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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Monday, June 21, 2010

Arrow Springs

I'll be there....

The Northern California Chapter of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) meets at Arrow Springs twice a year. For the past couple of years we have turned June meeting into a Bead Bazaar with about two dozen booths of glass beadmakers showing and selling glass beads and related items. Our classroom area is open to all to play. There will be experienced people demonstrating glassworking at a torch and first timers learning to make beads. Everyone is encouraged to join in. There's a BBQ and glass is priced at the bottom price break. So, come join us for a great day with some wonderful people all sharing what we are all so passionate about.

Grab their attention.....

In an effort to save my voice, some brain cells, and to communicate to other customers when I am busy with other customers, I have made some cute little signs. I've been using paper and marker and doing my best to cut out cute shapes and add decorations, but after all that, it's still just paper and marker, and they fly away in the wind even after using tape.

They are subtle, but I think they are classy. They don't scream. Sometimes if you whisper, people will hear you better.


The little signs are made of copper and I have two sizes of letter and number stamps. Read at the end of the blog entry to learn how to make them.


My next signs:
Prices for earrings, beads, bracelets, etc.
Perhaps a name tag?
And in the near future "VISA" and "MASTERCARD"... wouldn't it be cool if I punched the whole logo for the cards?




-metal sheet, mine is copper
-cutters or scissors
-letter stamps ( Harbor Freight has them for $5)
-Metal hammer and rawhide hammer
-flat surface to pound on like an anvil or metal block
-wire brush or sandpaper to clean the metal
-green copper patina, paper towel, glass jar, tongs, paint brush
-clear acrylic paint or spray
-safety items: glasses, gloves, and dust mask

1. Select the size and shape of the metal sheet, cut it if you want a special shape. Make sure it is clean and free of oils. If the recessed letters are dirty, the patina is less likely to stick. Wash your hands.

2. With your marker, draw what you want to say. Make sure the spelling is correct, and the letters are the same size as the stamp letters.

3. Punch your letters into the design using the metal hammer. Put on your glasses.
TIP: Don't punch all the way through, and make sure the letter is the right side up. You can "roll" the punch at different angles to get more detail on a corner that didn't punch very well.

For the stamps visit here.

4. Flatten the piece by lightly hammering it on the back side against the flat metal surface. The rawhide mallet shouldn't make any marks, just help flatten it.

5. Clean off the new sign with the wire brush or sandpaper.

6. Time to patina! Keep your glasses on and put on your mask and gloves. Do not breath the chemicals. It is best to do this outside standing up-wind or if you have a great ventilation system in your studio do it there. Read all the information on the bottle for instructions and safety.

Place your glass jar on the paper towel and pour enough of the patina liquid to cover your sign into the jar. Place your sign into the liquid carefully as not to splash. Leave in for 3 minutes. When ready, grab the sign with your tweezers and place it on the paper towel facing up, and let dry. If you want more patina, paint more into the letters on on the edges.

7. Polish some patina off to the point you can read the letters clearly. You can use your wire brush or sand paper. (I used my Dremel with a brass brush. It was much faster)
Leave the edges raw with the patina if you want that look.

8. Coat the sign with acrylic. I used a spray can, and placed the signs on cardboard. Wear all your safety gear, and make sure the spray off does not spray onto anything else or into your studio or home. It's stinky and very toxic. After one side drys, flip it over and paint the other side.

Congrats! Your sign is finished. Use double sided tape to stick it on your display.

Drill holes so you can hang them with wire or strung. You can also turn them into earring holders by adding more holes on the bottom.
To draw more attention, dangle a bead off it. Give it some bling. Glue a silk flower, crystal, or give it a frit border. Perhaps, if you know how to enamel, transparent colors would be beautiful.

Go beyond the double stick tape. Glue a pin, magnet, or Velcro.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

UPDATE! No Spanish Village today.

I've decided to stay home and make beads for next weekend. I should be out there soon and I will post an announcement when I plan to go.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I love my webbed toes

I was born with webbed toes. It's called syndactyly. There was a show in Bones that featured a man with webbed fingers. Ashton Kutcher has toes just like me. Hallie berry has 6 toes on each foot.

No, it doesnt help me swim faster and the only drawback is I can't wear those cute toe socks.

And this, this just looks like an infection waiting to happen. Not even an option.

At least my feet don't look like this:

My wedding ring

Thanks Gabi, I should be out in the studio making beads for a show.

Dave and I wanted our wedding rings to be special. I think I posted something on how I made his, but I don't recall sharing mine.

I wanted a sapphire as the center stone, and a vintage look But I also wanted another element, Micky. Do you see him?

The Euro shank is a bit squared off to help the ring stay centered. It works pretty well.

The side diamonds are actually sapphires.

Here is a good close-up of the finished ring. We love it.

I burned my finger

When I'm too lazy to get out my burn medicine that I love so much, this will do. Aloe works nice too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fire Retardant Fabric

As I get my booth more set up, I am having to think about how I want my tables to look. Dave, my wonderful husband, surprised me with some new folding banquet tables I've had my eye on for several months. My vision has been to make nice fitted table skirts for them.

In my research on fabrics, I thought ahead to the times when I will need to have the booth ready for conventions and they require your fabric to be fire retardant.

Now, you can go two ways to make sure your fabric is FR (Fire Retardant) . You can spray it or treat it with FR spray or get FR Fabric.

One of my questions is WHY does it have to be FR? If the building is going up in smoke, it's a given that the fabric is going to burn too. Well, yes, it will burn if it is engulfed in a major fire. However let's think a little smaller.

Fire Retardant Fabrics are used in many places and used for many things, stages, table cloths, welding. Regular, organic fabrics will burn if caught on fire, while synthetic fabrics will melt in small flames. So if the fabric were exposed to a hot stage light, welding sparks, or candles on a table, it will most likely burn a small hole rather catch the whole stage curtain on fire.

Photo: Chair in front not protected, Chair In Back Protected With Fabric Fire Gard.

This is what it says on the website:

"NO-BURN® FABRIC FIRE GARD, a clear and odorless liquid, was developed to help alleviate this problem. This non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and environmentally safe fire retardant is applied directly to furniture fabrics and other interior furnishings. Not only can NO-BURN® FABRIC FIRE GARD slow down the fire, but in many cases it will not allow interior furnishings to catch fire.

FABRIC FIRE GARD can also be applied to stuffed toys, crafts, clothing, holiday decorations, costumes, potholders and many other household items."

I have yet to find out if the Fire Marshall will require proof that your fabric is FR. I have seen that you can request a certificate from the fabric vendors if they are selling it as FR material. Perhaps carrying a small swatch of fabric with a fire proofed test on the corner could be proof enough, and satisfy the Marshall.

Here is a good website for simple explination and photos: http://www.fireretardantspray.co.uk/about.php

Now the challenge... what color should I chose?

Friday, June 4, 2010

What kind of glass?

So, I was cleaning my studio, ordered more glass and organized my glass. And I found a few colors that weren't labeled and I can't figure out where they belong or what they are called. Some of this glass is about 13 years old, had to blow off the dust. In this photo, I have one rod of dark ivory to have something to compare it to.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Teaching is fun

My Student's work.

It seems as though each class I teach, my student's work gets better. While I only start them off with some simple, little, round beads, I like to get them right in there playing with more design concepts.

Here are the results from my latest beginning bead class. Pamela and Mona did a great job.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Not sure what got into me, but I had an acorn day. All sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, and designs.

Bead on a Key

Mona, my friend and PMC teacher, as well as my glass beadmaking student, requested this little work of art. I think it's beautiful. And she bumped into me at Spanish Village over the weekend, guess what. She was wearing her new key.

Spanish Village Art Center

Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park

As jobs go, this one is pretty nice. I am my own boss, I get to be outside in the sun. Listen to the birds fly around and every so often some exotic noises come from the zoo. The courtyard is so beautiful. Full of potted plants and beautiful blooms of every color. The art is so nice, so far I picked up a few gifts for Christmas gifts.

I'm still working on improvements to my booth. While I have spent hours on making my necklace displays with a variety of fabrics, and I have some display items, I am not finished with the entire display. I'm having a difficult time setting up my hodgepodge set of tables and table covers. I plan to get some bigger tables and make some nice fitted table covers. Now to decide on the fabric. Choices, choices. What color, and texture should I go with???

So far, I've only showed three days, and they went well. I made more in three days than I would have as a Dental Assistant. And this is more rewarding. I get to be an artist, what I wanted to be as a little girl. For years, I've wanted to be in an environment like this. Surrounded by beautiful architecture, luscious plants, eclectic art, and creative people. I also get this with my other job at the medical office. They are unique people with wonderful talents, and I love learning new things every day when I am there.

Too bad it's not summer all year round.