Friday, March 16, 2007

Fused Glass Cabochons & Tunisian Crochet

I have an incredibly talented (and sweet) customer who has uses my fused glass links in her Tunisian crocheted ponchos. In fact, her ponchos (with my glass) are currently being featured in the March/April issue of Belle Armoire magazine!! Visit to learn more about Jennifer's amazing Tunisian crochet.

Tunisian crochet is an old artform that offers both experienced and beginning knitters and crocheters new creativity. Tunisian crochet, also known as afghan crochet, incorporates elements of both knitting and crochet, yet is easier to achieve (and easier on the hands) thanks to the extra-large crochet hook used.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What is Precious Metal Clay (PMC)?

Precious Metal Clay is an incredible material invented by the Japanese. The principal ingredient in PMC is microscopic particles of silver only 20 microns in diameter. As a point of reference, it would take as many as 25 of these particles to make up a single grain of table salt. The rest of the material consists of water & an organic binder. The clay can be molded & shaped into many different designs. Then it is fired in a kiln where both the water & binder burn away & the metal particles fuse to form solid Silver 99.9% pure (for comparison, Sterling is only 92.5% pure). I often use a variety of different types of fused glass (including Dichroic and Murano glasses) within my designs to make spectacular & unique jewelry.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Blue Glass....

There is something about it that draws me in every time. No matter how much I try to diversify, I am always drawn back to blue, especially cobalt.

Here are a couple of my new additions...

Cobalt Blue Glass definition from the Glass Encyclopedia:

Cobalt blue glass is normally a deep rich blue. It is made by incorporating cobalt oxide in the molten glass mixture. Most blue glass is given its color either from cobalt oxide or from copper oxide added to the molten glass. Copper is a more delicate colorant than cobalt. It only requires a small amount of cobalt oxide to produce a deep rich blue.

Cobalt is a metal, found in copper and nickel ores in many countries, but mined chiefly in Africa, USSR, Australia, Canada and smaller amounts in other countries. It was discovered by a Swedish chemist, Georg Brandt, in 1742; although the coloring properties of the ore has been known since very ancient times. There was even one piece of cobalt blue glass in Tut-Ankh-Amen's tomb in Egypt.

Before the 1920s the world's production of cobalt was primarily used as a glass and ceramic colorant. Since then it has been used increasingly in metal alloys, and over 80% of today's production of cobalt is used as a metal, - it is, for example, a component of the best magnets. Surprisingly it also makes up 4.3% of vitamin B12.

Small amounts of cobalt (around 1 ounce per ton of glass) are used to neutralize the yellow tint of iron in glass such as window glass. To produce a blue colour in glass, you only need to add five ounces to a ton of glass. Deeper blues are obtained by adding up to ten pounds of cobalt oxide to a ton of glass. This deep blue glass can then be ground up into a powder called "SMALT" which is used as a coloring agent for enamel, for glazes on pottery, and for making more blue glass.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

EGA Featured Member: Glass House Jewelry

February 25th, 2007 by Glass House Jewelry

Hope Marxe is a fused glass artist from New York. Visit her Etsy store at

When did you first become interested in glass?

I have always loved glass ever since I was young. The way is shimmers and catches the light. I have always had a love of the water as well. They have similar reflective properties. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to collect sea glass. I could walk on the beach for hours at a time. Now, it is something that my daughter and I love to do together.

What do you like best about what you do?

There are no real mistakes in glass. Like working with oil paints, each “mistake” can merely be a new direction. Ask any glass artist, fusing is completely addictive! I constantly find myself waiting anxiously by the kiln for things to cool so that I can see how they turned out!

Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? In the way you use color, texture or light?

Not really, I try not to pigeon hole myself into one particular style or technique. I am always experimenting. Though it is hard not to let your own personal taste in colors and style influence you.

What inspires you? How are your inspirations expressed in your work?

Nature (particularly the ocean) definitely inspires me. However, my biggest inspiration is our daughter. She is a ray of sunshine in my life and she has taught me the meaning of pure joy. It is just fabulous viewing the world through the eyes of a toddler … truly refreshing! The funniest thing is that she actually critiques all of my pieces. She has a pretty good eye and hasn’t steered me wrong yet!

How much time is spent creating your pieces?

It is hard to balance being a full time mom and working. So, most of my work is done while she is napping or at night.
Needless to say, I don’t get much sleep! Thank goodness we recently moved and I have my own brand new studio…yay!

What are your techniques and style and how do these relate to the medium?

My style is definitely fluid and I am always experimenting with new techniques.

What do you find most challenging about your work in the glass arts?

With so many talented glass artists out there, I find I have to work twice as hard to keep my work original and unique. It is a challenge that I truly enjoy. I am constantly experimenting and trying new techniques without knowing for sure what the outcome might be. Some of my favorite designs I just “stumbled” upon after trying many different things.

The other big challenge I have encountered is properly photographing glass jewelry. It is truly difficult to capture properly. I find that I am constantly retaking my photos over and over…never being truly satisfied with them…sigh…

How did you find Etsy? What do you like most about it?

On Google. I was looking for supplies and several Etsy stores came up. So, I got curious, checked it out, and the rest is history. I love that Etsy is almost exclusively hand made and I have found it to be a wonderfully warm community of people.