Wha’ happened?


It’s dawned on me that I need to explain: I’m not dead, sick or otherwise incapacitated. It’s just that the blog is on temporary hiatus until I get around to fixing a bunch of stuff.

Bunches of you have cleverly noticed that there hasn’t been a new post on this blog since November 2012. Must have seemed odd, because for the last seven years or so I’ve pretty much maintained a schedule of twice-weekly posts. (And thank you, thank you for all the nice expressions of concern and even the “watinell is WRONG with you, you slacker!” comments–I didn’t realize so many people followed this blog so closely)

Continue reading Wha’ happened?

Cookie coma

There are cookie lovers, cookie makers..and then there’s Monica.

I work with Monica, and every year at Halloween* she takes a couple days off to send us into diabetic comas. More specifically, she makes enough cookies to float an aircraft carrier and brings them in along with decorated bags and plates. The calls go out, and the cookie monsters gather…

*Also every year at Thanksgiving and every year at Christmas…


Tools: Cropping templates

Sometimes removing all the extraneous junk from a composition makes it easy to see. All it takes is a piece of cardboard and an Xacto knife.

Photographers and art directors in pre-Photoshop days would figure out how to crop a photo by setting it on a lightbox and covering up the edges with paper/cardboard/whatever. I was fascinated by it; a half-inch of concealment could turn a bad photo into a great image.

Why not apply the same technique to glass?

I do that when I’m working with flat part sheets I want to cut up and turn into pendants, or components in a larger work. Since glass STILL doesn’t come with an undo button (Bullseye, you need to get on that right away), it’s a fast way to see what you’re going to get before the cutter touches the glass. In the example above, I’m doing it with frit-sandwiched glass sheets.

It ain’t exactly rocketscience: Get a sheet of cardboard (or, if you want permanent template, masonite or wallboard). Draw the shapes you need, get an Xacto knife and cut them out.

All you have to do now is position your homemade template on the glass, and move it around until something strikes your fancy. Then outline the window with a Sharpie marker, and make your cuts. Voila.

This is also a nice way to quickly sketch shapes when you need a LOT of cutouts, although for that you may want to make your template in clear vinyl. It makes it easier to see where you’ve been.


Crowdsourcing–where an inventor/artist/creative funds a beloved project by selling it to the masses, eschewing the more formal stuffed-shirt, naysaying, elitist big-cheese venture capitalist–can be a great way for us masses to get in on wonderful, wonderful things.

Or not. I’ve backed 16 Kickstarter projects. So far, ten have delivered. Four are great.

The rest? Varying degrees of “meh.”

Continue reading Kickstartled

Tools: Worktable clean-up brush

Worktable clean-up brush

Long ago I took a drafting class, bought all the required supplies and, at the end, wondered why the heck anyone in their right mind would draw all that stuff by hand when a computer and a little CAD software could do a much better job, without a lot of erasing and redrawing and Rapidograph pen clogging.

Turns out the best reason to take a drafting class is that almost every one of those supplies can be put to much better use in a glass studio. For example, the drafting table brush shown here, originally designed to keep eraser crumbs from dimpling your vellum, is a great way to marshal your glass scrap.

These little guys are still around at art and architectural supply stores, don’t cost much, and work better at sweeping up ALL the shards than any brush I’ve so far encountered. (A damp paper towel works, too, but doesn’t last nearly as long).

Disclaimer: I doubt I invented any of this; some is pretty obvious and the rest probably originated in Mesopotamia or something. If you know of an even smarter tool, please, please share!


Tools: Reactivity charting

I’ve mentioned this before: Before you go combining frits, it’s a good idea to understand what reacts with which.

The linked post explains it in more detail, but in general: When a warm glass meets up with a cool glass, be careful. Cool glasses often contain copper. Warm glasses frequently contain sulfur or lead. Wherever the two touch those chemicals will combine to form a third, which is frequently some shade of brown, grey or black.

Continue reading Tools: Reactivity charting