Friday, February 10, 2012

"Art for art's sake is a philosophy of the well-fed." ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Well, I am now speaking to you as someone who has been paid for blowing glass!!! Thursday and Friday last week I worked at Wimberley and today, Monday I worked for Morgan Graff, a local glass blower! I am movin' on up in the Austin glass scene I would say :)  Oh! AND, after I just wrote that I have scored myself an interview at Glass Monkey Art Studio on Wednesday! EEEEEeeeeeeeppppppppppp!!

OK, maybe I should tell you about it all in chronological order...

Thursday I went to Wimberley and I had no idea what really to expect.  The day started with some drilling some holes in some lamps.  Then they explained to me that they were doing a photo shoot for this vodka company that had commissioned them to make some drinking glasses.  It is a local vodka company called Dripping Springs which had two photographers and their production manager come out to shoot a picture for a billboard and one for an add I think.  Anyway, it took FOREVER and was really rather ridiculous, there were lots of staged, very dramatic shots of the owner spinning out a plate and lots of steam and such.  Anyway... while most of this nonsense (yes, yes I know, its probably good business strategy... marketing and bla bla but oh so boring for me) I was making flowers.  Yes, on my first day on the job I was delegated to making flowers... yeah... flowers... a little color, some petals and a stem.  Tim (the owner) kept suggesting I make stems that kind of curled around but I don't know how to do that (and no one would show me) so I just made super twisted ones.  They said I did well... but I think they were kind of ugly flowers, honestly.

Friday I cleaned up the edges of the flowers, drilled more holes in the lamp shades (really big fancy ones even!) and then went into the hot shop.  Luckily, I got upgraded to making puntys, bringing handles, necking pieces and heating medium sized pieces in the glory hole.   It felt like a pretty good upgrade to me.  I was super glad not to be making stupid flowers any more :-P

On Saturday I went out to Elgin, 45 mins north of Austin to visit the barn that Justin would be living at when he finally got here.  It is called Bit by Bit Farm and is WIDE OPEN!
"everything the light touches is ours Simba" Just kidding... but it does go as far as you can see.  Its 100 acres of fields and grass!
I went out on a cold and windy day and all the horses turned out were super calm and happy seeming. Which I took for a good sign of place... happy, healthy and mentally sound horses.  Also, the stalls are 15x18 feet! HUGE (normal is 12x12)! Justin is going to be living in a bigger place then me :P
And the red barn with white trim reminds me of Sweden, another good sign ;)
Some of the stalls have runs out the back of the barn and some don't, depends on space and horses' needs.
And they have a nice big sand ring.  The only thing you can't see from this picture is directly to the right, across a driveway is a herd of Texas Longhorns... yes, giant cows with GIANT horns... Justin isn't even really a fan of normal cows... I can't wait till he sees them... I have become obsessed with this type of cow!

Sunday I went shopping for some postcards and etc and came across this Texas stuff... I thought it would give you an example of the place... 

A baby one-sy in camo... with an orange long horn on it... because every infant should blend in the foliage!
Also, every squirrel needs some underpants... otherwise where would they store their nuts?  So weird!
Well over a week till V-day and there are MOUNTAINS of chocolate EVERYWHERE!!! It is driving me crazy! I regularly want to eat it all up and go into a chocolate coma! This one is at Whole Foods so you know its good :-D

Monday morning I got woken up by a phone call from some Austin number and it turns out it was Morgan Graff, who has Glass Blowing Austin and she needed an assistant.  Her's had the stomach flu which turned out great for me (that sounds bad, but you know what I mean).  Her studio is in East Austin and in a sort of ware-house district.  This is her hot shop:
She shares the space with some women who do slumping and fusing.  They make some really neat pieces and have a great space.  Well, they have great equipment, huge kilns (below), sand blasters, polishing wheels, glass saws and grinding wheels too! Now I know where I can take some of my stuff for cold working when I finally start making my own stuff!

Alright, so because I am slow it has taken me ages to post this... I started on Monday and it is now Thursday night... what is wrong with me?  I guess I am just busy and thus tired... but the good thing is I am making money doing what I love, my horse has actually arrived(!!!) and I think I am going to get into flame working... but more on all that later! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

“Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called "walking."”

OK, it has been a long time... this is due to ALL the stuff that has been going on since last time I blogged!  In general I have:
 I named it Skarsgård the Silverado because it is kinda like my giant white polar bear... There have been some mixed reviews on the name but I am going to stick with it!  I luuuuuuve my truck!
 2. Drove across the south to Big Sky Country where they also have BIG flags EVERYWHERE!
And across "the world's most complex interchange" in Houston (I didn't take this picture but it was so HIGH up on those bridges that I felt like I could have!) I have never been more nervous or freaked out while driving a truck and trailer then I was on these roads... THANK GOD I didn't have my horse in the back!
 3. Moved into a new apartment! That's Sam at ours on the top right!
 It is a small one bedroom place, but it gets the job done!
 This is one of our two windows... we don't actually get any direct sunlight which is a bummer but maybe it will be good in the summer?
 4.  Sam started school!
 5. We attended a Scotch Whisky tasting... where I learned I am not a big Scotch person but some of them are good and surprisingly very different tasting... I think we might stick with the simple for now though.
 6.  Investigated the local hot shops! I went to Wimberley Glassworks first.  I had emailed them in November or December asking about a job and they said they were full so I was just going to introduce myself and see the place.  Well it turned into a random impromptu interview.  Where literally the owner goes "well there's our hot shop... go impress me!" 
 So, I walked into this hot shop and made a bowl.  It wasn't a particularly good bowl but it was a bowl all the same.
 So, the next week I went in for, I guess, a second interview when the production manager was in the hot shop.  So, I just hungout for the morning helping around the hot shop.  Apparently they were just seeing how I fit in and am to work with.  I guess it went well.  I ended up with a part time job!!! I will work at Wimberley Glassworks 2-3 days a week being an assistant and making little random things for the shop! Here is their website if you are interested, they make cool lighting installations mainly  I also introduced myself to some other glass blowers and they said they would call on me if they needed an assistant... so hopefully something will come of that. They are too small of an operation to be working all the time in the hotshop, just from time to time.

6. Got a hair cut! (and went blonder!)
7.  I am currently searching for another job to supplement the glass income pretty much every time I get on the computer.  I have applied to everything from government jobs (like before boo), waiting tables, working at a taco stand, Starbucks, personal assistants, grocery person... it is like I am too qualified for so much or completely unqualified.  At this rate I am going to get stuck with a job at Merry Maids... oh wait they didn't want me either... stupid maids!

8.  Finally got the truck (Skarsgård!) registered in Texas... which of course was a bureaucratic nightmare... stupid government agencies.
 but it is a pretty plate.  The classic one with a lone cowboy is sadly being phased out so this is the new SUPER patriotic one... Yay The Lone Star State! haha

9.  I have spent a considerable amount of time searching for a new home for my horse here in Austin!  I have been north, south, east and west... my brain is a jumble of farms, board costs and roads which don't make any sense.  But I think I have found a home for him in Elgin, which is just north of Austin.  They have lots of turn out and seem to be pretty low key and not a drama barn, it is called Step Aside Farm.
10.  I am also currently organizing getting my horse shipped to me in Texas from Virginia.  Hopefully he will be here next week!!!
11.  Sam and I have played some frisbee (disc) golf in the local HUGE cool park here, just a mile from our house!
12.  And, I have also taken advantage of Sam recently becoming friends with a bunch of other food loving people who have cook outs in awesome places like this!
 A rooftop... ok its the 10th floor of a super cool apartment building with a view of the capital building and a sweet pool which hopefully we can swim in soon!
 So, this is the group of cooking kids and two older dudes who lived right above the pool and decided to come down and join the party and bring some super delicious fish!

AND THE BEST THING>>>>> Tomorrow is my first day as a PAID GLASSBLOWER!!! I will tell you all about it! But for now just send good vibes to Texas! My goal is to make myself completely invaluable so they will hire me full time!  I will also try to post more... I don't think I will be so all over the place in the future and hopefully I will be making lots of cool glass and money!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away." ~ Ben Hecht

Hey guys!  I have been super busy the last little while.  First I went to Oslo to visit Rosanne for a few days.  It was great, SUPER cold but a really nice time.  Today (Monday) I have been packing and saying goodbye to everyone and it is insane! Tomorrow I fly to Raleigh to spend some time with my family, then VA to see Sam and my friends up there, AND HORSE,then back to NC for New Years Eve then on to TEXAS!! Yeah, my life is a bit fast paced and insane at the moment... But I will try to keep you all updated! 

But, I thought I should do one last post from Sweden... I don't have much to say... today is very bittersweet... and wonderful.  Is that possible?

But, I look forward to getting home and being back in life... an active member of society moving forward and all that.  Sad to be leaving the glass for a bit, my great friends and teachers here and of course the complete lack of responsibilities that come along with being a student.  Don't worry, I will see them again, get back to the glass ASAP and I won't forget all that I have learned here about glass, life and myself!  

So, thank you Orrefors!  See you again one day <3

Westward I go!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

"I don't know where I am going from here, but I promise it won't be boring!" ~ David Bowie

The count down to being home in America started a few days ago but now it is really on because I am in single digits now... pretty exciting and TERRIFYING.  I guess it is the definition of 'bittersweet' right?  I am sad to be leaving school, all my good friends here and working with glass ALL the time... excited to be back with Sam, living in Austin, Tx, seeing my friends and family and having my horse again!  A lot of complex emotions are rolling around in this body... 

Well, my last few days have been filled with graals and ariels on my last blanks.  These pictures are actually stuff I did list week but somehow I have managed not to take hardly any pictures this week...

So, here I am marvering some graals to flatten the designs so as not to get any unwanted bubbles:
 This one has the penrose staircase on it... should have done it in a nontransparent color....
 This one is 3 carousel animals going around it in pink and blue.  I tried to pick it up first but didn't get it stuck to the pipe properly and dropped it on the floor! I managed to get it back on the piece after Vegard did some running around there was a lot of reheating. 
 Here is the penrose one... can't hardly see the design :(  Oh well, I guess it was a learning experience in the long run... and it had nice straight sides luckily.
 And here is the finished animals one.  Those bubbles you see at the top of the horse are the only evidence of a whole lot of cracks which resulted in the dropping.  But with some luck and a lot of heat they melted back together and all I have are these bubbles!
 I think the swan looks a bit scary... or angry haha.

 So Wednesday I spent trying to finish up everything I liked. So, here I have both of the above graals, a polar bear graal with some special northern lights effects (sort of), an ariel, a nice stripy graal which could out live almost any natural disaster (it is super heavy and big) and of course the wonderful encalmo.  Also a couple of christmas ornaments thrown in there.
Now I am packing, trying to weigh my suitcases and figure out how on earth I am going to get everything I want to home! This weekend I am going to Oslo to visit Rosanne for a few days which will be a really nice distraction from the stress of moving home and then moving to Texas and all that entails! Also, I am slowly saying goodbye to all my friends here and trying not to be too sad... just lots of little sads spread around I think Monday will be the big sad day. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

“I've got spots; I've got stripes, too.” ~ Ani Difranco

Well, this past week was the week of the encalmos.... But it was also the week of a little snow :) Finally!!
I said I wanted to try to make an encalmo plate with as many stripes as I could... I was thinking 12... My eyes were a little bigger then my stomach in that case I think.  Anyway... here is attempt number 1:
We accidently bumped one color onto the piece where it was a stripe of another color... so it got trashed at this point.  Opps!

Attempt number 2 begins:
Here I have 5 stripes on and Marianne is making my 6th and final layer of color... which will be the center most piece.
Now we've got them all together, I am shaping and smoothing and stuff.  Anyway, it was going really well, it got huge and we ended up having to run to a bigger glory hole because even with ours wide open it was still too small.  But, at the end I was exhausted and when I was spinning to open it I accidentally let it fall back.  The edge of the lip folded all the way back and touched the bottom of the plate and got stuck.  We saved it, put it in the annealer but just to be thrown away the next day.  That was Tuesday I think.

Wednesday was cold shop and a dressage lesson.  I thought maybe I could get Pia to take a picture of me actually on a horse, not another picture of me in the mirror.  So, here I am with Vaaagner!
Thursday morning we did attempt THREE of the encalmo.  This time I was going for 7 stripes!
Above has 4 and below has 6!
Putting on number 7!
Big and smooth and stripy!
It is dark purple and an aquamarine blue alternating.
Here I have gathered once over this giant pot and I am trying to cut in a neck line before it gets too huge.  
After a bunch of blowing and hard work done by Vegard, Marinanne and myself it was finally time to punty!
Getting it good and hot so it will open to a plate!  Thanks to Vegard for doing most of the heavy lifting!
And now we have an open plate!!! It is big and heavy and I am so sweaty and tired but happy :)
And here I am on Friday with my masterpiece! I am super pleased with it... it is kind of heavy and I don't know how to get it home, but I figure I can wear it like a turtle shell on my back or something haha!  I am holding it against my body, it really is wider then I am!
I have thought about trying to make another one of these plates but go for 9 or 10 stripes but doing just 7 took around 2 hours of work... and that was three of us working hard.  So, maybe 12 would take AGES!

I had a funny conversation with Micke about the piece and it went something like this:
Micke: "Oh, this is a nice piece, how many stripes is it?"
Me: "sjut!" (pronounced huwt kind of, I don't know how it is spelled)
Micke: "I'm sorry what?"
Me: "sjut, seven!"
Micke: "Ohhhh! Seven is sju! SjuT is shit!"
Me: "ohhhhhh! yes, sju, seven not shit!!! haha"

Thursday Eva came to visit me (sadly she missed the making of the giant plate) and stayed on to Friday.  I blew some graals on Friday that she got to watch also a very interesting after school session with Marianne where I think Eva was terrified that she was going to have to call Swedish 911 because we almost lost the piece!  But it all worked out and I am so happy she came to visit.  She talked to everyone and got to see a lot of different things going on.  I will show those pictures after I have taken a picture of the graals :)

Now, I am off to bed... I have ONE WEEK left of school! I don't know what I am going to do... I have some more graals to blow up... but I don't really have time to fix them afterwards if I need to... It is a bit weird to figure out the timing of things.  Oh well, I will manage I am sure!