January 12, 2016
The glassblowing process I use is called, "lampworking" or "flame working". It involves heating and shaping glass rods with a torch and various tools such as tweezers, pliers, and graphite rods and paddles. The glass I use is borosilicate glass; the same formula as Pyrex. However, my borosilicate comes is clear rods and tubes of various sizes (all in lengths of 4-5 feet) and color rods (usually 20 inches long and about as round as a #2 pencil). There are also color tubes that come in 4 foot lengths.
Using the torch to melt and shape the glass, using tweezers to pull off excess glass, and using graphite paddles to keep the glass flat and sharp-edged where needed, I craft many different figurines (birds, mammals, sea creatures, and fantasy sculptures). All of these figurines have to be annealed after they are created. This means they get "baked" in an oven at 1040F degrees for at least 15 minutes and then slowly cooled over a several hour process. However, before each figurine is annealed, I check to make sure it fists into a 34mm tube. In order to become an ornament, each figure has to fit.
After annealing, the figurine is slid into a 34mm "test tube" with a hole in the bottom. The hole is as big as the base of the figurine so a nice air-tight seal can be achieved. I heat the outside of the test tube and get it hot enough to melt the base of the figurine into the bottom of the test tube. Once this is done, I put the tube in a lathe which spins the glass allowing the entire piece to heated evenly. There is a cork in the tube with a rubber hose so I can blow into it. I heat the entire piece and blow into it to get the shape I want. Some ornaments are round, oval, heart-shaped to tear-shaped. Once the desired shape is made, it goes into the annealing oven. The final step includes pulling off excess tube and a glass ring is added and melted into place. This serves as the means to hang it from a hook in the tree, or ornament stand. And once again, the completed ornaments gets one more annealing. Other steps include: Inspection (for defects), Signing (every ornaments is signed, dated and numbered), Recording (I keep track of every ornament), and Storage (where they safely rest until they are shipped). On average, each ornament takes about 2 hours to be completed. I have been using this process since 1987 and have made thousands of ornaments so far.
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May 15, 2017
April 29, 2017
They summon us to eat, work, wake, pray and even gather; bells provide the music to the soundtrack known as life.
Back in February, when we went to Tucson, we discovered The Bell Collection. We were enamored by the display of dainty bells hanging from above, calling us to take a closer look at each one.
April 14, 2017
According to GIA, in 2015, Christie’s and Sotheby’s had reported an estimated $1.2 billion in gemstone and jewelry sales, in addition to the $70-$80 million by Bonham’s of London and Tiancheng in Hong Kong.
Gemstones and fine jewelry continue to set records at large auction houses by collectors all over the world. Gemstone collecting continues to grow in popularity and if you’ve wanted to start your own collection, but are unsure where to start, we’ve got a few tips on how to define a collection.