Hello, My name is Christina Nixon Cole, and I torch my art.

I'm a glass, micromosaic and silver jewelry artist. Welcome!

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Postcards / Identity

I've wanted to design some postcards for years. I suppose I haven't because I had business cards, and as I mentioned before, life got in the way so I didn't really need them. I love postcards. They can really make a statement, and hopefully if it's a really pretty one, customers and admirers will save them for a long time, and if you're really lucky it will find a home on a fridge or two.
This is my first design, I had this vision this morning while waking up this morning.

Bottle Stoppers

Some of my favorite items to make are wine stoppers. They can also be used for any bottle that would contain anything you like. Oil, vinegar, bubble bath, holey water...
I have sold a few to some massage therapists, they loved the design because it can help them really get those tough spots.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Just after my trip to Venice Italy in September of 2001, I came home with a yearning for micromosaics. I spent hours online admiring them. One evening I decided to make one. So I went into my studio and for two days I started from scratch starting with a design, fabricating the silver bezel, pulling hand mixed strings of glass, and cutting the tiny tiles or tesserae.

The Rose was my first piece, and I wear her all the time.

Micromosaics to this day still hold a special place in my heart. A sencse of nostalgia of old art mixed with the wonders and magic of glass. I have a collection of about 20 Italian pieces. They are kept safe in a dark box. I really should have them out on display for me to enjoy.
I taught one class at Bead Expo in 2003. Boy was it a thrill to be a teacher at one of these bead expos. Unfortunately, life took a turn, and I had to pack all my glass, tools, worldly possessions, and dreams into boxes for several years. Life took a bumpy road and on that road I slept in my SUV with my dog, bike, and book bag. I wasn't homeless for long, but none the less, I didn't have a home.
After many years of my tools stored safely in storage, I have finally set up shop and ready to begin again. Starting fresh in a sense. This glass bead world is not the same as I left it nearly 7 years ago. There's a lot more out there. New tools, websites, information, and competition.
I consider myself 2nd generation American lampworker. The first generation was a group of artists that all took the same class essentially around the same time and became the first generation. I took classes from a few teachers from this group of artists, Loren Stump and Kim Osibin. So as their glass offspring, I would be 2nd generation. I have spawned a few myself. In fact, I will be teaching glass beadmaking in a few weekends at a local glass shop.

I don't teach my micromosaics any more. That is put on the back burner. I hope to save it for when I am active in that again and can teach at big expos again. I made the mistake of teaching privately in my home. She then went back home and is now teaching MY class. Of course, I don't get any of the credit. Hopefully soon, I can start my glass worldly adventures and add my micromosaic class into the mix.

Customizing my Display

One major item I have noticed about jewelry display is the necklace displays and how boring they are. They either come in black, white, gray, or pink (if you accidentally order the wrong color). I had an idea to cover my neck boards with beautiful fabrics hoping that they would bring a sense of richness to my both. My mom had some nice fabrics as she likes to quilt, so I requested hues of flesh tones from beige, peach, burgundy, brown, etc. While I aimed to have solid colors, I did add a few floral prints and stripes. A few boards managed to find a swatch of eggplant too. One always needs a darker color to display a lighter necklace.
I love colors, and leaving my booth a bland color like gray or white was not an option. Perhaps a good one for some as it may simply display the jewelry better, but it's just too plain for me. So my table cloths and curtains are multiples of solid colors. Mostly jewel tones of amber, amethyst, gold, citrine, and jade. I painted some large, lightweight frames green and added fabric over some cardboard. One frame has a screen so visitors can still see into the booth. The frames are hung from the EZ Up so I have multiple levels of display so the shopper has more to see and I have more space to display.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's Show Time.... I hope

Well, my new year's resolution is to start doing shows. I'm trying to get my ducks in a row by trying to find shows, doing research, and I also bought a book titled The Art Festival Handbook. I also joined Art Fair Source Book, an online mecca for artists who want to sell at shows.
I've got a new white canopy, all the linens, displays, inventory, etc. Now I have a home studio, husband, job, and freedom to finally put some real effort into finally doing this.

Cigar boxes and their potential

A few years ago my friend, Melody gave me some cigar boxes that her old boss had given her. I have kept my limited supply of enamels on the square one, some necklace components in another, and the third, well, I'd rather leave that one for your imagination.

I have been in love with them. They are so beautiful. I love the shapes, size, smell, all the different designs, and most of all their potential. My recent inspiration to get some more was a mixture of seeing them in the Bouncing Bead Shop, online, and at the Velvet Box's home(see older blog post).

I called a local cigar shop and got them dirt cheep. So I cleaned them up, and turned a few into display boxes complete with mirrors, and fabric on the bottom. Of course, that's not all I want to do with these boxes. I want to make purses, and bead display boxes too. I have some ideas for handles, but you'll have to wait and see.

Plant Angel

You know when you put a valid effort into something, and in the end it still doesn't work out? Well, this is what happened to a Angel Goddess Bead I made recently. She cracked! Of course, not the best goddess I've ever made, but someone would have loved her.
I never throw out my beads. In fact, I still have the very first beads I made from my very first class back in 1996. At this point, I have a few big jars of beads that are either cracked, wonky, ugly, or don't belong on the table to sell. They remind me of how much I have improved on some of the techniques I was trying to master. They do however have their special spot in my glass display cabinet so they can easily be seen by friends and students.
A friend recently pulled some out for a project I was working on. How silly of me to be protective of them, "they are not to be sold" I said. "These are part of my history, and besides, they're crap". She thought they were beautiful, how nice.
Anyhow, I have an Angel placed in my suculent flower pot to grace my studio and watch me and my friends create. At least this one isn't going into the jar.

Skeleton Key meets glass

It's nothing new to the glass world, but It's new to me. I bought some old skeleton keys so I can add my lampwork beads. I have always loved these keys. They are so artistic and come in so many shapes and sizes. I tend to lean on the side of preservation and keeping antique treasures in their original glory, so it was a tad unnerving to take these beautiful keys to the flame. Heck, if the bead doesn't look good, at least I can crack it off and start over with the key as good as new.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Visiting Ohio and The Velvet Box

My Husband and I visited his family in Ohio for Christmas this year. It was nice to see my new family as we have only been married since August this year.

I have to admit, a major highlight was visiting Jennifer Pitts and her husband of The Velvet Box. They were very friendly and invited me to come over to their home to visit. I drug my Husband and his mother with me, and they were patient and actually appeared to be interested in seeing their beautiful studio and work. They were full of very useful information, and I ate it up. I am finally in a position in my life where I can start selling at shows, so I had a lot of questions for them from how they process credit cards, to how they set up their booth.

I anticipated the visit to be fairly quick, but it lasted a few hours. It's so fun to meet other lampwork artists, as we are kindred spirits who love the flame and glass. So thank you Jennifer for your time, knowledge, and friendship.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Studio is wet

My Husband helped me finish building a wall to cut off the elements to the patio. Unfortunately with this rain, we have found a leak in the roof and a big puddle on the studio floor. Nothing bad, but a bit annoying to add yet another thing to the list of things to do.

I'm lovin' my studio. It's the largest one I've had yet. I have three work benches. One bench has two glass bead making stations. The other two benches are for silversmithing, and other projects.

My friend Lloyd gave me his old kitchen cabinets, so I created a beautiful 8 foot counter top with storage. I have drawers and cupboards and a space to roll up a chair.

Only problem is, there is not heat or AC. So in the winter its chilly, and I fear that summer will be hot. Good thing I have a radiator and fans.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Teaching at Fusion Glass in La Mesa

Wahoo! I've got two beginning glass beadmaking classes booked for the first weekend in February 2010.

My last class was at the Bouncing Bead, but they moved and can't fit me in the back room.

For more information about the class please visit:http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs083/1102292284921/archive/1102728856766.html

Getting Started.

I'm usually at a loss for words, but recently I have found them. My concern about blogging was that I wouldn't have much to talk about or even if I'd want to post or find the time. We'll see how that goes.

I guess in the past couple years, I have had to be creative in responding to emails from another lifetime ago at a job. And recently I had my story published about my wedding. Even thought it was shortened, it was a sense of accomplishment to have something of mine published.

I have been synchronizing my accounts with facebook, youtube, and etsy so they can cross advertise and I can get noticed, and make a few bucks.

So why not start the blog thing too.