This page is all about color. There is something magical, not just in the colors themselves, but in the words we give to colors. Vermilion and scarlet are much more evocative than red; gold and ochre have more depth than yellow. The world would be a lot blander if there was only one red or one yellow.
This is my main work area, where I cut and foil my glass pieces. I also have work areas for grinding and soldering my pieces as well as extra space to spread out large pieces.
Moving from top left to bottom right:
1. Tropsie the stuffed triceratops – I got Tropsie when I was 8 years old from the Museum of Natural History in Ottawa. His current position is Chief Workbench Supervisor.
2. Craft clamps – I use these whenever I need to hold two pieces of glass together, usually with something between them.
3. Over the years I’ve dabbled in other mediums, these are some of my past needlework and polymer clay pieces.
4. Is is not possible to have too many pairs of pliers and wire cutters.
5. My glass cutter. I use a Toyo pistol-grip cutter with an oil reservoir. If you haven’t tried a pistol grip, I strongly recommend it, it is much easier to use for long periods than a pencil style cutter.
6. A color wheel is great for those times when the color combination isn’t quite coming together.
7. My workbench always seems to have a few unfinished projects on it. These have been sitting there for nearly a year.
8. My workbench is made from basic 1 inch think plywood. Some glass artists prefer a carpeted surface to cut on, but I find that it collects too many glass slivers for me to cut myself on. A tape measure is also essential equipment.
9. I have storage for large and mid-sized glass underneath my workbench and bins with smaller pieces on a shelf to one side, all organized by color.
Usually, when I want a book to give me a creative boost, I look for a beautiful coffee table book or an artist biography. Once in awhile I’ll come across a novel that describes the creative process so well that I’ll have to go out and create something. Here are five novels (from five different genres) that make me head out to my studio:
1. Folly by Laurie R. King (Mystery). I read this book, on average, about once a year. King is probably best known for her historical mystery fiction and her interpretation of Sherlock Holmes and Folly is a departure from both those themes. This novel tells the story of a woodworker who flees to the San Juan Islands following a personal tragedy. King’s descriptions of both the building of the house (which is a focal point of the book) and of more artistic woodworking creations are exquisite. Plus, there are layers of mysteries to be solved in two separate time periods.
2. The Sarantine Mosaic by Guy Gavriel Kay (Fantasy). Guy Gavriel Kay is one of the best fantasy writers working today. His prose stands up to authors who write “literary” fiction but I think is often overlooked because of his placement within the fantasy genre. There are two books to this short series, which focuses on the magical story of a mosaicist who must navigate court intrigues as he completes a commission for the emperor.
3. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (Historical Fiction). Ken Follett is probably the best known author on this list and the Pillars of the Earth is probably his best known book. Although this book is more about architecture than art, there is something inspiring about the scope of the architectural work in this book that makes me grateful that I work on a much smaller scale.
4. Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas (Romance). Like Folly, this book also takes place in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest. More of a modern love story than a bodice ripping romance, the main character in this novel is stained glass artist who recreates a window that has a mystical quality to it.
5. Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland (Fiction). This is the fictional account of the artistic relationship between Clara Driscoll and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Although her work was largely uncredited until recently, Clara Driscoll was recently identified as the creative force behind many of the lamps produced by Tiffany studios.
About a month ago, I saw a photo of a wheeled fruit bowl that ceramic artist Robert Boomer Moore had made.
That picture got the wheels turning (so to speak) about whether I could incorporate a similar concept into my glass. After some thought, I came up with this wheeled desk tray. Because I want all my pieces to have a non-glass component, the wheels are polymer clay, covered with metal leaf.
Even as I was building this piece, I knew it was destined to become a failed experiment. While I loved the classic shape of the desk organizer, the wheels didn’t quite fit the piece. Plus, they were very time consuming to make!
However, building that piece started me down the path to building these little organizers for doohickeys and whatnots.
Looking back at that wheeled bowl, it’s hard to imagine how it could possibly inspire a set of square desk accessories, but sometimes you end up in places you don’t expect!
For me, it would have to be these four: cobalt blue, turquoise, lime green and yellow. These are definitely the colors I go back to, over and over. I love the contrast between the soothing blue and turquoise and the shocking yellow and lime.
If I were allowed one more color to round out my palette? If would have to be the perfect purple.
What colors are in your color palette?
Lots of artists make inspiration boards filled with bits and pieces that catch their fancy. I have a book stuffed full of photos, quotes and other odds and ends that have caught my attention. On this page, I especially like my handmade color wheel, made from different colored photos. Yes, the wheel actually spins to reveal parts of different photos each time.
What inspires you?
If you’re looking for a unique way to protect your furniture, you’ll love these colourful coasters and trivets. Made by sandwiching threads and fibres between a piece of coloured glass on the bottom and a piece of clear glass on the top, these coasters are durable and beautiful. Each coaster has felt bumpers to prevent scratching of furniture and can easily withstand the heat of a teapot of cup of tea. Enjoy a set of 4 coasters (3.75″ square) for $37.50 or a 6″ trivet for $22.50.