Sunday, January 18, 2009

Playing favorites with glass

Well, let’s see if I can explain this…
I was reading info about clear glass on a website the other day- Someone mentioned that the clear glass they liked (my clear favorites are either Moretti 006, or Lauscha) wouldn’t be available again until March or April. I remember the first time I heard this about a favorite glass color. My reaction was kind of – huh?? How can that be? What do you mean they only make it at certain times of the year???
That was about 7 or 8 years ago. Things have changed so much in the soft glass world in just that short time. There are new American manufacturers, the German glass companies have started making 104 coe (soft) glass, Vetrofond has come onto the radar ( I don’t actually know when they started making soft glass at the Venice factory), the ‘odd lots’ glasses have come to be available. The story I heard about odd lots glass is that Mike Frantz was at the Moretti factory, and saw some piles of glass rods sitting in a corner of the room. When he asked about them, he was informed that they were basically mistakes and not part of the normal color palette. When he imported them to the U.S. and offered them for sale, the color-starved glass beadmaking community went wild and a whole new, but limited, palette of colors was introduced.
So, what’s to be done? Well, we must just adapt to the vagaries of the glass makers. The Moretti factory on the island of Murano has been making soft glass for centuries (though the factory has changed hands once or twice). They now have to keep up with an artisanal industry that has exploded over the past 20 years or so. Before that, the demand for soft glass outside of Italy was not so large. And we Americans are used to being able to get whatever we want whenever we want it.
Now that I’ve gotten used to the idea, I actually love the idea of being part of such an ancient art form that is still based in some old-fashioned manufacturing techniques. And I just try not to get overly attached to any one color (though I can hardly go a day without my rubino oro). I try and view it as more of an opportunity to get out of my personal box and try new things.
It a bit of Zen and the art of glass beadmaking at work!
P.S. For those of you who not so familiar with glass beadmaking- getting a nice perfectly clear, compatible, glass is not always easy. There are constant discussions on the web about what is currently available, who has it, and how folks like it. Looking out my clear-ish window (which needs cleaning!), it seems almost impossible that I spend time wondering about this.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Win This Fish!

Happy New Year!

This month (January 2009) I am contributing this fish as a prize to the Creative Glass Guild on Etsy. All you have to do to be in the running to win it is to sign up to receive the monthly e-newsletter here:
Why sign up? To find out what's on special in the CGGE shops, what the team promotions are, and other news. The CGGE is a non-juried group of glass artisans who sell on etsy. You can find lampwork, fused glass, stained glass and glass mosaics in a multitude of styles and colors. Here's a list of the members:

About the fish you could win- I like to call this fish Ambergris- because it looks amber and the silver in the center looks kind of grey . It's handmade lampwork glass, made with Italian Moretti glass by me in my home studio. It has been well cleaned and properly kiln annealed.
Good Luck and have a great year!