer properly, and we went over basic studio etiquette.

Shannon had asked me last night what my goals were for my time in the studio this week. I told her I wanted to develop my skills so that I could: A) be more useful to her as an apprentice, and be able to deliver puntes, drop feet, etc., and B) get to where I could actually make a little piece on my own—in other words, be able to make my own bubble and not need help with the blowing part. That was always the hard part for me back when we girls were taking weekly classes.

So, Shannon decided that today, I was going to start every piece. Me. I was gathering glass, getting color chips from the leer, marvering, and starting bubbles for Shannon to then make into tumblers. I pushed past the lack of self-confidence I would have felt a year or two ago, and ignored the twinge of doubt and just went for it. I gratefully accepted coaching, and I think, got a little better with each successive piece. I certainly gained confidence with each piece. We made tumblers and we pulled cane (a very fun thing!) and Shannon made this amazing giant ornament with the scrap from that.  My photo of the day is of the chaotic bits of cane Shannon had gathered onto the pipe, as it melted in the heat of the furnace.  At the end of the day, I felt kind of wimpy, ’cause I was exhausted, and had worked up a good sweat (which Kyrana teased me about, because it’s unusual) and of course, it was Shannon who did nine-tenths of the work. I joked that getting back to my sewing machine might feel like a vacation by the end of my week, here!

We took breaks for food, of course (a lunch of snacky-yumminess) and a delicious dinner of baked cod, lovingly prepared by Kyrana. After dinner, we carried our wine into the living room—six dogs and five women, including Sandy and Laurel—and kicked back and settled into more great conversation. My body clock is still set on the central time zone, so I got tired, took a shower and went to bed leaving Kyrana and Laurel still talking well into the wee hours of the morning. A few pages of the book I’m now reading … and then sleep.  It was a great day.

~MB

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19
Jun

Girl Glass Collection at Scarborough

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Girl Glass Collection at Scarborough

2 May 2010

At each festival I do, I have determined it a priority to find a way to display my Girl Glass collection of goblets and tumbers and such … a prettier collection, I cannot imagine! It’s colorful, and happy, and a constant reminder to me of the importance of “everyday beauty.”

This photo is a shot of my collection in the pretty hutch I have in the very back of the booth at Scarborough.

~MB

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22
Apr

Dining Room Still-Life

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Dining Room Still Life

15 April 2010

As I made final preparations on the house today, in anticipation of Larry and Denise’s arrival, I moved this lovely vase of flowers and was struck once again, with both their meaning to me and their beauty. So, even though I used the rose as my photo for yesterday, I got the camera and tried to photograph the entire vase full of blooms. Unfortunately, the bouquet is just the right size and shape that I could not for the life of me make it look good in my photo without losing part of it of the edges of my frame. And, while sometimes that works, I didn’t like it today. So, I backed off, instead, and realized that maybe I could capture part of the surroundings and make it interesting. What I have is interesting to me, if not to others—a microcosm of our lives represented in stuff .  I’ve done this before with other places in our home, but it’s been a while, so … here goes …

The flowers of course, tell the story that I shared yesterday, of me being honoured by my friend, and our queen at Scarborough Renaissance Festival, Shannon.  I lovingly placed those flowers in a hand-blown art glass vase, made by my dear friend Shannon Jane Morgan of Girl Glass—the gaffer I enthusiastically apprentice with every summer at Bristol.    It sits on a coaster that’s part of a set of coasters Kyle’s parents brought us from Europe.    And that sits on my antique golden oak, draw-leaf table—the first “new (to me)” antique that I bought after moving in with Kyle.  Behind that, hanging on the wall, is a lovely oak shelf and the beautiful glass yard that hangs from it.  We picked that up at the Colorado Renaissance Faire just days before we were married.    The hanging shelf visible on the left came from the Arizona Renaissance Festival—the first faire Kyle and I worked together on the road.  It holds a couple of bottles of bubbly, gifted to us at our last Hogmanay party, and the tasting glasses we brought home from our first trip to the Messina Hof Winery.   I can see parts of two other beloved antique pieces: on the left, a fabulous little cabinet that houses an antique treadle sewing machine—a gift from George one Dickens weekend from long ago; and a small English sideboard that I picked up for a song a few years ago and which now houses our collection of  liqueurs.  On top of that piece is a wine rack, and heaven knows we love our wine.  That makes me think of our friend Jene, the winemaker at Fredericksburg Winery, who has gifted us with so many of those bottles in that rack.   On top of the sewing machine cabinet, and on the hanging shelf, are many of my houseplants, simple pothos ivy mostly, that I manage to keep alive, and that even Kyle has gotten pretty good at remembering to water while I’m away in the summer.   And, back over on the sideboard you can plainly see the commemorative glass from the Rahr Brewery created just for their award-winning brew we love so much called Iron Thistle.  You can even see, just the corner of a photo frame that holds some favourite photos of mine … a group shot of many of our dearest friends at Dickens, a beautiful shot of my little brother and his daughter (my niece) McKenna, and the one you can actually see of my mama and my grandmother on her 94th birthday.

Such wonderful memories … such rich experiences … such love of friends and family … all represented in one rather average photograph.  It’s just a dining room still-life to most.  But, to me, it’s a tiny glimpse of who I am.

~MB

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