Copper and What?!!

Enamel Powders
Enamel Powders

Spring is the time for adventures and curiosity. They say that killed the cat, but I’m a dog lover, so . . . here goes.

Micro Torch
Micro Torch

I bought some new toys to experiment with-this hand held torch, some Art Clay, and some enamel powders. I’m excited to see what will come out of this adventure. We make our one of a kind pieces available in our Etsy shop, Copperandglass.

Enamel Powders in Spring Colors
Enamel Powders in Spring Colors

I can use the enamels on the copper we make jewelry from, and also on some more intricate designs I can create with the clay. I believe it can also be included in my fused glass art. We’ll find out!

Baby Chicks in Studio
Studio Mates

My studio mates will keep me company and encourage my endeavor. After all, they are the epitome of curiosity.

What are you doing to welcome Spring and no more cabin fever?

 

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Desert Sand Fused Glass Pendants

Fused Glass Desert Sand Pendant Necklaces
Desert Sand Pendants

Last week I took some new pieces from the kiln, and one of my favorites were these pendants made from frit (small pieces of crushed glass) that I fired into a mold.

They are our Desert Sand design, the same motif we used in our Sushi and Square plates.

Fused Glass Desert Sand Square Plate
Desert Sand Plate

This is a combination of glasses that cause a reaction in the kiln, creating the look of sandstone.

Fused Glass Desert Sand Sushi Plate and Pendants
Desert Sand Sushi Plate and Pendants

I knew they reminded me of something more . . .

Silver Ring with Petrified Dinosaur Bone Setting
Dad’s Ring

I recently came across this ring, again, that my Dad made in the 40’s or 50’s and was struck by the similar pattern. The stone in the ring, I was always told, is petrified dinosaur bone. I love the swirls and colors of the setting.

Just some cool similarities and connections that complete my curious story.
I’m loving stories.

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Fused Glass Blanket Platter

Fused Glass Platter
Fused Glass Blanket Platter

This fused glass platter has been through several transformations. It was inspired, several years ago, by a neutral colored Pendleton blanket.

Fused Glass Blanket Patterned Plaque
Blanket Plaque

The plate was displayed on a table stand at the Downtown Farmer’s Market. Then we made a nice copper hanger for the back, and it became a wall plaque. Those presentations didn’t do the piece justice, so I put it on the back burner for a few years, always uncovering it in my ramblings through the studio and loving it even more every time.

Fused Glass Blanket Platter
Blanket Platter

I knew something would speak to me about its purpose someday, and finally. . . a search through new molds for the kiln sparked an idea. A square drop out mold, seemingly created for this blanket pattern, would create a small indentation in the center, and my Blanket Plaque would become a platter. I’m all for creating art that is practical and beautiful at the same time.

Fused Glass Neutral Tones
Neutrals

These neutral shades have always drawn me in. They are clean and calming, and can be changed up with a simple pop of color.

Fused Glass Blanket Platter
12″ x 12″ Fused Glass Blanket Platter

Just emerging from the kiln this week, and ready for spring gatherings, this is the perfect platter for fresh berries and mint, or maybe a big plate of pasta and cheeses.

Now my mind’s eye is envisioning a whole line of serving pieces with this Blanket pattern- and a set of neutral dinnerware to match; some winter white and some in the taupe and beige tones.

A set of Turquoise plates would go nicely with the neutrals too. What do you think? Could you see it on your table with a pop of color in just one of the triangles to match your kitchen décor?

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Fused Glass Kachina

Fused Glass Kachina Light Sconce
Fused Glass Kachina Light Sconce

We have a client who is a lover of art. Her home is filled with family heirlooms, over 100 years old, from her home in Europe. She also loves local art; paintings, textile art, sculpture and now-our copper and glass.

She said she wanted some light sconces for the exterior of her garage. Mike had done some beautiful copper sconces for her entry previously, with corn as the motif. (I will include those in another blog soon!) She explained that she loves Native American art and went on to describe a stained glass Kachina she had seen years ago in a bank in Scottsdale, AZ.

It just so happens that I have an Uncle and Aunt who live in that area, so I asked them to photograph that window for me. They are so good to me . . . they knew exactly which bank I was talking about, and sent me great close up photos of the window.

Stained Glass Kachina in Scottsdale AZ.
Stained Glass Kachina in Scottsdale AZ. Bank.

Now mind you, this window is over 2 stories high, and must really draw attention both inside and out in that bold Arizona sunlight. And nighttime lighting is said to be captivating as well. At any rate, our client had carried this image in her mind for years. I was so excited to be able to create my interpretation of the Kachina for her to enjoy on her home.

 

Kachina Sketch
Kachina Sketch

I started with a simplified drawing, and set to work choosing glass that would speak for the details.

I used my ring-saw to cut some of the features, stretched thin pieces of glass into swirlies and painted metallic accents.

 

Sunlit Fused Glass Kachina
Sunlit Fused Glass Kachina

I gave the clear glass texture to disperse the light softly. This was all accomplished in the first firing of 1480°.

Fused Glass Kachina Light Sconce with Steel Backplate.
Fused Glass Kachina Light Sconce with Steel Backplate.

A second firing to 1350° slumped the glass over a stainless steel mold to give it the bent dimensions. Mike made a steel back for each sconce and they were ready to hang on the home. The light through the neutral glass is just enough brightness, and the blue and amber of the Kachina are beautifully earthy and bold.

I really enjoyed making these custom lights for our homeowner, and I know she enjoys the creative process of artists in many forms and mediums. That’s a joy to be a part of.

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Treasure

Tin Type Photo of Grandma
Tin type photo of Grandma

I recently found a beautiful treasure. I mean truly- went digging, searching, and uncovering in dust and time; a treasure I wasn’t even looking for.

My Grandmother was a treasure in my youth, and now I have an irreplaceable, tangible piece of my past to add to my memories. A 6″ round, tin type photo on a convex tin backing.

You will remember that I wrote about Grandma’s beautiful copper work here. She made them with her own hands in her school days.

Handmade Copper Service Pieces
Family Heirlooms
Copper Work and Tin Type Photo
By Grandma’s Hands

My mother gave me these copper pieces when I was younger and I cherish them, but I didn’t even know this strange and beautiful photo existed.

Tin Type Photo
Tin Type on Round Tin

It is convex, and draped on tin. How curious and unique! Has anyone got any information to share with me on the use or purpose for such photos?

And just look at her face! Those are sky blue eyes and raven hair. She was a young woman who came to the desert to teach school, became a rancher’s wife, eventually a business woman and the most tender caregiver of my childhood. I am so proud of her legacy.

Copper Plate Hand Tooled by Grandma
Copper Plate tooled by Grandma

I was dreading the task ahead of me, and now I feel so blessed for the effort.

I am searching for the perfect way to display this beautiful memory now. Do you have any suggestions? Have you ever uncovered a wonderful memory that lay hidden for a long winter?

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Change Happens

Snow on Red Mountain
Snow Capped Big Red

Winter came in strong this year . . .

After Desert Snow
After the Storms

but it changed and is beautifully refreshing- challenging and awake. It’s a wonderful time of year in our copper colored desert.

2013 brought the end of a long life for one family member, and news of a new birth to come in the Spring; a reminder of the truth that life is ongoing and beyond our control.

January is about new beginnings, and sometimes it’s best not to make a plan, but more importantly, to understand and define our values and to make sure they are at the core of our decision making.

We need to understand that plans change. We don’t control life, we only control our response to our experiences and we need to be flexible, willing to change.

As we define our values in 2014, Mike and I will want to include time for family at the core of our plans. We’ll want to step out of our comfort zone and look for new ways to wake up creativity and polish what we already know. We’ll want to be willing to change and be refreshed.

Have you enjoyed the new beginnings of 2014? Are you ready to respond with open eyes?

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Handmade for Christmas

Handmade Wooden Blocks
Mike’s Handmade Wooden Blocks

We love to make our Christmas gifts by hand. I’ve been busy since September making gifts for family and friends and with 5 days left to go, I’m still sewing, and fusing glass and waking up in the middle of the night wondering if I’ve left anything out.

I can’t help noticing as I shop for Christmas, how many things we use are “made in China,”-from tools to fabric, and everything in between.

Even my feed store, my good old garden center and keep up the small homestead resource, has the labels. We have become very dependent as an economy.

Building Our Home
Handmade Home

We worked very hard through the years to teach our family to work with their hands, to be self sufficient.

Cheaper isn’t always better. But how do you get away from it? I know to watch closely in the grocery store, reading the labels. The track record for pet foods and children’s toys coming from China hasn’t been good. I don’t trust them for items we ingest. But how do we deal with the onslaught of material goods and supplies? It’s everywhere-retail and mail order, local hardware and grocery store.

Fused Glass Amber Sink on Copper Pedestal
Fused Glass Amber Sink on Copper Pedestal by Mike Dumas Copper Designs

I know that Artisans and Craftsmen are conscientious about our handmade work, that it matters to us to be recognized as not selling out to mass production, touching each product we put out there with our own hands, but what about our tools and supplies?

My goal in the coming year is to wear my glasses each time I shop, and to take more time to read labels more closely- to make long lasting decisions about my purchases, and maybe just to put more things back on the shelf; reconsider my need for the items.

I really do care about supporting our nation’s economy, and keeping my family safe. Buy local doesn’t just mean my neighbor’s goods, but my nation’s future as well.

I know I’m just one person, and I can’t change this “fast- lane” frenzy of a world we live in, but I’d like to know I can make a small difference. I hope to see more labels reading “made in USA” as I set out to be more conscious. I really hope they are out there.

I don’t mean to be scolding or condescending, I know we all need to save a buck, but I just noticed a pretty obvious change in the things I buy. Do you feel the change in our commerce? Does it make any difference to you, or are you OK with the change?

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Record Cold in Copper Country

Beginnings
Beginnings

 It started out like the infrequent snow storms we have most winters- just a dusting. We were keeping up pretty well. But the predictions were for record temps and snowfall . . . and this time they were right.

Snow on Red Mountain
Snow Capperd Big Red

 The snow is here to stay, one full week later. The keeper has been the temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s as a daily high. Those are NOT our normal temperatures.

Icicles
Icicles
Glass-sicles
Glass-sicles

Even as the snow slowly melts, it leaves imprints of wonder and inspiration behind. This is a glass project waiting to happen!

Path in snow to shop.
Path-Where

The first path forged in the snow was to the shop. Who wouldn’t want to work and be creative in this solitude?!

Inspiration
Inspiration

I know this white stuff isn’t always such a picturesque wonder for others, but in this desert, an unusual experience like this just leaves me in awe and waking up at night with more ideas for projects.

How has the winter weather affected your creative muse? Are you photographing your inspirations or just holding them in your memory banks?

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Serenity in Copper

 

Copper Water Feature in Winter
Frozen Copper Waterfeature

Winter is here. The news last night said 2/3 of the country is seeing record cold temperatures.

Frozen Morning in the Desert
Frozen Morning with Icicles

Daytime temperatures are in the freezing range here and that’s unusual for our desert home, but it happens. That’s when we learn a lesson in patience.

Woodpile
Dry Wood

We’ve gathered wood for the fireplace- nothing beats the bone-warming comfort of a fire in the woodstove on mornings like this.

Kiln Control
Kiln Control

We’ve got projects for the kiln that just doesn’t get used much in hot summer weather.

Christmas Tree Lights
Soft Light of Winter

There’s a soft glow in the winter light and it’s time to draw inward.

Warm Reflection
Warm Reflection

“When one door closes, another one opens.”

How do you respond to unexpected weather? Do you like to settle in, or do you prefer to find the masses? We hope you’re staying warm and God Bless those who don’t have shelter.

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