Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Fused dichroic glass decal pendants: Hope and Faith inspirational jewelry

A few months ago, I introduced glass decals to a couple of my senior classes. I cut up large strips of solid-colored dichroic glass and brought in a variety of decals for them to choose: hearts, butterflies, dragons, palm trees, dogs and cats, beach scenes, suns and moons, and inspirational sayings. Many of my students are animal-lovers like me, so I figured we'd go through the dog and cat decals pretty quickly.

To my surprise, only one person included a cat and only one used a dog. And almost the rest used either hearts, beach scenes, smiling suns... and inspirational sayings. In fact, I had several people who made pendants that included a sun and something like "Hope" or "Live, Love, Laugh" underneath it.

It was an interesting "social experiment" and made me think about why the seniors were so drawn to these images. I suppose that when you can no longer travel as easily, a beach scene is a reminder of a vacation. And I suppose when your health is failing -- as is the case, unfortunately, with many of my students -- it's comforting to admire a smiling sun or remind yourself to simply have hope. Or maybe I'm going too deep with this and my students just thought the decals looked cool.

After my lessons, I had some leftover decals, so I took a cue from my seniors and made my own Hope, Faith and Sun pendants:

That pink and gold dichroic glass is beautiful, but when I purchased it, I hadn't realized that it's textured. That made applying the decals a bit challenging because they work best when they're fired onto a smooth surface. To compensate, I did a very slow firing, using 15-minute increments. It was tedious, but it worked because you can clearly see the decals.

I sold a few of these pieces at my next show and noted how many people were drawn to the sayings or the sun. I guess having an inspirational reminder is something that everyone can use. It's nice to have a little pick-me-up, especially when it's included in a beautiful piece of glass. So thank you to my students for giving ME an idea!

Check out the rest of my handmade glass and wire wrapped jewelry at Naomi's Designs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Copper wire wrapped glass cabochon bracelet with crystals

First things first: Naomi's Designs is now on Tumblr. Now, I cannot figure out how Tumblr is all that different from Instagram, but I figure it can't hurt to expand my social media platform on sites where I can display photos and links to my jewelry and website. So Tumblr, it is! If you're on there, feel free to follow me.

Meantime, I'm continuing to teach, fill orders and create! I recently landed jobs at three more senior centers, which I'm excited about. I don't want to name them until I actually start work there, which will be toward the end of April. But this is going to be a very busy spring with me teaching pretty much full-time.

When I do have some spare time and am not firing students' pieces, I'm working on my own art and jewelry. Ridgewood Market is in a few weeks and I've been coming up with new inventory. Since the same people tend to frequent that venue, I really need to mix things up and have new items in stock.

Lately, I've been having fun making glass pieces with my glass frit and molds. I'm getting much better at it and have broken fewer molds along the way. Hurray! I was getting a bit tired of making only pendants, though, so I turned the round cabochon shape into a bracelet:

I really love that speckled red, black, pink and white glass. I did not create that; the color, called Strawberry Fields, came that way. All I did was pour it into the mold and fire it. With many frit pieces, I set up the design, but this particular kind needed no color embellishments.

Once the cabochon fired and set, I treated it like a stone, adding the copper wire wrap and crystals. I then created a copper wire spiral design that frames the red glass. Oddly, it was the chain that posed the biggest challenge for me. I've made adjustable chains for thousands of bracelets, but I hadn't taken into account how slippery the glass would be. So I needed to get the proportions just right so you can hook it under your wrist without the glass slipping. I usually make the hook end shorter and link end longer, but I reversed that -- and the clasp was much easier to support and close. I should probably try this design again with a bangle band.

As of now, I think I have some really great inventory for Ridgewood. I've done very well at the last three fairs I've been in and I want to make a lot of sales at this one, too. I'm also adding all of these new pieces to my website. I have 120 items up on this date and keep adding more, so check in often. I can add up to 1500!

I just received a teardrop-shaped mold, which is going to be fun to play with. Keep an eye out for some teardrop jewelry.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Medieval-Inspired Copper Filigree Necklace

I've been called upon to do all sorts of custom orders, but about a year ago, I received one of my more interesting requests. A woman who recreates Medieval costumes planned to dress as Maria Portinari for a convention and asked me to make a version of the necklace. The painting by Hans Memling dates back to the 1400s and features a 14-year-old Maria on her wedding day. She was a member of Italian nobility and though little is known of her, she actually appears in another painting by Hugo van der Goes, where she's wearing the same ensemble and jewelry. This is Memling's work:

I often work off of jewelry photos, but copying an object that's on a painting was much more difficult. I wasn't 100 percent sure what materials were used or how each piece was connected. Even zoomed in to the painting, it was hard to get a perfect view. One of my friends, who is a mechanical engineer, took a look for fun -- and was also stumped by some of the workings of this necklace. He couldn't figure out if it was one piece where everything had been soldered together or if the black beads were a separate necklace. Again, that's the problem with copying a painting. You're not getting an exact picture (pardon the pun) like you would with a photo. You're getting an interpretation.

However, one of the great things about living in NYC is that I have access to some of the world's best museums -- and, as it turns out, this particular painting is part of the Metropolitan Museum Of Art's permanent collection. I visited the museum so I could see the painting in person and get a better read on this elusive necklace... and while the wing featuring the painting was open, the actual alcove where the painting hangs was closed for construction. I could see Maria from a distance, but could not get close to her. Damn.

Instead, I wandered around the beautiful Medieval exhibit so I could see what kinds of jewelry were worn in her day. I took notes on the styles, materials used, etc. Technically I was working. Yes, I did enjoy myself!

I still wasn't sure I had the skills to pull off this necklace, though, and was honest with the customer. I didn't want her to get a piece that didn't match her expectations. I love a challenge, but am also realistic about my skills. It's one thing to goof around and practice on my own, but I'm not going to make a sub-par product for someone who is paying.

Well, about a year went by and I again heard from my customer. She decided to go with a more simple design for her costume and was still interested in having me create one of my wire wrapped filigree pieces. This I could do! So I made her a longer version of my filigree anklet. It's definitely not a replica of Maria's elaborate necklace, but it does have that Medieval "flavor."

In the end, I didn't successfully make a true Medieval necklace, but I enjoyed being part of this project. It's not every day I get to design jewelry for a historically-inspired outfit! Now I hope that the next time I visit the Met, I'll get to see Maria up close and personal. Maybe I'll even wear some filigree in her honor.

Check out the rest of my handmade glass and wire wrapped jewelry at Naomi's Designs.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Adventures In Selling Handmade Jewelry: My First Exhibition

Before getting my glass mosaic into the Rockaway Artists Association's Studio 7 Gallery, my work was included in Independent Artworld's "Limitless" exhibition.

Independent Artworld is run by Lilly, an FB friend and former acquaintance from the 92nd Street Y, where I took jewelry classes. She puts together "pop-up galleries" around the NYC/NJ area. She invited me to participate in her October pop-up, "Limitless."

I once displayed a couple of my wire pieces in our local restaurant, but hanging glass jewelry in a shadow took some work. With the wire pieces, I could stick pins through the loops and hang the pieces that way, but obviously this wasn't an option with glass. Lilly and I spent several hours fussing with the layout until we managed to get a nice, clean look. She came up with the idea to pin the jewelry from the back, hang the chain, and then let the pieces drape. It worked!

The event was held in Jersey City, which I'd only been to a couple of times. It's actually an interesting neighborhood, with many Indian restaurants -- my favorite! It's also an up-and-coming area for galleries and artists. Still, I was a bit surprised when I learned that the pop-up "gallery" was actually being put together in the lobby of a take-out Chinese restaurant. Art and egg rolls!

Lilly had a decorating plan, though, and constructed a really beautiful space featuring about a dozen artists. The other pieces were stunning and I was in great company. As you can see from these photos, it really looked like a permanent gallery. If I hadn't told you, you'd have know idea that a take-out counter was only a few feet away!

To kick off the month-long exhibition, there was a reception for the artists, which included some live music. Lilly suggested I wear all black, so my colorful pieces would really stand out. It felt really good to see my jewelry professionally displayed along with some great art. I even sold one of my triangle necklaces!

Since we were in Jersey City, Jon and I took advantage of the neighborhood and enjoyed a delicious Indian dinner at one of the nearby restaurants. I unfortunately don't recall the name of the place, but there are dozens of great restaurants in the area. We'd love to return when it's warmer and explore more of JC.

Every artist has to start somewhere and I'm grateful to Lilly for giving me this opportunity. I admire her for supporting artists and for actually doing something to give them a showcase or their work. She proved that you can make any place beautiful if you add some art -- even a take-out joint.

Check out more of my handmade fused glass and wire wrapped jewelry at Naomi's Designs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hand-etched glass Vegan Festival pendants

In February, my friend Christopher hosted another Long Island Vegan Extravaganza (LIVE) in Huntington, NY. It was another super successful event for him and for me.

About 600 people came to the first one in February, but this time, the event got a mention in Newsday, Long Island's largest daily newspaper. 1500 folks showed up at this thing, making it so crowded that you literally couldn't walk down the aisles. I got up to get some food during my shift and had to shove my way through throngs of participants. It was annoying, but I'm so proud of Christopher!

He's always been great at organizing (his Great Gatsby-themed wedding was a work of art), but it turns out, he has a true talent for event planning. LIVE is not only hosting these vegan festivals, but is also doing other activities, like trips to Broome Animal Sanctuary. I've known Christopher for about eight years now, so I love seeing him find his calling -- both as a vegan and organizer.

As for me, "nepotism" once again got me a vendor's table, but I did well! I didn't make quite as much as I had in the first festival, but I made my second-highest payout. Not bad! I donated 50 percent of my proceeds back to LIVE; Chris then gave the money to Broome Animal Sanctuary, Lewis Oliver Farm Sanctuary and Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION).

My friend Nancy helped me at my table and of course, we met some interesting folks -- including one woman who has 24 cats. 24! Basically, she created her own cat sanctuary and has most live in a separate home that's on her property. Still, as a cat lover, I can't imagine having two dozen. Imagine the fuss when they all want food!

There was also the lady who very bluntly asked me, "So, what the hell does jewelry have to do with veganism, anyway?" I explained that it doesn't, really, but that I do try to work small-scale and use every part of the glass so I'm not wasting materials. I then joked about nepotism since I'm friends with the host. She ended up buying a pendant from me.

I do always like to have theme-appropriate jewelry for these events, so I hand-etched these vegan-themed pendants:

The idea of my pendants was to capture the important aspects of veganism, aside from diet: love for animals, nature and the Earth. My favorite is the one I did of the tree that also looks like the veins of a heart.

I used a different sort of etching technique to create these glass pieces. Instead of painting on the design with the etching cream, I first drew a design with a permanent marker. I then covered the entire piece with cream, let it sit for a few minutes, and then washed it off. The marker acted as a temporary resist, so the cream didn't cut through the coating -- and the design was left behind, sort of like the negative of a photo.

What's nice about this technique is that I can create finer lines and more intricate designs. The cream is gloppy, so even if I use a thin brush, it's still difficult to draw smaller details. A fine-point marker allows me to do things like fill in vein-like lines in a tree.

Given the success of this event, Christopher and his crew are definitely planning future extravaganzas... but he's definitely going to need a bigger venue. He really does have the gift.

As for me, I'm looking forward to the next LIVE and am constantly updating my inventory. Check out the rest of my handmade glass and wire wrapped jewelry at Naomi's Designs.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Fused Dichroic Glass Statement Necklace And Earrings: Making a glass jewelry set

Since I didn't keep up with this blog for a few months, I'm still catching you up on what's happened in my jewelry-making life. Well, last fall, my glass jewelry was accepted into Vermont Artisan Designs Gallery in Brattleboro, VT.

Brattleboro is a cute, artsy town that's known for its eclectic stores and galleries. On the first Friday of each month, there's a festival and gallery walk, where stores open late and attendees can enjoy free concerts, food samples, etc. We were fortunate to be there for First Friday in August when we visited my sister-in-law and her wife.

After scarfing down a delicious shake and fries at Brattleburger, we attended a classical music concert that was held in the atrium of a nearby mall. The musicians played antique instruments, including a flute from the 1700s. This was particularly interesting for me since I'm a flautist.

We then took in a different "concert" of sorts and joined the town's "Ukulele Flash Mob," which was held in the little park in the center of town. This was exactly what you'd imagine: about 200 people -- all with ukuleles -- played songs together or sang, as we did. It was really bizarre, but amazing, and I'll admit, I shed a tear when the group performed "Over The Rainbow" by Hawaiian artist, Iz.

We finally went on the gallery walk and stopped in Vermont Artisan Designs. The store is full of gorgeous pieces made by local artists, including glass sculptures, pottery and paintings. They also sell jewelry and I purchased a pair of dangling sun and moon earrings. Jon then said to me, "You should sell your stuff here."

Remember, this was the summertime, so I was in shorts and a T-shirt, with my messy hair pulled back. I also had a couple of stains on my shirt from Brattleburger. In other words, I wasn't exactly dressed to impress. Still, I figured I was IN the store, I might as well ask about selling my items. So I showed a few pictures of my work to the manager and she was impressed. She said that they do accept pieces from New Yorkers and suggested I send in some items to the owner. I'm all about taking chances and cold calling. And while I don't recommend "selling" yourself when you look like a mess, I do recommend that you speak up and go after a goal.

Long story short: I did, and he accepted me into the gallery! I made a few more items for the store, but wanted to have one eye-catching statement piece. That ended up being this "fingers" necklace with matching earrings:

This took me a few weeks to complete because I had to cut each strip and then make the chain. It's heavy! But I know some women who love substantial jewelry, and this is for that person.

No that the weather is getting warmer and the days longer, I'd love to return to Brattleboro and actually see my work in the store. Oh, and to see my sisters-in-law, of course.

You can find many more of my pieces on my website, Naomi's Designs.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Teaching Adventures At Maple Grove Cemetery: Making Layered Fused Glass Pendants

Maple Grove remains one of my favorite places to teach -- and I got to do so again last Sunday. For this class, I had my students make layered fused glass pendant, which are a bit more complicated than the other projects I've done there.

Saturday had been the cemetery's annual tea party, so we got to enjoy the leftovers! I had way too many handmade brownies and scones. MG's secretary, Helen, even brought her handmade clotted cream. I haven't had that outside of England and it was fantastic.

I got a nice-sized group of nine people. That's about as much as the room can fit, so we took up almost the entire table. These ladies were very enthusiastic and ready to go. As soon as we started, there was a great energy in the room.

We then got to work and I showed them how to layer pendants. First, I did a step-by-step tutorial with them, explaining how each layer needs to be balanced so it'll fire evenly. We then saw how many layers we could do, making it up to seven.

I attempted to fire a batch of piece's in the microwave there. but they all collapsed and sat in a heap in the kiln. I think maybe the plate in the microwave spun too quickly? I'm not sure. But this is exactly why I fire pieces increments; so I can check on them as they progress. Happily, the ladies were very understanding and simply chuckled when I explained what had happened, and that I'd be better off firing them at home. "Maybe we can fuse them all together and make one giant piece," one joked.

My students caught on to layering quickly and most made multiple pieces during our afternoon session. A few even made earrings from the scrap. Along the way, we had a lot of laughs. One young woman shared that she worked at the cemetery. Another student noted that this woman was the youngest in the room, while the rest of us were old (For the record, I'm 44. NOT old!). She then added, "But at least we're more alive than the people you normally deal with." I guess you had to be there, but her delivery made it really funny. You kind of have to have a gallows sense of humor while being at a cemetery, especially if you're there for a crafts workshop.

I was too busy to take pictures, but here are a few from Helen. I'm almost finished firing their pieces and they turned out beautifully, so the class was a success all around! Check out my site Naomi's Designs for more handmade glass and wire wrapped jewelry.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fused Glass Cabochon Pendants Made With Glass Frit -- And A Glass Tutorial

I've loved making heart pendants with my glass molds and purchased a few other molds in different shapes. I have teardrop and trapezoid molds on order and I also have a circle design. The simple cabochon might seem like a very basic shape, but you can do a lot with a circle! After all, our entire solar system -- and beyond -- is made of circular and spherical objects.

So far, I've made two round pieces: my Sunrise Pendant and my Planet Pendant. I created these color combinations simply by arranging and fusing glass frit in a design. For the Sunrise pendant, I went with typical early-morning colors: red, orange, pink and yellow. I suppose this works as a sunset, as well, but I think of evening colors and being more red, pink and orange. That yellow adds brightness to the pendant and gives it more of a "morning" feeling.

For the Planet Pendant, I simply combined blue, green and white glass so it looks like a continent surrounded by water and ice caps. It's not quite Earth, but similar. I've named it "Naomius" because why not?

I'd love to try making a Jupiter-like pendant with stripes or even a wire wrapped Saturn pendant. My friend Judith suggested that I make a cabochon to represent each planet in our solar system and then put them together in a mosaic or shadow box, but that seems a bit too 7th grade science fair project to me. Jon likes her idea, though, so maybe they're on to something.

In other news, I did something today that I haven't done in YEARS. I wrote an article for HubPages. For a while, I wrote for them almost every day -- especially after I left the magazine -- but it was a lot of work. Eventually jewelry and life took over and I had less time. It's a great way to get one's name out, though, and is another way to advertise my business. So I put together a tutorial on making basic fused glass pendants with a microwave kiln. I go into pretty thorough detail on the types of glass you can use, and how you can best use the microwave for this project. I also have photos of my work. I've included links back to my various sites, which helps me, but at the same time, I hope my tutorial can encourages others to take up glass fusion. It's a win-win! You can see it here at HubPages.

If you're not interested in making your own glass jewelry or art, please check out my page. Naomi's Designs. I'm constantly updating that, as well as this blog, so be sure to stop by often!

Monday, March 12, 2018

My Fused Glass Mosaic Is In A Gallery!

It's been a bit more than two years since I started working with fused glass and I'm eager to make bigger and more complex pieces. I LOVE making jewelry and my microwave kilns were a fantastic investment, but I'd really like to create vases, sculptures and larger art forms. Since I still only have my microwave kiln, I've had to get inventive in what I CAN do -- and have designed several fused glass mosaics. My hard work has paid off, though, because my piece, "Winter Frost" is currently on display at a gallery!

I made this mosaic by using clear dichroic glass, which I layered and fired multiple times. From some angles, the glass appears to be clear, but from other viewpoints, it's very colorful. I was inspired to create the piece when I saw some frost on the ground during a sunrise. I am not usually awake that early, so it captured my attention!

"Winter Frost" is part of an exhibit called "Of Women," which is at the Studio 7 Gallery in Fort Tilden, Rockaway, NY. Fort Tilden, as you may have guessed, was once a military base out in Queens. Many of the buildings are in ruins, but several have been converted into galleries and a theater. The compound is right near the beach and is in the middle of Riis Park. It's isolated, but apparently well known. I've been told the area is packed in the warmer months.

"Of Women" runs through April 8, celebrating Women's History Month. The exhibit isn't so much about women as it is about honoring female artists. True confession: Winter Frost is not my favorite mosaic. It's not the one I would've chosen for this exhibition. But once I saw it hanging on the wall under the large amethyst sculpture, I could see just how it fits in.

As you can see, Of Women features some very talented artists. The gallery itself is stunning and I still can't quite believe that I'm a part of this thing. I went there on Saturday to do my volunteer shift and really enjoyed looking at the other ladies' masterpieces.

Far Rockaway itself is kind of a pain to get to. It's in Queens and is part of NYC... but it's in the middle of nowhere. I didn't think the middle of nowhere exists in NYC, but it does! My neighborhood has a suburban feel, but we're near the subway, LIRR stop and several bus routes. It's easy to get around and takes 15 minutes to get to Manhattan. Rockaway does have an LIRR stop and subway, but you have to switch trains several times and then take a bus to Fort Tilden. The first time we went there, we took three trains and two buses -- remember, we were just traveling in Queens!. We then discovered that you can take a bus almost all the way back to our area, so that cut down on the travel time. Still, it takes about 90 minutes to commute in our own borough!

Rockaway is also super windy and cold. It's beautiful, though, and I'd love to return in the spring when it's warm enough to walk along the boardwalk. While I was doing my gallery sit, my husband spent several hours crawling around the abandoned military ruins. Yes, this is how Jon entertains himself!

If you're in the NYC area, try to check out Of Women. I have one little piece in the exhibit, but there are many memorable and provocative paintings and sculptures. It's the type of exhibit that will stay with you for a long time.

Meantime, please check out my NEW Naomi's Designs website!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Making fused glass jewelry: glass scenery pendants

For the last two years, I've mainly been working with shiny dichroic glass. Lately, I've been working with other types of glass so I can make different kinds of pieces. Now that I finally have a professional website, I need to increase the variety.

I really like plain, old Bullseye sheet glass. Bullseye is the glass-making factory where most outlets get their materials. They make every color imaginable and it's all hand-pulled. It's actually kind of cool to see it being made because it looks a bit like the artists are pulling taffy. Because it's made this way, each sheet is slightly different.

My favorite sheet glass comes from a series called "Streakies." When I first read that name, I laughed because I have the sense of humor of a teenage boy. But it's not called this after naked folks running through a field. The glass has streaks of color, which allows for depth and shading when making pieces.

The streaked glass works really well for scenery pendants. When you deep fire dichroic glass, it'll hold its shape because the dichro is actually a coating on top of the glass. So a thoroughly-fired square patch will still look like a square. However, the sheet glass melts more intensely and the colors bleed into each other. You can't quite mix them the way you would with paint, but you can set them up so they run together.

I had some beautiful scenic glass decals, so I decided to try my hand at making sunset pendants. I layered red, orange and pink glass to make my sunset sky and fired the piece until the glass was fully melted and blended:

I then added the decals to finish the scenic effect. I love the reds and oranges, but you can use blues to create an ocean scene or greens and rainbow colors to design a field of flowers. I'm not a great painter, but these scenic pendants are prompting me to arrange the glass in realistic color sequences. Most of my designs are abstract, but I've been looking at photos, as well as the actual outdoors so I can get a better idea of how to use the glass for shading. For instance, you can depict an ocean scene by simply having a blue bottom half of the pendant. However, it looks much more realistic if you combine navy and turquoise blues, and have a touch of white thrown in for the foamy tops of the waves.

Today at Stein Senior Center, I had my students play around with sheet glass. I first had them make an abstract pendant, arranging the colors any way they liked. I then had them arrange pieces in more natural color combos. I'm firing their work right now and am excited to see how theirs turned out. Once they get the hang of it, we'll move on to adding the decals.

The great thing about fused glass is it's so versatile. You can sculpt with it, use it in mosaics or use it almost as paint. I'm eager to try everything!

Check out my NEW website, Naomi's Designs, for my latest jewelry and art pieces, news and craft fairs.

Yes, I'm Alive! An update and photo gallery

So, I haven't written in this blog since September -- the longest I've stayed silent on this thing since I created the page. Oops. Well, for all three of my consistent readers, yes, I am alive and well, and still making jewelry.

I've been MIA for a good reason, mainly in that I've been working my butt off in both my jewelry and music careers. I've been teaching at seven different locations and have a couple of regular music gigs -- and even got a mosaic accepted into a gallery! It's been rewarding and tiring at the same time.

I really love teaching fused glass and enjoy interacting with seniors, but having to deal with "personalities" on the job again has taken some getting used to. Most of my experiences == especially with my students -- have been great, but I've have some not-so-good encounters with the administrative folks. I didn't expect this to be an issue while working as a private contractor, but I suppose this type of situation will come up at any job. It was naive of me to think I could avoid it just because I'm a freelancer.

There are definite pros and cons to being on my own. A big pro is that I get to experience many different types of jobs. While some people prefer being at the same place every day, I love to switch up my environments. The Atria group has been particularly good to me and has had me teach at a few different locations. Also, I make more per hourly class than I would per hour at a salaried job.

On the other hand, these gigs are flimsy and can end at any time, especially if a senior home lacks the budget for freelancers. The good news, though. is that there are always more gigs waiting for me. I'm constantly having to hustle and make calls, but you can find jobs in strange places... like cemeteries or historical societies (this one is still pending, so hopefully, more details to come).

Meantime, I'm still making jewelry -- and art! I've been expanding my repertoire to include glass mosaics:

I call these pieces "Shout In A Dream," "Skyline At Night" and "Anywhere You Go." I'm especially proud of the Skyline piece, which took forever to make. That's an 18 X 20 inch canvas, so it's enormous -- and it's made of 230 fused glass parts (about 1000 altogether, if you count how many little pieces I cut and fused).

My mosaic "Winter Frost" was accepted into the Rockaway Artist Association's exhibit, "Of Women," which is on display through April 8, in honor of Women's History Month. I'll be at the gallery for the opening this weekend and will take a photo of it hanging.

Now that I'm growing beyond jewelry, I'd really like to make some glass sculptures. But first, I need a larger kiln. I adore my microwave kilns, but they only fit small pieces. I'm saving up to buy a medium-sized table top kiln and will work my way up from there.

In order to get into the sculpture mode, though, I've been playing with different glass fusing techniques. Lately, I've been working with molds and glass frit, which is chopped glass. The granules can be fine, medium or coarse -- very much like in enamel. But you place the bits into a mold and can cast different shapes. I made these pendants using my heart mold:

There are hundreds of molds out there, but again, most of them only fit into larger kilns. I've been having fun making these and it's great practice for when I eventually mold bigger pieces.

As you can see, I've had a lot going on. Before I end this, one last bit of news: I FINALLY have a professional website. Check out Naomi's Designs for photo galleries and my online store! The site even links to this blog. Etsy has been great and I'm sticking with it, but I like having my own shop, where I don't have to worry about constantly relisting items. That 20 cents per listing doesn't sound like much, but it adds up when you have over 300 items in your Etsy store -- especially since listings expire after four months. In my personal shop, I can list up to 1500 items and simply leave them.

So, that's what's been going on in my life. Take a look at Naomi's Designs, keep reading this blog and look forward to updates on my jewelry and art career. Thanks for stopping by. It's been way too long!