WORK IN PROGRESS: PUTZ HOUSE ORNAMENTS UPDATE

So tonight I got to try out the mold I made to blow my glass putz houses. I didn’t expect it to work out on the first try  but was pleasantly surprised that my plan worked! I’ve still got some tweaking to do to the design but am very excited with how the first few turned out.

After pouring a wax of the original model I made a two part plaster mold that I could blow into.

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This pretty little piece of plaster coated inside with graphite is one half of the two part mold I blew into to make the house.

I tried the design in clear a few times. When my first attempts come out the annealer I can start to plan what to do differently to the finished pieces. As is the nature of glass the house ended up a bit more rounded than the original model. I like the effect but might try and find ways to make the angles of the roof show up better. I also need to decide what colors I plan to make the finished pieces in.

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Cat Whale Sewing Project

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So we recently adopted two adorable kitties. They’ve settled in pretty well but while they were still getting used to our house I decided to make them this bed to hide in. I’d seen a shark shaped cat bed on Amazon but was dismayed that the reviews said it only fit small cats. So, I found a pattern on Ebay that made a fish shaped cat bed. I was originally going to turn it into a shark but decided a whale would be better.

I used this pattern, some blue twill and cotton, stiff interfacing, poly fill and large googly eyes to make this beast of a cat bed. Yes, you can buy 5 inch googly eyes. Isn’t it a wonderful world? I deviated some from the pattern by omitting the top top fin, using googly eyes and using interfacing rather than foam. I broke about 10 needles trying to sew through all that interfacing and my cats have never once used their new whale shaped bed, but I’m still pleased with the outcome. I finished this project a few weeks ago and it seems my cats still prefer sleeping on the 50 cent carpet remnants I dragged home from a yard sale.

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Alice and Hilda have no use for your fancy handmade cat bed!

Work in Progress: Putz House Ornaments

So in an effort to begin making more production glass I’ve started designing some ornaments. I’ve been interested in putz houses since last winter when I found a few and made a few more out of cardboard (I posted about that last year here.. They seem to have stayed pretty popular throughout the years and I bet they’d make great ornaments. I drew up a quick design in SketchUp of a simple putz house to print and take a mold of. I’ll take a plaster blow mold of it and see if I can make some blown glass ornaments using that mold. It’s going to be tricky because I’ll have to cut it off the pipe on the top edge of the roof and I’m worried about keeping the shape. When I get a chance to blow into the mold I make with this design, I might end up changing the design.

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I ordered lagoon, copper ruby and off-white glass color to make the ornaments with and printed a model of my house the other day. The 3D printed model is only needed long enough for me to talk a flexible silicone mold that I can pour wax into. I’ll use a lost wax process to make my final mold which will be made of plaster.

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To take a flexible silicone mold I use clear Silicone that you find at the hardware store. It’s a cheap and easy way to make a mold of many things. It picks up good detail too. To make the mold I spray the model with mold release then build up one thin layer with the silicone. Once that’s dry I add 2 or 3 thicker layers, a blob at a time. The way I was taught to do this involves squiring each blob out into a cup of soapy water and folding it around to wash out the chemical that extends the set time, making the curing process quicker. When this is set up in a few hours I’ll pop out the model, pour in wax and have a wax model I can use to make my final mold.

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Pumpkin Season

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Every fall for the last 5 years or so I’ve made glass pumpkins. In college I made them as part of the glass department’s pumpkin sale/fundraiser and since then I’ve made them at another glass studio that runs a pumpkin sale. This fall I got invited back to my old college to help with their pumpkin sale in exchange for making some of my own to sell. It was a very rewarding experience. Not only did I get to make a lot of pumpkins and have fun in the process but I was able to talk to and share ideas with a lot of other creative minded people. Making pumpkins 6 hours+ a day for 2 weeks really made me think seriously about doing more production. I’ve been selling online but haven’t done much in the way of selling my own work since college. Since I’ve moved I’m only a few blocks from a public glass studio where I can rent time and I’m already thinking of things I can make and sell. I’ve sold out of all the pumpkins I’d made, so unfortunately I won’t likely have any for sale on Etsy this year. Though I am designing some Christmas ornaments that I’d like to start making and listing soon. Keep an eye on MadelineSteimleArt on Etsy and see how they turn out.

Converging Media Art Show

This fall after moving to Indianapolis I got the opportunity to organize an art show. I’ve shown a few times since I got out of college, but never more than a few pieces and certainly not at a show I put together. To make the show better I invited 3 other artists who also work in glass or metal. From the show statement:

“Converging Media is about mixing media and techniques in unique ways to discover new ways of making. In this show steel meets glass, glass meets plastic, and metal meets paper. 3D printing is used alongside casting, and glassblowing is
integrated with metalworking.”

Since the show came together in about 2 months time, we were each able make a few new pieces to show alongside older work. In all there were about 15 pieces. Before the show we made pedestals, wrote a statement for the show, made postcards and advertised. Installing a show in a gallery downtown in a big city was a much different experience than any art show I’ve done in the past. All in all it was well worth it and it’s something I look forward to doing again.

Recent Finds

So I recently moved to a bigger city and am still finding all the best yard sale routes. I’ve had a few weeks practice now and am getting pretty good at finding the best sales. This weekend was probably one of the last great yard sale weekends, as the mornings keep getting chillier and chillier. Still I had fantastic luck and like usual met quite a few friendly people.

 

This weekend was definitely the time for strange little ceramic creatures! The one in yellow intrigued me the most. It took a good bit of internet sleuthing to find out that it was mostly likely a little 50’s Japanese import of a pixie/devil and would have originally held a trident. I was more than a little confused at first, thinking it was a child in a cat costume with real hair on it’s butt and a hole in its hand.

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This vintage Kodak camera isn’t going to be much use to me but it is absolutely beautiful and in the original box. I bought it with another, newer SLR camera for $5.

This “Souvenir of France” is likely from the first world war. It’s a little postcard with silk embroidered pocket holding a die cut bouquet and a photo of a soldier.

 

 

Tiny House Final Update

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I’m happy to announce after a year of work we finally have the tiny house finished and moved to its final location. The house was built for my parents to use as a tiny vacation house (a step up from the decrepit parked camper we had all previously crammed into). We moved it about 300 miles south to the Ozarks to stay a little piece of woods in the foothills.

After putting in most of the final touches (we’re waiting to install solar, hook up water and figure out a solution for waste water), we hosted a tiny open house. At the busiest we had 10 people inside the roughly 160 sq. ft. house. After building it in my parents’ backyard our first hurdle was to haul it to the street for the open house. We had dreaded this part the whole time building it because the alley was narrow, the backyard fenced in and the path riddle with power lines and low hanging branches. After cutting down a section of the fence, the tiny house sprang to life with ease, rolling down the alley to stop on the street in front of the big house. Aside from curbing the tires and hitting the neighbor’s tree, the first part went as smoothly as possible.

The next day we hitched up the truck and loaded up a second vehicle to lead and watch for low power lines, street lights, bridges etc. Every step of the way, from their little street into town, from town out to the highway, from the highway to the interstate and forward to the mountains, we crossed off every obstacle we thought we might encounter. Later we shared the fears we’d had (the house falling off the trailer, the house capsizing, the roof being ripped away by a low bridge, a tire off the road sending us into a ditch, etc) and laughed when nothing terrible happened.

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After about 7 hours of driving we got it to the final location. About a year ago we’d had someone clear off a section of woods and lay down gravel for the house. We pulled the house onto the spot we’d cleared. It only took two tries, which is amazing given that we had to make a turn over a 10 foot wide culvert with an 8 foot wide trailer. After the house was parked and everyone had let out a sigh of relief, my dad, who had piloted the house managed to get stuck in about 3 feet of mud simply trying to get his truck back to the road. It just goes to show you that you can work on something for a solid year with no hangups and run into the least expected problem just trying to read the road again.

We were only able to stay for about 4 days as a mini work-cation. We worked to build a porch around the house and make it seem more like home. We got all of this accomplished in April and have had a chance to stay in it a few times since. It’s a tight fit but it’s so much nice than the camper we had used before. I’m looking forward to many more weekends spent down there, enjoying the fruits of our labor.

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