Thursday, May 26, 2011

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." ~ Billy Wilder

OK, remember these from the other day?  Well, my camera was charged and ready to take pictures again today!! So, here they are (plus songs they remind me of):
Shiny metallic inside!! 
 And you can kind of see the stripy stripe I was going for in the middle.. next time it will be better I am sure :)
 And the Sweet Briar plate:
 "Sweet you rock,
 "sweet you roll,
 "sweet like honey to my soul."
 I mean, who doesn't like Dave Matthews?!  Here is a video for that song: Crash Into Me.

 Remember all those wineglasses I made a while back with Sigrid?  Well, it turned out to be a BUNCH!  So, I popped the tops off and then went about decorating their stems in different styles.
 This is one is the grippy indents that you see in riding crops or golf clubs or something like that.
 Three, even, straight lines going straight down (kind of hard to see).
 And spirals around, as if there is string wrapped around the stem.
 This is so you can easily grip your wineglass full of  Gew├╝rztraminer while eating your fried chicken.  I read in The Wine Bible, while taking a class at SBC, that they good well together and I totally agree!  The only problem was greasy fingers... these wineglasses are the answer to an age old, wide spread dilemma!
"Drop dead legs, pretty smile..." Van Halen (youtube). 
Now I am officially done with the semester end project! And, I am pleased with how it came out... not everything is perfect but all in all pretty damn good :)

Today I worked in the factory in the morning blowing some whiskey glasses.  Even after all this time they are still really hard! I think I got a few good ones, I will see how wonky they look in the morning I suppose...

In the afternoon I went to the cold shop where Rebecca helped me set up a photo shoot for my glass.  It is nearing the end of the school year and I need to prioritize and clean out my cupboard.  So, I took pictures of glasses that I like and won't be taking home with me and some that I like even more and will be attempting to take home with me!  She let me borrow some cardboard backgrounds and a tripod and I sat outside most of the afternoon taking tons of pictures.  I think they turned out well and since you have seen all the pieces over the past year I am not going to feature them again.  But, I do plan on fixing up the pictures this weekend and will maybe show you some of the best shot ones.  

I am not making any promises though, this Saturday is the exhibition for the graduating 3rd years, the Art Glass students and then lots of celebrating... So, I am not too sure I will be up for doing a whole lot on Sunday but I will try! Don't worry I will take pictures of some of the pieces in the exhibit :)  And (!!) Friday is International Food Day in Nybro. I am going with Sigrid, Vegard and kids to enjoy free, hopefully delicious food!!! I can't wait :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"This too shall pass..."

So, back pain again... YUCK!  Looks like I over did it yesterday :(  It really felt a lot better though! Today it has gotten increasingly worse... not fun... I guess I will have to be calm tomorrow too... uhg.  The good news is that I have TONS of cold working to do so there is that to distract me from blowing I suppose.

Today I did hobble to school to see the pieces I made yesterday, only to find out my battery was almost dead on the camera and I managed to get these TWO pictures in!  Here is the encalmo bowl with a stripe of solid color on the bottom, a stripe with stripes in the middle and a clear rim... See? It is exactly how I described it! haha.  The inside is metallic which is pretty cool but the camera didn't last that long sadly.
 And here is my Sweet Briar plate! Pink and green a bit swirled... which I def did on purpose!  I like it anyway and will probably keep it because I like the colors... I didn't pick it up though now that I think about it... it might have a crazy back side!

So, today I have watched more Harry Potter... my brain is soon going to be filled with HP mush (only #7, part 1 to go) and ate the rest of my gyro pizza!  Not too bad of a day except I couldn't move around a whole lot... tomorrow will be better! I can feel it in me bones!  :)

On a completely random note I have some kind of exciting news!  I have lightly followed this yoga guy's blog called Yeah Dave for a long while.  He has a book (which I keep meaning to buy) about living in the moment, chocolate and wine, music and life philosophies.  I like it because his message is serious, he seriously believes it but he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously which makes it easier for me to like him.  I am not so good at listening to other life philosophers because I always feel they are so pretentious.  He does the Yoga for Foodies thing which has been featured in the NY Times and held alllll over which sounds like tons of fun to me.  So, he has this thing where each day you should find something Funny, something Beautiful and something Delicious and asked his readers to send in a picture of one of these moments in their life.  He was going to pick the best picture for a winner of chocolate and feature many of the other pictures on his webpage... I didn't really think of it and sent in this picture on a complete whim:
I took it one day laying in a field sun bathing on one of the super warm first days of spring, I've posted in here before.  Well, after some emailing back and forth, talking about the picture, finding out that Yeah Dave is supposed to come to Stockholm in the fall (!!) I got email saying that I was a finalist and would have a permanent spot on his webpage! I didn't win, the winner was a cute picture of a dog next to a computer, but I did get a really good coupon to the chocolate site!  It is called Vosges Haut-Chocolat and has all sorts of super delicious looking things (don't click on the link unless you are prepared to be VERY tempted)!  So, I am currently trying to figure out what to get with my coupon... maybe a bacon chocolate bar and some cake mix?!  I'm not going to say I'm not drooling already.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around." ~ Anna Quindlen

Hello world... sorry I have been MIA recently.  I hurt my back on Thursday (it is better now) and that made me either want to lay in bed eating chocolate and pain pills while having a Harry Potter marathon or be outside enjoying the perfect weather.  Neither of which lead to much blogging, not that there was a lot to write about really... I have summed it up in about a paragraph! haha.

So, here is whats been goin' on:

On Wednesday I worked with Rosanne and made some wineglasses for the semester end project:
 The tops are blown into a mold and then I attempted to make straight stems on them for future carving.
 "and she knocked me out with those American thighs!"
 "she's got legs and she knows how to use them..."
 The last one on the right here was a complete mess up but led to making a sort of marble stem so I saved it for throwing away later haha.  I kind of like it, kind of different... completely ugly!

Thursday I worked all day with Sigrid making more wine glasses.  She had found the perfect shaped mold and we just made and made and made and made.  We even used some of the factory glass which was super shiny and sparkly (kind of like the Twilight Vampires, anyone else excited for True Blood to start?!?) and it felt like you were making wine glasses out of butter.  It was AMAZING!! I am definitely going to make some more with that glass!

Thursday night I went for my usual jumping lesson and that is where I hurt my back.  Don't worry, I didn't fall off or anything like that.  It was stupid, Poseidon jumped a fence weirdly (he kind of bucked while going over it) and somehow that made me pull a muscle right in the arch of my back on the right side.  I am so annoyed because it was not the most absurd jump where I thought I might fall off (there were a lot of those that night, maybe too many) because he flew through the air with such force and lack of grace, it was a mostly normal jump for him!!  My back didn't really start hurting until I was driving home and I guess finally gave it time to cramp up or something.  By the time I got home I could barely take my shoes off so I climbed directly in bed with an ice pack, pain pill and Diam icecream cone.  I emailed Val, my physical therapy doctor friend, who said I would live (thanks Dr. Val!) and stayed in bed for a long time.  No, I got up and moved around some on Friday, but it was similar to a 100 yr old person moving around... not too fun or fast.

Saturday I went to the open house they had in Orrefors with Kirsten, Vegard and Sigrid and their kids.  It was really nice to see the town full of people (sort of full) and all the shops open and they even had the masters blowing!  So, we got to watch Stephan and Jan blow their own things which was nice and interesting, we see them everyday blow things for the factory work.  When we walked in they laughed and said "can't stay away?!" and we laughed and said "well, theres not much else to do!"  Anyway, this is Jan, he was master here in Orrefors at like 18, the youngest master to date.
 Everything with him is so smooth and fluid... and he has magic little hands.
 This is Stephan helping him.
 Oh and we also had lunch at the Vardhuset (the Orrefor's place to eat traditional Swedish food lunch) and got stuffed on sausages, amazingly good bread, potatoes and chicken, brown sauce of course and carrot cake!
 The tiny little Smalands Delicateessen was open and giving out samples of sausages, spreads, breads and all sorts of good things that those fancy little food stores usually have.  I had never been in there and really enjoyed all my free samples :)
 I love the classic glassblower picture, all the angles and everything... I hope one day to look that cool and at ease... guess I have to log another 30 years or so...
Saturday evening was a BBQ in Thomas's yard with the kids and even a croquet game!  It was fun and amazing weather which was really nice.  Thomas also luckily lives right next door so I didn't have far to walk :)  Later we went over to Sigrid and Vegard's to play monopoly but never did... just drank and talked and stayed up way too long.  I am enjoying getting to know Sigrid and Vegard more out of school... makes next year less boring looking with so many of my friends leaving!

Today  I worked with Vegard all day in the factory.  We started out with him making with water decanter which he made a mold for which is super difficult.  Then we went on to one of my ideas.  It was a bowl with a color stripe at the bottom, a striped stripe in the middle and a clear stripe around the rim.  Sounds simple enough right?! haha, it was not my best planned piece.  We ended up doing a true encalmo which is not my forte and I made a big mess which took FOREVER.  But, here were my instructions, nicely laid out for me at my bench:

Yes, some other people think that looks like alien writing also... its not just you.  So I pulled some color into stripes to lay out for the striped layer of the bowl and here are my tools:
 At the top we have a "P divider" as they call it here, but that is how they say Pi it turns out... it tells me how long something has to be to reach around the circumference of whatever fits into the claw like end.  To the right of that is a cane cutter, you lay the cane over the blade, one end up against the triangle sticky up part and hit it with another blade and you get the same length canes each time!  Here is a close up:
 So, underneath all of it you see some striped and clear stripes which I then laid in a row to pick up on the hot bubble.  This sounds simple enough but in our attempt to keep it super simple we had to try 3 different ways to get the stripes hot enough to stick to my glass bubble! First we put them in the annealer, then used a flame thrower on them and then finally had to put them on this super heavy thing and heat them in the glory hole... but I finally got them on there!!  I made the bowl, got it in the annealer and tonight I don't really wait in excitement to see it tomorrow... more dread of just how bad will it be! 

Here are the wineglasses I made with Sigrid on Thursday...they are all so similar and PRETTY!!!  I can't wait to get the top off the glass to really see how it looks :) 
 This one has a few strings of colors we used today, white, turquoise (called turkis in Norwegian, pronounced similar to turkeys which made me laugh... I am so considerate), pink and green (I made a Sweet Briar plate today). 
 After school I joined Martin, Bjorn and Kresten for a pre-gym kabob!  I had thought we were going to my favorite place in Nybro but we stayed in Orrefors and I accidentally ordered a pizza kabob but it was GREAT anyway!  It comes on a thin pizza with a little bit of sauce and cheese then shaved gyro/kabob meat, topped with crunchy fries and dollops of garlic sauce!  I ate half and saved the other half... but I am not too sure how to rewarm it without making the fries all gross... I guess in the oven?
Now I am getting ready for bed and relaxing.  My back is much better, I can feel a bit of an ache in it now after a long day but it really held up all day! I think I am well on the mend thankfully!!! Hopefully this Thursday's lesson will be a little more calm and sane... maybe I can get someone to video me one day so you can see the crazy/awesomeness! But for now... bed!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Diamonds are a girl's best friend!"

 It is kind of hard to see from this picture but for the past few days we have had some super dark clouds right against some really white ones.  It is making for a really beautiful and dynamic sky, and is a nice contrast to the lime green trees and super red houses.  This is my house with the pear trees in the front yard in full bloom!

But, in school for the past few days in the cold shop I have been working on a traditional diamond.  It is a requirement for the first years to make one in the cold shop and it always leads to lots of complaining because it is boring but usually very nice results!
First you start with a big blob of glass as shown on the right... 
 Cut in the 6 big facets which will come to a point, then the 6 that round the edge to make it not a pyramid.  
 Then if you are like me you keep adding facets until you are bored.  I forgot to count... but I think I have 32 or so on my diamond.
 Which makes it quite nice and sparkely and I LIKE it!
I have big plans for it... OK, not really, I am just going to smile and place it in a window sill so I can watch it sparkle and make rainbows and think fondly back to my first year here at Orrefors and how we all have one.

Wow, that was much more sentimental then I had originally thought... but it is true.  Next week I have to clean out my shelf at school one last time and set aside the things that I truly am going to finish and keep and chuck the rest.  I talked to Rebecca and she is going to help me photograph some of my pieces which aren't going to make it back to the US.  It is kind of daunting... guess that means I better go to sleep so I can do it!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." ~ Anton Chekhov

Don't worry I haven't dropped any glass recently, KNOCK ON WOOD NOW!, but I just liked the quote.  This post has tons of glass for you guys! Just to prove that I do more then watch weird European shows and drink away my weekends!

So, in the last few weeks of school we have free production, we were supposed to turn in some sketches of what we wanted to make so the teachers could help us plan and get organized.  I turned in a sketch of a wine glass with a tulip foot and stripes, a BIG bowl with different colors layered in it with a matching big spoon and a design for a water pipe.  I know, typical, but I can't leave school without making one, that would just be weird.  Hopefully they will all work out!

 We are also all still working on some pieces for our end of the semester projects.  I made this big plate remember?  Well, the colors didn't work out too well so I thought it could use some excitement.  Over the weekend I finished cutting out my Escher design and it is finally ready to be sand blasted!  The 
"B"s on it are for black so I would remember where to cut away the tape and where not too!

 And on Friday I blew up my ariel piece!!! It turned out really nice I think:
 It had the 3 firework sort of designs on it, which got a bit distorted but you can still see all the bubbles!
 I will try to find another way to photograph it so that you can see the bubbles better, it was a bit hard in the factory.
It is super thick, but they are supposed to be apparently, but look it even has it's bubbles in the bottom!!!
 These are the pieces we made practicing doing the overlay bubble and trapping air on purpose:
 It was really interesting to see how the bubbles changed and in some places disappeared the more you worked with the piece.
 This bowl turned out really nice, the bubbles are pretty even and straight!

 Here is Vegard's work (which I helped keep warm) with the ariel!
 His actual ariel turned out kind of bad, we couldn't get the bubble over it easily because it was such a long piece but the color turned out really cool and the effect is still quite nice.  I think he might throw it away though...
 Here is the fish & fowl plate after sandblasting!
 Then I pulled all the tape off!  It is almost finished here, but needs a few more details to be done with the engraver.
 Rosanne and I have still been diligently working on her project piece, the tulip vase/plate.  We got pretty close yesterday with this piece:
 They are nearly the same size, tulip shaped and even connected.  So, today we just tried to use some color to make it better.  It did not go well! We didn't get anything accomplished and ended up very grumpy and frustrated.  I told her that tomorrow we have to do something different or I might go insane!
 After lunch I finished up my plate!
 I did the bottom, most detailed fish mostly with engraving, I couldn't get more detailed then the two above him with the sandblasting.  I like him, Grandfather Catfish... ready to suck you down when you go Noodling!
 Also, the birds got eyes, more detailed wings and beaks.
 Here is the super chaotic middle, which is awesome!
I am really pleased with the piece and now just have to finish the bottom properly so it will sit straight and I will be done with one part of the project! I am pleasantly surprised with how happy I am with it!!

Tomorrow we are going to make some wine glasses for the second half of my project and for a change from the stupid tulip catastrophe.  

Also, in other good news:
1.  Justin in back at Steep Forest Farm, where I had been keeping him before I left and getting in shape for when I return and get to ride him everyday!!  Hopefully he is behaving himself ;)
2.  Sam got us a wonderful house to live in this summer! It is owned by a distant relation of his and he wined and dined the owner, won her over with his southern charm and we get to live there this summer! So, good job Sam!! I am so happy and excited for summer, I think it will be a really nice one!!!