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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Friday, April 16, 2010

I've created gift certificates.

Gift certificates are being integrated into my business. Either posted as a class, down payment, or gift certificate, it's all about the same idea. I'll have a few listed on etsy for different prices, but people are encouraged to contact me for a specific amount.

Organize it all.

From glass to beads, and tools and supplies. I have a few containers that I really love.

I have a decent little stash of beads I like to use to compliment my own glass beads. For $10 at Home Depot I found a case to hold them in with a sturdy handle. I like to sort the beads by
the colors of the rainbow. I also like to keep them on the string. This way I can pull out the string and determine if I have enough of that particular strand to fulfill my needs for a jewelry piece. If the beads are loose in a jar, baggie, or container, how am I to know how far I can string.

I use this same plastic organizer to organize my seed beads too. And again, organize it like a rainbow. I have some spaces for the tubes, but most of the colors have been strung up using the bead spinner. I like using the seed beads off the string by pinching a row of beads, it's easy to string multiples at a time when they are all lined up rather than one-by-one.

A third way I use this organizer is for my glass rods. The small compartments by the handle are perfect for shorts, while I can place the longer rods in the rest of the space. I organize by transparent, translucent, and opaque. I am careful too to keep the ends free of sharp burs and prickly ends. This is perfect for traveling when I teach and do demos.

Again, a similar container, but smaller, and it's a double-decker. I keep all my silver beads, ear wires, clasps, etc. Also a variety of leftover beads, I use them for wiring up pendants and earrings. In the bottom are things like extra inventory and more bulky items that aren't used as often.

To further my organization skills, I keep glass jars and the lids. They are cool. I love the prego jars, not just for the size, but it means "you're welcome" in Italian. I also love the shape of the salsa jars. If you've read my previous post about making frit, you'll see why my shorts of glass have barely begun to fill these jars.

Cheep plastic shoe boxes from the dreaded walmart are really nice to organize with. I love that I can see the contents, and the lids keep the studio dust out. About $1 at the store.

Lastly, I have a great rolling storage unit of plastic drawers. I orriginally got this for traveling when I do demos and teach. It fits in my SUV as well as under my work bench and acts as support. I recently got another one for a portable office for when I do shows.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Teaching Girl Scouts

Today was my second workshop with the Girl Scouts. Boy was it fun. I love kids and beads, so life doesn't get much better than that. Well, maybe if you add chocolate.

I gave a Q&A presentation, showed my jewelry, and let them pick out a focal bead, seed beads, and cut the string to size. I assisted in crimping the clasp on and gave minimal guidance as they did a great job on their own.

I had them pose with their finished pieces.

At the end of class I handed out diplomas for the girls to fill out. It encouraged them to learn what kind of beads they were using, the tools and supplies they needed, and the colors they used.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Blowing Shards

Blowing shards is fun. I have a small steel pipe. By gathering a full rod of glass and adding frit or enamels, I can blow bubbles. The balls of glass are so beautiful. Perfect timing around Easter, they look like decorated eggs.

Here is a close-up of one ball. I used green glass with a variety of blues and green enamels.

Every time I blow a new ball of glass, they make different shapes. I'm trying to perfect that.

This is a tray of enamels, I used pink and red.
This one is Effetre brown, with chalcedony frit.
All bagged up, no dust can get to my precious shards. Now where to store them so they don't break????

I plan on trying millefiores, and using stringers to make dots and spirals.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Making my own frit

For years, I have been throwing my glass shorts in a container intending to use the for something. Usually I try to use up the end of my glass rods in a bead, but sometimes I don't need to use the glass at the moment so the easy thing to do is just throw them in a jar when I finally get around to cleaning off my bench. (I'd like to add, my studio has been reasonably clean these days. Thanks to teaching.)

I threw all the shorts in a bowl of water to wash them off and soak the tags for easy removal. I used tweezers to avoid getting any cuts or splinters.

I then organized them in colors to have a variety of frit mixes. From blues, greens, transparent and opaques or mixtures. One mix looks like it will turn out to be a nice "animal print" and another of red and white for Christmas.

I placed the glass batches in the kiln set at 960 degrees. After soaking in the heat for at least 10 minutes, I then used tweezers and wore a leather glove to protect against the heat. The glass was dumped into jars of water with ice cubes. The glass quenches and fractures into little bits.

I took the glass and pulverized by hand with a muttler one teaspoon at a time. If there is too much glass, it doesn't break into small pieces. I don't recommend using a glass, it can chip, and the glass is not compatible with 140 coe glass. I just didn't have a metal glass on hand.

I placed the glass frit on paper plates and layed them out to dry. Later I poured the frit into little baggies. I plan to sift and clean the frit after getting some screens to separate the frit sizes.

I love succulents

I've had a small collection of succulents for a few years. They've been in a pot and in a window in my studio. But now I have more thanks to my friend Kelly. Her whole back yard and front porch has pots of succulents. My favorites are, well, all of 'em, but I really love the ones with colors like orange and reds. Here's a photo of the samples from Kelly's garden. I made a few terrariums from the round glass centerpieces from my wedding.