The Pillywiggin Workshop has been in full swing. First getting ready for the Winter Fantasy Art Show, then the holidays. We made ornaments, bottle chimes, gourd snowmen and new this year, fused glass lanterns. As you can see, Mother Nature provided the inspiration for this lantern & it was the first to sell. I shared photos of it on our Pillywiggins Facebook page prior to the show. Our friend Sue saw the post, arrived early & made a beeline for the lantern. Thank you Sue! I love knowing where our creations will live. We have pieces in Maine, Florida, Colorado, Oregon & a few in Germany! But to me, it's extra special when your work belongs in a friend's home.
The pieces below (shown under construction) are the first 2 plates of what will be a 4 plate series. We made a 10" version for Grandma Pillywiggin and a 7" version for Aunt Junie. We'll be working on spring & summer plates next to complete the series. Mom & Aunt Junie are the official "Beta Testers" for Pillywiggins Garden. LOL Over the winter we'll expand on the theme to create a collection that includes plates, lanterns, wall panels, ornaments & more. Stay tuned!
The weather was perfect for safe holiday traveling. We spent Saturday, December 14th with Grandma & Grandpa Pillywiggin and Alma VFW Post 1454 honoring our Nation's Heroes on Wreaths Across America Day. Each year, volunteers gather to place a wreath on every Veteran's grave in the Veteran's Section of Riverside Cemetery in Alma, MI joining many others across the USA.
VFW Post 1454 Honor Guard
(That's Grandpa Pillywiggin on the far right.)
Like most families, we traveled with our "kids" over the holidays visiting family & friends. Our family Christmas is a weekend-long event held at Grandma & Grandpa Pillywiggins farm. From the U.P. on down, everyone gathers at the farm, including the furry members of our family.
While we were downstate, I made a run to Delphi Art Glass in Lansing to stock up on glass supplies. I found this gorgeous piece of specialty glass that I could not resist. The photos above were one sheet of glass that I had split in half for easier transport. I'm not sure what I will do with it yet. For now, I'm happy just to gaze upon its beauty.
We spent Christmas Day at home with plenty of entertainment watching our kids open presents from Santa Paws. Jason & I very rarely go out for New Year's Eve but we made an exception this year. We made reservations at the Torch Lake Cafe in Eastport, a very short hop from our house. Dinner was excellent but we were there to see our friend Joan who was performing with her bandmates Yankee Station. It was our first time seeing them live. They were absolutely fabulous!
Now that the excitement of the holidays is over, it's time to enjoy the simple pleasures of winter. Our favorite winter pastimes include....
Snuggling on the Couch
(Yep, I'm somewhere under that pile!)
Daydreaming About Spring!
With glass, I still consider myself a beginner. There is so much to learn, so many techniques to master, interesting projects to try. I'm a member of several glass art groups online. They're a great place to find inspiration & helpful tips from those in the know. After admiring some incredibly beautiful lantern projects online, I was inspired to try a few myself. I have to say, I was thrilled with the outcome of our first lantern - a Christmas gift for Grandma Pillywiggin.
I wanted a different design for each panel but I didn't want the finished project to look like a hodgepodge of mishmash ideas. So, I chose a theme and used repeating complementary colors on each panel. A wintery theme was perfect because
To make the snowflakes, I prepped the casting mold with glass separator, a must or the glass will stick inside the mold. This mold makes 2 different snowflakes. I found out during this project that one is a slightly larger than the other. I filled the mold with medium glass frit in translucent aqua & 2 shades of translucent turquoise. Frit is crushed glass available in powder form & in various sizes ranging from fine, medium to coarse. I used medium frit to reduce bubbling. Bubbles can be cool but not for this project. Bubbles would make the snowflakes appear slightly cloudy. I wanted them as translucent as possible.
Creating The Panels
I used irridized clear glass for each panel. I cut the 3 side panels first before I discovered I didn't have enough glass left for the door. Oops... Time to design on the fly! I had a piece of rippled irridized clear that was similar but different enough to stand out. Luckily, it was the front door panel so my mismatched glass became a "cool design element" instead of the odd-man-out.
I used a single layer of glass for each panel. Anything thicker would not have fit inside the frames. I also had to keep my designs away from the edges about 1/4" on all sides. Other than that, the panels can be decorated any way you'd like. I used scrap glass from other projects to decorate mine, trimming & playing with the pieces to create birch & pine trees. Then, I added details using black stringer and a mix of opaque, translucent & dichroic frit.
I managed to squeeze all four panels onto 2 shelves - one for each kiln. We programed the kilns for a contour fuse (about 1375F) to slightly round the edges while retaining the raised texture and kept our fingers crossed for the next 13 hours.
It worked! When I cracked open the kilns the next morning I broke into the happy dance. I was too nervous to watch Jason insert the panels into the lantern but he pulled it off without a hitch.
This was a fun project with endless possibilities.
My mind is awhirl with lantern designs.
More pictures & posts coming soon!
Christmas morning, 26 degrees but the sun is shining. We ventured out to snap a few photos for a holiday greeting online and...
We were photo-bombed by a curious little chickadee!
Now that's a Pillywiggin Christmas!
Happy Holidays & Warm Wishes To All!
Love, The Pillywiggins
Greetings! My name is Julie. I'm a bookkeeper by trade, an artisan by choice & the author of this blog by default. :)