Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Get ready to Party!

We had our first ART PARTY at the studio this past weekend. I spent the week making cute artist smocks from recycled T-shirts for the kids to wear to protect their clothing. Although time consuming, these artist smocks will be great for future parties and children's art classes that are planned. The studio looked very festive with the addition of the colorful decorations and special Birthday decor. We offer various art activities for parties but this party was a Paint a T-Shirt party. The group of eight year olds practiced by first drew out their designs on cardstock. After a lesson on painting, the partygoers selected their paint and began creating their masterpieces. The end results were color and unique and wearable. Fun was had by all....Robin

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Watercolor Batik Class

The Watercolor Batik Class began Tuesday evening. Batik is a process where wax is applied to fabric or paper which acts as a resist to the paint or dye that is applied. Examples of Batik can be traced back over 1,500 years to Egypt and the Middle East. Samples have also been found from previous centuries in India, Japan, Turkey and China. In the Watercolor Batik class we are applying the wax to rice paper with a tool called a Tjanting, which is a traditional tool used to draw precise lines of wax onto the paper. In my case on Tuesday the lines were not that precise, however, I can tell that the more you work with the tool and wax, the more you are able to guide the tool and control the amount of wax that comes out. The tool looks a small brass vessel with a funnel tip attached to a handle. After you create your design with the wax, you apply the watercolor to the paper. The final step is to remove the wax by ironing the paper and using newsprint to absorb the melted wax. The result is a beautiful watercolor which maintains the beautiful whites. The light colors are translucent and I especially enjoyed the end results because they look like stained glass paintings. I really like this process and can't wait to do more. Here are some pictures of the class and some photos of some examples done.......Robin

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Late Night at the Studio

Yesterday was a late night at the studio. I was in a jewelry making mood and thought I would make some glass pieces to incorporate into my jewelry. Fused glass is made by heating compatible glass in a kiln until the glass becomes molten which usually happens at about 1500 degrees. These jewelry pieces were taken to a "full fuse" which means the different layers of glass were taken to such a high temperature that they look like one piece of glass. The incredible colors are made by using dichroic glass which is glass that has a special coating. The magic of dichroic glass is that it reflects one color and transmits a different color so it's color appears to change when you look at the glass from different angles. When you fuse glass you have to let the glass anneal in the kiln which means you slowly bring the temperature of the kiln down. If things cool too fast, things can shatter. The first picture is a "before" picture of the glass in the kiln and the second picture is an "after" picture of the completed jewelry pieces. These colors make me think Spring is just around the corner. ; ) Robin

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stained Glass Classes begin!

Our studio offered it's first stained glass class this week. The students are learning the Tiffany or copper foil stained glass method which generally has been thought to have been developed by Louis Tiffany although recently I have heard that there is a debate about who developed this method. Prior to the development of the Tiffany technique, stained glass windows were created by using the age old method which involved joining the pieces of glass with lead cane or strips of lead that have channels to hold the glass. In the Tiffany method the pieces of stained glass are are wrapped in a copper foil and then soldered together. This method allows the stained glass to be lighter in weight and also allows three-dimensional projects such as boxes and lamps, to be constructed.
The students in the class created a small suncatcher for their first project and will begin the construction of a panel next week. The class runs for 6 weeks and I look forward to seeing the final projects..... Robin

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Stained Glass Repair

It is a extremely cold day and I am keeping warm at the studio by working on a new stained glass repair job. I am taking this larger window that came out of an old oak door, repairing the broken piece of glass and then will make it smaller to fit into a transom for one of the Classic houses here in Denton. The trick to doing window repair is to fix the broken pieces without breaking any more. Difficult? yes. Doable? yes, if the glass gods are smiling today. After the repair and resizing is done, I will polish it with whiting until it shines like new. How great to take something that has a little wear and tear and make it beautiful and useful again.....Robin

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

It is hard to believe that our doors have only been open for a little over a month. Each day is a new adventure in the world of art. I just returned from a short trip to Marfa, Texas where I got to check out several art galleries and looked at the studios of Robert Arber and Julie Speed. The beauty of the Big Bend area is breathtaking. I am now planning to create a desert scene in glass. It was all very inspiring and also made me feel very proud of what we have accomplished so far in our studio. Our tables for the painting classes are almost assembled and should prove to be a comfortable place to work. Very exciting times....... Robin