Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Lampwork Glass - More Dots! Bead Class (06Feb2019) - Part 1

After almost a year out of the studio, this was Sergei's Christmas present from me.  This is also my first foray back into glass works post-baby and without carpal tunnel. (for the record, doing this without wrist braces is waaaaaay easier)

This class titled "More Dots" was the advanced bead class offered at Fiamma Glass Studio.

Above is the finished beads.  Sergei's are the large beads in the front, mine are the smaller ones in the back.  I joke that he made "him-sized" beads and I made "me-sized" beads.  You can see the scale difference in the picture below while they are in my hand.

Feilinn's beads (tiny)
Sergei's beads (not tiny)

Topics covered in this class were:

- Dot placement and scaling
- Stacked dots
- Raised dots vs Smooth dots
- Pierced dots / "Bubbles"
- Masking

I'll go over the various techniques with accompanying picture examples in my next post.

Court Barony - BRose

Collaborated with one of my favorite researchers on this.

Recipient: Bronwen Rose of Greyling, Called BRose
Award: Court Barony
Words: Gunðormr Dengir
Materials: gouache pergamenata
Source: Códice de Metz ( call #Mss/3307), image 59

First time picking up illumination and calligraphy since early November of last year (~4 months).  The hand is a carolingian minuscule.

This is a court barony given to a landed baroness who was stepping down.  If it wasn't obvious that the Barony in question was Dragonship Haven, well then I don't know what to tell you. ;)  Finished piece I believe was 7"x 9"

Greens are the wooooooooorst!

Finished piece.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Silver Wheel - Alan

I took less progress pictures on this than I would have liked.  Shading was done with the gold watercolor because on closer inspection that's what it looked like was happening in the original.  I would have liked to done more color shading.  For future works form this source, I want to make a pallet of specific paint mixes to get closer to the original.

First full scroll done by me since having a baby.  I still feel a little rusty.

FYI for someone so quiet, Matthias is a godsend with wording assignments.  He provided multiple variations on wording to fit my requirements due to the small text space on this. 

Recipient: Alan of Wytleesie
Award - Silver Wheel
Words by: Matthias Grunewald
Source: Yates Thompson 29 f.120v (British Library)
Materials: gouache and schmincke gold on pergamenata, walnut ink for pen sprays and outlining

Finished piece

Side by side with source picture

Monday, September 17, 2018

Barony Coronet - Aiden

I blame Eva for this one.

This was actually a pretty fun project to work on as it's been a while since I've done anything with leather working.

Long story short, I took on a commission to make a coronet who was to be honored with  Court Barony.  Thomas of Effingham put up with me asking a ton of questions about his idea/mock up until I had a running idea of what I could/could not do in a tight 3 week turn around.  I say a tight turn around because I was also making LARP props for myself due the same weekend and I also lost a few days of crafting due to new parent fun-times (because babies....seriously.  No regard for deadlines).

Eva let me bounce some artistic designs off her and I had a plan.  This plan (in my head at least) was going to be Jaws meets a Red Bull can.  The idea of the (sugar-free) Red Bull can design was a main component when Thomas detailed his idea to me.  I made a few artistic and logistical choices once everything was planned out.

Things to include:
- Sugar-Free Red Bull can pattern (teal and silver)
- Sharc Pit house theme (sharks)
- and inset "pearl"design using prefab rivets
- wave pattern (because sharks!)

Materials used:
- 4-5oz veg tanned leather strap, 1.75 inches wide
- stone rivets (commercially available from Tandy Leather)
- Liquitex paint
- gesso
- leather edge beveler
- leather punch
- various brushes

I had the good fortune to have a leather coronet pattern around already...and the terrible sense to decide it wasn't right and that I should make a new one and do a bunch of math for it.  If you've worked in the same room as me while I'm going a scroll layout, you know I have a hard time with that math.

General layout was going to be a"wave" patterned coronet with seven waves along the top and six pearls inset between the waves on the band itself.  I used my own baronial coronet (shown below) as a template for the wave.  Obviously my coronet is a little bit "daintier" in terms of band thickness, but I only used it for shaping.  The band length was done to I believe 23 inches with an open back since I didn't have exact head circumference.  I split the difference in circumference between my coronet (tiny noggin) and my husband's coronet (bigger noggin).

My coronet.  The front part is what I'm calling the "wave".

The wave was traced onto the back/rough side of the leather in the center.  The one wave pattern is 3 inches long from dip to dip of the wave.  From there, the other waves were mapped out laterally.  Vertically the lowest points/"dips" measured 1 inch from the dip to bottom of the coronet band.  The way this all worked out is that the banding pattern for the Red Bull can was three inches long as well. Each of the color blocks is 0.5 inches tall.

Design traced out on the rough side.
The excess leather was cut away using a box cutter and X-acto knife for some of the cleaning work.  Once cute out, the entire thing was coated in gesso as a base layer. I bevelled the inside edge for comfort and some of the waves to make them look even.

I chose gesso as it smooths out the surface and "covers up" any imperfections in the leather.  This is the process we used for leather masks painted with acrylics for our LARP events.  Normally with SCA projects, I'd use specific products used for their appropriate medium (leather dyes or leather paints for leather), but this was something I was familiar with and knew would hold up well.  After drying, the design was measured out and painting began.

Painting in progress.Yes the teal is REALLY bright.

I used a flat brush to make sure the edges of the lines were as neat as possible and used a size 0 round for touch ups.  If I were to do this again, I'd do a base layer of a light gray where the silver is because I don't like the coverage I got in the final product.  I was a bit nit picky with the brush strokes being seen, but eventually acknowledged it was a losing battle.

Next was the sharks!  I did some freehand sketches/mock-ups to see how they would look first.  Shark fins point inward to the center "Jaws" shark.

*cue the music*

Shark and fins were painted with liquitex paint as I didn't like the consistency my old (and probably bad) leather paint was giving me.  I did add it to the gray to add some contrast in the shading.

"I'm a shaaaaaark!"

Everything was sealed with a matte spray.  I used my precious stash of Neat-Lac (no longer sold to my knowledge) to seal the entire thing.

Now here is where catastrophe struck.  The last thing I needed to do was add the inset pearls (ie, go punch holes in your art).  I started punching the holes in the wrong spot with the first punch. I decided to punch them at the intersections of the color square, but was supposed to count them out from the middle of the piece and not start from the back.  I plugged the hole with the leather dot that came out of it with super glue, gessoed the area to fill in the gap and repainted it.  It's not noticeable unless your get right up in the coronet's business and look for it.

You can probably notice it because I pointed it out and the paint is still wet in this picture.

Once that was fixed, I added the decorative stone rivets and called it a day.  Thank you Aiden for mentioning your favorite color on your EK Wiki page.  It made my job easier!  

Finished coronet picture and detail of the open back:

Final project was Athena the Cat approved as she was snuggling with it while I was working on my other LARP project.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Silk painting - Pennsic Vigil tent

This project was 100% Fortune St. Keyne's brain child.  The bulk of the planning, work, sleep deprivation, and effort was done by Fortune and House Strangewayes.  I came along for a few night to help paint and add my special brand of humor to the crew.

Fortune's other works can be found on her blog "Fortune Favors".

By the time I joined the painting party, all the resist work was done so I just "colored inside the lines" as it were.  I helped with the Chivalry, Pelican, and Defense banners along with the Rose window.

Lampwork Glass - Imbedded Opal Class (05May2018)

This was our first level 2 class that pigged backed off the information we learned in the intro pendant making class.  The focus here was learning about encasing opals in glass and using them in pendants.

This followed the same process as making pendants.  The initial pendant glass used this time was a follow borocilicate glass.  The end was sealed then heated so the tube slowly filled up with liquid glass.  The opal was then dropped in carefully and the glass heated and rotated to prevent air bubbles forming in the tip of the pendant.  A contrasting color was added to the back of the pendants to better show off the opal.

This was the handout provided in the class.  It gives a quick background on Gilson opals and describes the embedding process with some neat pictures.

Gilson opals are commercially available at Profound Glassworks ( and where the class supply was from.

Lampwork Glass - Pendant Making (21Apr2018)

This intro class was taken at Fiamma Glass again.

This class differed from the bead making in a few different ways.  The glass used here was borosilicate glass (~30 COE) in solid rods.  No mandrels were used this time around.  Glass was manipulated on the rod of origin or using a glass punty (a glass rod used to transfer your work).  Borosilicate or boro glass isn't as "soft" as moretti glass so you don't have to worry as much about gravity until you have a large "glob" of melted glass.  Glass is then flattened by using either a press or by touching the heated glass to a metal plate and pressing down.

To create a two color swirl effect, a blob of a secondary color is added to the main piece (after securing a punty to one end).  The glass is heated and then the punty and main rod are twisted in opposite directions.  To get a tapered effect, heat one end of the glass blob and gently pull both rods apart.

Cold seal - Adding a non-heated end of glass to a hot piece of glass.  This created a brittle, temporary "joint" to manipulate the glass you are working with.  The finished piece can be detahed by hitting the glass sharply at the joint.

Chill-marks - A fingerprint-like impression in the glass caused by touching hot glass to a cold surface such as a press plate.  These can be removed by gently heating the piece.

These were our two pendants created in the class. The leaf shape was done by the stretching process described above and then a leaf impression press was used to get the veining.

Feilinn's pendants:

The light blue glass looks more clear after firing and setting in the kiln.  The "dots" of color in the leaf pendant didn't stretch as much as I had hoped either.

Sergei's pendants:

He had one of his "dots" on the flat pendant break off during firing.  When added raised dots, you use the same process as described in the bead making class but just do a gentle firing to even the dots to nice half circles sitting on the pendant flat.  If the dots are not partially melted on correctly, they can pop off or set oddly when firing.