Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gearing Up for the Holidays with Fused Glass Ornaments

Every year, it seems that Christmas comes earlier and earlier. Well, if you're making items for the holidays, then it comes even sooner as you need time to make everything. For me, it's also a nice change to what I've been making this year. I've gotten to experiment with a few new designs and learned some things in the process.

New for 2011 will be a different snowflake design and poinsettia ornaments. I've been making snowflakes since 2008 and they've been fairly popular. Although each snowflake is fairly labor intensive with 17-18 individual pieces, I enjoy making them as I accumulate a lot of clear glass over the year and this is a great way to use up some of the excess (although I really haven't made too much of a dent). I start with drawing out several design options on paper and then pick the one I like best to make. As the snowflakes are rather detailed, drawing out designs tend to work better than coming up with something in my head. However, what I learned is that what may work on paper may not work in reality. Here's my first stab at a snowflake based on my design.

Not bad, but not quite at the same level as my original snowflake design and not quite the same look fired as pre-fired. Viewing the finished snowflake, I see that the design was not as tight as I would have liked and left room for error. So, I continued to play around with the design and came up with a new one that I like much better. What do you think?

My poinsettia ornaments were really an inspiration from one of my customers who commented that she could wear one of my red flower pins like a poinsettia. I was able to use some of the frit I had made too for the center.

These two new ornaments will be added to my existing ones: the original snowflake design and angels. I have a love-hate relationship with my angels. I love how cute they are when they're finished but the process of making them is laborious (lots of circle cutting, grozing or trimming the circles and then grinding or smoothing the circles) and precise (cutting and placing the stringer and glass chards for the face). While I made enough for this year, we'll see how I feel next year...

These ornaments are fresh out of the kiln, with the last load going in today. I have yet to drill the holes and attach the hanging ribbon but wanted to share with you what I've been doing the past two weeks. Hopefully they will be up on Etsy in the next week or so.

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