Monday, 28 September 2009

San Francisco

A wonderful few days to finish my time in the USA. Thursday I explored the Fisherman's Wharf area - had an amazing brunch, went on a Bay cruise to see the pylons of the GG Bridge only, damn fog, and Alcatraz and watched the sea lions on Pier 39. Friday I went to the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park - great museum, but the Planetarium show was amazing. The show was due to end the next day, after running fora year, so I was glad to have caught it. On Saturday I went on a 14 hour long bus tour out to Yosemite Park. Perfect weather and amazing scenery, it was a very suitable last activity before leaving the US of A.
I have had such an amazing trip. It has been an adventure, travelling for a month and it has been made special by all the amazing people I have stayed with and met along the way. It is an wonderful feeling, to be able to spend quality time with long time Internet friends and have confirmation that there is a real deep friendship there, that we aren't all deluding ourselves about the quality of our virtual relationships. I am going to miss everyone terribly - thank heavens for the Internet, email, forums and Facebook.
The Famous houses on Alamo Square
The Living Roof at the Academy of Sciences

Friday, 25 September 2009

Sunny Florida

I had a wonderful time in Florida last week. I was staying in Bradenton, and went out on the water Jet Ski-ing twice, in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. I don't have much in the way of photos because most of my sightseeing ended up being from the water, but we did catch a lovely sunset my last night there that I will share. I also played tourist at the Kennedy Space Centre, attending the ATX - Astronaut Training Experience. While it had a couple of hokie moments, it was a lot of fun to let my inner geek out to play for awhile. I was assigned as Commander of our mission and had to land the shuttle...
I also watched Fay make an eye murrine, and talked and sketched the process for building up whole face cane, so that will be on the agenda to try when I get home.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Beads update

I haven't had a lot in the way of glass to show lately, so I thought I'd post some pics of jewellery I made for the friends I have been staying with during my travels. I took a few quick pics just before I left...

Monday, 21 September 2009

Down on the Bayou

I had a lovely time in Louisiana last week. It was fantastic to finally get to meet Deanna and Greg in person. I watched Greg make one of his amazingly complicated murrine marbles, and Deanna and I torched a couple of afternoons. I made my first 2 marbles... unfortunately they both broke though. One cracked in half as we put it in the kiln - its a clean break and I'm going to glue it together - it turned out pretty darn round! The other one exploded - I have the blisters to remember it by. :)
Deanna and I spent a day playing tourist - took a swamp tour on an airboat, and then walked through the French Quarter of New Orleans. We saw so many alligators we lost count, and the airboat was able to take us to areas that a normal boat wouldn't be able to get into. It was a great tour, I'd definitely recommend it. The marsh area, with Alligator.
An Alligator in the Bayou.
A 'crackhead'! That's a Marshmallow on his head - the guides feed them marshmallows because they aren't filling, so they keep coming back. They call them 'Swamp Crack'.
Jumping for Marshmallows.
'Mule' drawn carriages in New Orleans.
The Cathedral, New Orleans.
Buildings in the French Quarter.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Leaving, On a Jet Plane....

Yesterday was my last full day in Phoenix with Lisa - I fly out to New Orleans at 11. Lisa has been a wonderful host and we have had a great time. We explored the Cave Creek area and played tourist in the shops up there, went to Tucson for a wholesale bead show, and went to a Bead Museum and a Candy Factory yesterday. We have eaten some wonderful food - both at home and out for lunch and generally spoilt ourselves.
I have just realised that with my last few posts being Glasstock related, I didn't post my last photos from Oregon. So, here is a few Oregon beach scenes and some pics from Arizona...

And for contrast, the Arizona desert....

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Steep Learning Curve

Glasstock was an amazing opportunity to learn from so many people - not just the instructors, but each and every participant had something to share, and everyone was so generous with sharing their knowledge and techniques. I tried to pick classes that were in areas that were totally new to me, and it was challenging and a lot of fun to try so many new techniques. I took an off mandrel pendant class with Otter, a fish sculpture class with Deb, mini blown vessels with Patty and I faceted some pre-prepared beads. I also got to try Boro for the first time, thanks to the help of the boro girls and boys who got me started. So here are my class and open torch pieces - I had such a lot of fun with them, and I cant wait to get back to the torch to work on them further.
My first 2 off mandrel pendants from Otter's class
The last pendant from class, and my first real implosion, which I did at open torch that night.
I made this one at open torch too - I was very happy with the shape.

A close up of my implosion pendant. Watching the boro boys make marbles paid off.

This was my last vessel for the class - after struggling with the previous 2, I made the walls thicker and managed not to blow a hole in the side.

The hummingbird I made in Deb's class. Originally I placed the beak too high - I had to point out I have no real idea what a hummingbird looks like :).
I was happy with this little guy as my first fish, but I don't like the way the Psyche glass has reduced, or the way it affected the purple. His lips look awesome, but the rest of him is getting etched when we get home!
Fishy number two
I made this fish at open torch the next night, while walking someone else through the process. Teaching someone else helped me remember the steps, although I did accidentally put my hummingbird tail on the fish, before I realised.... I just twisted it around the right way - no harm, no foul. :)
My first ever Boro - had no idea what the colours would do, and luckily the red struck in the kiln. We all thought staying on the mandrel for my first foray into boro was a good idea, but I actually found the pendant I made next easier. I was really happy with the construction - unfortunately the colour I thought was black for the back was not, so the dots got a bit lost in a similar colour. Still I was pretty stoked - I took a new skill and applied it to boro my first trip out of the gate. I have a lot of beginners luck - not sure my next effort will work so well. I'm not even sure I can melt Boro on my Piranha with 1 oxycon......
The grinding class was fun, but it showed up a lot of issues with my encasing - next time I'm planning on faceting anything, I will be more careful with every layer of glass! I'm going to look into lapidary clubs when I get back home - this is a great affect, but the grinders are NOT cheap. Ouch!