Saturday, July 14, 2012

Art or Shooting Practice?

Is it art or shooting practice?

In my years of totem making, I've collected glassware that didn't make the cut. What should I do with them? They're still beautiful in their own right. But, they don't fit the criteria for totem-ness. After three years of crafting the crazy garden jewels, I've finally identified what works and what doesn't.

Alas! I saw this fabulous photo on the internet and my inspiration took shape. I began planning the materials. Thankfully, my husband finds some satisfaction in creating something beautiful, so he was in charge of the frame. I began choosing the candidates.

Beautiful, aren't they? The next step was determining their placement. I did this by lining them up on the table and playing with the order of colors and shapes. This became my initial plan (below).

Through the process, several bottles broke, so I did some rearranging of the layout later as I went. We had to drill holes in the bottoms of all the bottles so I first tried drilling them with a hand drill and "diamond bit." However, it took FOREVER to drill one bottle and it was a tense process-- not to mention, highly volatile. :-(  The crappy photo below shows one bottle propped in the drain of the kitchen sink. I was drilling and my daughter was spraying with water. It's imperative that you drill with a water bath because of the heat it generates.

Enough of that! We graduated to a drill press we borrowed from a friend. It took us a while to find a good drill bit that wouldn't break after 5 or 6 bottles. The winner was a diamond CORE drill bit. Once we found these, the process went fairly smooth. That's me squirting a water bottle while my hubby did the delicate work. He was compliant and wore safety glasses. He's smart.

Once the bottles were drilled, it didn't take long. Mark has already built the frame from copper pipe and drilled holes in the top and bottom pipe. We strung the bottle with clothesline cable (it's a plastic coated cable) and spaced each bottle by inserting 3/8" clear plastic tubing between each one.  We strung the cable into the pipe's holes and secured them with cable clamps at the top and bottom.

The finished product exceeded my expectations a hundred times. It's absolutely beautiful during every part of the day.

It's even beautiful on an overcast day (photo below). 

My only fear is that someone may mistake it for shooting practice. :-O

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Some think totem-making is for crazy ladies.

I've been making garden totems with my friend, Glenda, for nearly three years. Is that crazy? Not as crazy as the addictive madness of finding "just the right piece." Scavenging yard sales, thrift stores and auctions is an obsession and our workshop is evidence of that.

It's funny. Others like to give us glass pieces, too. Unfortunately, most people don't realize how picky we have to be. Will it adhere to another piece? Scallops are hard to work with. Uneven surfaces create a challenge. We had a gal call one of our totems an "atrocity" because we had used depression glass-- something she felt should have been reserved for a Sunday dinner table.

Regardless of how others feel, we like making them. They are a creative release. And, we've had our totems bring $250+ at local non-profit auctions. So, I guess someone likes them. :-)