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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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Barnacle Bead Tutorial......COMING SOON


I'm working on my first tutorial, and it's going to be jam packed full of info. What's fun about making a bead representing the sea is there is so much life in the deep blue, a million beads can be made from a million artists and not one will be the same. I will be demonstrating a variety of inclusions and condiments that are both well known and some not so common ideas. I'm not finished with the photo shoot, but I have started on some editing of what I have. Don't worry, I plan to have a splash of color added in there too.

OK, so, I need testers and critiques of the tut. I haven't ironed out the details yet, but I will give the tutorial to a select few people. I need newbies, as well as experienced lampwork artists. What you get out of this is a free tutorial as well as submitting your beads for the gallery section of the tutorial. Your name and website or blog will be listed next to your photo(s). If you are interested in being a tester, please send me an email to me. I will then email you a response with some details about your end.

The tutorial is not ready, I need a few long days to focus on it. I hope it will be ready for testing in April and ready to launch within a week or two after that.








Monday, March 15, 2010

Ring Cigar Box Display - Free Tutorial

While working on my booth I have been coming up with some fun display ideas. For displaying my rings, I did a quick google search and found a cute cigar box display. I thought this would work well with the supplies I have.

While I have finished rings of various sizes and designs on the left, I have added some side compartments. One is for the glass cabs, and the other is for unfinished rings. The custom rings can be glued with 5 minute epoxy. An alternative use can be used for matching beads, or more rings.

Here is how I made the box......


INGREDIENTS:
cigar box, fabric, padding, spray glue, hot glue & gun, pen, scissors, wood, saw, rings.

1. Select your box and if you want divided trays, cut to fit and file the edges.

I bought the wood at the local Home Depot.
I found a variety of beautiful cigar boxes at a local cigar shop for only $1 each.








2. You can see that the dividers are temporarily placed to see if they fit.

Select some fabric that would create a nice background for your style of jewelry and rings. I chose a beige faux suede. (The runner up was a shiny crushed velvet.)







3. Measure your cigar box to see how much fabric you will need. Each pleat is about an inch. So if your box is 6 inches deep, double it to 12 and add another 12 inches. Because you have to add a few inches for each pleat.

4. Cut your fabric and padding. I used some recycled padding from a bed spread. Thin foam would work too.





5. Use spray glue to attach the fabric and padding together.

6. Trim the edges so they are straight. This will make it easier to make even pleats.









7. Using a hot glue gun add a thin stripe of glue between each pleat on the padded side. Don't add directly in the crease, this would create a sharp crease, and we want it fluffy from the padding.

8. Add a dot of glue on each end of the fabric side deep into the fold. Try not to get the glue where it will be visible.
It's up to you how many pleats you want in your box. Mine has about 15 pleats.

9. Trim the edges so they are straight and fit between the the wood you just cut to size.

10. Hot glue the fabric, wood, and wood dowels (molding). Simply zig-zag a line of hot glue for the fabric. Add a small bead of hotglue on the bottom of the wood, as well as the molding.
(The molding covers the unfinished look of the pleats.)

11. Using small swatches of fabric, make some little pillows for the boxes on the side.

12. Label and price your rings.



For an extra bonus, use the inside of the lid to your benefit. I have added mirrors, or you can add a nice, big, eye-catching photo of your rings. I have also thought of adding some hooks to the top lip so I can dangle beads, or necklaces, or earrings, or charms, etc.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Protecting Yourself- Liability


In furthering my career in glass, I have been working on a number of aspects regarding safety for my students and customers, liability protection, and in particular for this blog entry, incident reports.

While searching for liability insurance, the insurance agent suggested having an incident report - just for extra measure. And also take photos immediately even if you can not see the burn, or the cut is too small, or if their ankle does not look sprained from a fall. One never knows if that burn will blister, the cut get infected, or the sprain is a break. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst???




In a recent google search under "incident report", I found a number of pdf and doc files that I downloaded and compiled into my very own document for my own use. I would like to share my efforts for anyone who may think they could use it.

***** I am not a Doctor, Lawyer, or anything of the sort, so I release any responsibility or liability from sharing this form with the public. I strongly urge you to do further research and consult with an Attorney or your insurance provider to ensure you are protecting yourself correctly. Make any necessary changes to your document. You are taking the provided document at your own risk. By downloading this document, you automatically agree to assume all responsibilities deriving from your use of this document. (Hey, maybe it is overboard, better safe than sorry.)

Also, If you have any comments, critiques, suggestions, or concerns, and especially any compliments, please feel free to comment or email me. TorchedArt@gmail.com

****Incident Report File****

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Glass Campus Website


In doing further research recently for teaching my lampwork classes, I have discovered many things. One in particular is this website called Glass Campus. They provide a wealth of knowlege for all kinds of glass including stained glass as well as lampwork. Another aspect they focus on is tutorials and how to fix equipment like your kiln. One page I especially value is their Forms page. If you search for information about liability release forms, many artists suggest this, but this website provides it in pdf format. At least this will give you a good idea of where to start if you need to create your own. It provides a number of points to focus on if you are going to teach. They also include files on class evaluation and consignment agreements. Their forum seems to have a fair amount of traffic worth taking a peek at as well.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kilns and ovens

I am in the market for a new kiln. One that I can easily travel with, and something that will work well for teaching. I figured posting something about kilns would be nice because I had a student yesterday ask me about kiln choices. A quick google search brought me to this website.

I have the Aim kiln, and it has served me well for about 10 years now. I love how reliable it is. Arrow Springs fixed a small problem for free. I have an external digital control hooked up to avoid an more over heating. I believe they come with a digital control installed. Well worth it. However it is not easy to move, and I have to rely on help to get it in and out of my car. I need something lighter.


One aspect in general for buying a kiln is what are you going to use it for? Strictly for Lampworking? Or do you want to fire clay, PMC, Fusing or Slumping glass, firing enamels, granulation, or burn out for lost wax casting.

Some requirements for my travel/teaching kiln are: easy to carry by myself, digital kiln control, plenty of insulation so I can unplug and go, front loading so the mandrels stick out (easy tagging for identifying student's beads, and I can easily grab the mandrels to move them over to make more room), double door, large enough opening for bigger beads.



I suggest visiting Arrow Spring's Website to see their line of kilns. They have a fantastic reputation. And the price is right for a beginning beadmaker.


One more thing to consider is how are the beads or glass going to be placed inside the kiln? When the beads are first placed into the kiln they need to not touch anything this includes the walls, floor, fiber insulation, and other beads. Why? Because the bead may be soft or tacky and it can stick to other elements. It really sucks if you stick a bead to another bead, then you lose two beads in one shot. Once the beads have in a sense "chilled" out, they then can be stacked off to the side to make room. At 960 degrees, the beads are not tacky any more and should be safe if they touch.


Here is an image of a nice rack for the right size kiln. It can be found at Frantz Art Glass. For $16

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sharps container, Safety



I am very concerned about safety especially for my friends, family and students. I would feel terrible if someone got hurt due to my negligence.

So.... I have a sharps container. Do you? When I have glass that needs to be thrown out, I at least try to put it in a box or jar. Think of it this way, if the sharp shards and dangerous strings of glass are loose in a trash bag or garbage can, this can be a potential risk to the person or people that will handle the trash. You know, when you grab a trash bag and throw it in the garbage can, sometimes you take your hand and push on the top to make it squish into the can. Imagine that loose glass going right through the bag into your hand. Ouch! And what an unpleasant surprise.

So, I have jars and when full I screw the lid on and at least the shards are in a container.