So Remiss...

I have been so  remiss in getting posts and new work to the website lately.  I've been crazy busy with new pieces, working on the Glass Guild website, my actual day job, getting my new house in order, growing tomatoes (ick - that's a long story - ask me about it) and more things beyond those that my poor website has suffered.  Right now I'm in the midst of packing up the car to go to Salem to set up for the State Fair for the next few days.  Here's a handful of what's been going on:

Dragon Plate

"Artist" tile - I  have three colors!

Platinum Cobble Bubble Plate

Guitar Tile

And I'm not gonna lie, the cold shop is a small disaster right now, with lots of pendants in various stages of completion:

 

As I'm prepping for another show, I hope to see some of you there.  Next up: Oregon State Fair.  We'll be in the Artisan's Village until August 30th.  And then we'll be - oh, here's where we'll be for the next few shows:

We do have another market scheduled, but the last time we were scheduled to attend, we went out there and there was no market, so I'm not planning on it until I hear from the market manager.  I'm hopeful that it will still work out.

Hope to see you at an event soon!

The State of Oregon vs. Bullseye Glass

What a crazy couple of weeks it has been.  The governor here has issued a cease and desist order to Bullseye, which means they can't produce 80% of their glass, which turns into lost jobs.  I was told today it has to do with elevated lead levels, which was NEVER the story.  I'm waiting on some updated information to confirm, since the original issues were other chemicals used to make colored glass.  The driving force, a group called Eastside Portland Air Coalition, really just wants Bullseye to shut down and move away from their neighborhood.  Bullseye's been in that neighborhood 40 years, so who should be moving?  Of course this is just my opinion.  I've just heard that nearly 200 people were tested and NOT ONE has results of elevated lead levels.  Another thing that gets me is if there really was an issue, wouldn't the employees have elevated levels of the chemicals used?  I'm not going to give this group any more publicity, but really, all the facts need to be considered.  Bullseye has proposed some new production limits that will hopefully make everyone happy -  or at least satisfy them for the moment.  I've shared all the links to the most current news stories to my Facebook pages, so take a look at them there.  If you're interested in standing with glass artists or finding out what you can do to help, contact me, the Oregon Glass Guild, or Bullseye's website has some information.  I subscribe to several Facebook glass newsgroups and the entire glass community around the world has rallied to hopefully save our art and the  livelihood of thousands of artists, employees and others who rely on glass arts to survive.  For me, it's a small business and my art, but it's not my only source of income.  It still would devastate me to see things completely dissapate.  My argument  has been to see Bullseye implement the changes they've been proposing all along.  Changes of this extreme take time, effort and funding to put in place.  If those picketing and protesting would see that and have an open mind to the full picture, there could be a peaceful end to the situation.  But then again, it's just my opinion.

 We've already lost Spectrum Glass - or will, later this year.  Even with Uroboros taking over a portion of their glass, some of the Fuser's Reserve glass will be permanently gone.  I don't use anything but Bullseye typically, but some of the Uroboros 90 will also be disappearing, which is what my dichroic is coated on.  CBS (my dichroic manufacturer) is working on an alternative. 

We've already lost Spectrum Glass - or will, later this year.  Even with Uroboros taking over a portion of their glass, some of the Fuser's Reserve glass will be permanently gone.  I don't use anything but Bullseye typically, but some of the Uroboros 90 will also be disappearing, which is what my dichroic is coated on.  CBS (my dichroic manufacturer) is working on an alternative. 

We Must Be Crazy...

I'm not sure what we were thinking.  Or are still thinking.  But here it is, May 11th.  In the last few months, we've moved to a new home, new studio.  Not very far from the old one, but what  madness it has been!  Both of us come from families of pack rats, so we have the illness, as it were.  We both have enough stuff for easily 3 bedroom homes, and we had that crammed into a 2 bedroom apartment, and 2 single car garages - one of which was the studio.  All the craziness with that, which I suspect we'll be dealing with for months to come.  I've posted these on my social media accounts, but here's what the studio looked like once empty:

And here's what the new one looks like, with most of the things in it that will stay in it, less the sandblaster, which currently resides in the back:

Oy.  We were able over the last weekend or so to get the glass part of things mostly set up, so I feel llike there's a studio of sorts out there.  Thanks, Shop Guru.  It's because of him that it's anywhere near ready.  The rest of February and all of March, we spent preparing for upcoming markets, and the Glass Guild's annual glass gallery, which I decided to participate in this year.  What was I thinking?  I was sure I didn't have enough pieces.  I've also signed up for a new market, through October, that was originally geared more towards artisans.  It's out in Woodburn, and I participate once a month.  I've been to exactly one market, and so far, well, we were there on Opening Day, so we'll see if the crowds improve.  It's in conjunction with Hillsboro Farmer's Markets, so that's a tried and true program.  My next one is tomorrow.  I'm hoping that traffic has improved over the last month, as I've been told that the marketing for it was going to be stepped up.  We'll see what happens.

There's a Facebook site for the market - check it out!  https://www.facebook.com/Artisan-Amys-Farmers-Market-621575701317946/ 

Glass Gallery...

All the nerves aside about not being ready, and trying to move while it was going on, it was a great experience!  Met lots of wonderful people during the event, got a few orders, and some ideas for some work to come!  There's a photo of our booth on the market photos page.

Now that we're safely ensconced in our new home, I can start working on the bagillions of ideas I have swarming in my head, and the custom orders I have.  Here's a couple of photos of work in progress:

 Pebble "patties" prior to firing

Pebble "patties" prior to firing

 Pebble "patties" after firing, preparing for coldworking.

Pebble "patties" after firing, preparing for coldworking.

 The whole lot, ready to be cut into their final shapes.  The saw's ready and waiting!!

The whole lot, ready to be cut into their final shapes.  The saw's ready and waiting!!

All the individual ones have decals in the individual bags underneath them to keep them separate.  It's decal mania!  I've done pieces with enamel paint on firing paper a lot lately and this is somewhat similar, only in that they have to be kept separate or it's a mess.  I've devised a way to determine which decal I've chosen for which glass piece while the piece is in coldworking, we'll see if my method works.  I've had trouble with the ink I use coming off during coldworking, so I'm hoping that my new method will hold up.

Glass Manufacturers...

Shortly after my last post, the news here in Portland literally started blowing up about unsafe chemicals being deliberately sent into the air by both Bullseye and Uroboros.  Knowing the folks at Bullseye like I do, I knew this to be untrue.  There was such public outcry without any concrete information, and a lot of reactionary statements and threats made against the employees and owners of Bullseye simply for being associated with them.  There was even a special session held by the DEQ to propose temporary rules to halt production that would have severely hampered all the glass companies in the city.  Multiple glass artists either spoke at the meeting or e-mailed civic leaders to speak out against these temporary rules until all the scientific results were received (based on pending test results) so sweeping regulations wouldn't be seen as reactionary and arbitrary.  I was one of those glass artists speaking out for Bullseye.  As a result, any new regulations were delayed until test results could be received.  Granted, there were tests done that did show abnormally high levels of arsenic and cadmium in the mosses around the Bullseye factory for a given period, but DEQ wanted to halt production of glasses that used trivalent chromium, which wasn't part of the original issue.  One of the scientific reports can be found here:   http://www.bullseyeglass.com/about-us/dr-lacourse-chromium-statement.html.  Bullseye has since installed new filtration systems at their own insistence.  From what I understand, Uroboros has been following these issues very closely but I haven't heard about any changes that they have made to their filtration.  I don't use as much Uroboros glass, so I don't speak with them as frequently.

What annoys me the most about the entire situation, aside from the staff and owners being threatened for performing their jobs, is the fact that the DEQ came in and just assumed guilt when there was no evidence to back that up.  From what I read, at least one of the days that the arsenic levels was highest was a day that the factory wasn't even producing glass - has that been addressed? Not that I've seen.  I certainly can understand wanting to keep the families in the areas around the glass factories safe, but come on.   I did just like all the other COE 90 artists did, and bought as much glass as I could during the February sale, all the while discussing with one of the staff members how I wasn't worried that Dan and Lana would find a solution.  So now I have all this "overstock" glass since I got so much in February - although some of it I bought then was in different frit sizes than I normally use.  But not to worry - it will all find a home in a glass piece at some point.

And I just heard this evening through some of the glass forums that Spectrum Glass is closing it's doors after 40 years.  There will be more to come from that announcement I'm sure.

Ok, that's all for now.  Ready for the next market, tomorrow at Woodburn Outlet Mall.  Hope to see you there!