Playing with sharp objects. Creating stained glass, mosaics, fused glass and jewelry

New Show Schedule….and New Designs

It’s been a tumultuous few weeks. I was scheduled to do the Paulding Meadows Arts and Crafts Festival last weekend but I was dealing with 2 very sick patients in the house. Jay had passed a gallstone into his pancreas which resulted in a case of acute pancreatitis. We spent one morning in the ER before they admitted him to the hospital for the night. It took him almost a week to fully recover. Fozzie Bear – our almost human cat – had developed a severe bacterial growth in his little tummy…. we found no relief with any of the local vets here so we ended up taking him to a cat specialist in Atlanta. The only board certified feline vet in the entire state. Fozzie was started on a very strong dose of antibiotics which built up to toxic levels after 10 days – we thought we were going to lose him. He’s made a wonderful turn around and both male patients seem to be on the mend. That’s been the last 2 weeks of my life…. Oh, to top it all off – a relay in my kiln bit the dust too :((

I was able to get into a show in Helen GA this coming weekend – Sept 20-21. Oktoberfest starts early in this little bavarian town in the mountains of north GA (they actually have the longest on record). When I had to cancel out of the Dallas show last weekend, we called Robin Roberts and asked if she could squeeze us in…. she said yes! So if you decide to take a trip to the mountains for some beer at the september version of the oktoberfest…be sure to look us up 😀

Upcoming shows:

Helen GA – September 20-21 during the Oktoberfest celebration

Waynesville, NC – October 11 – Church Street Art and Craft Show

Palm Beach Gardens, FL – December 13th – held at a park in the PGA community

I also have one in Royal Palm Beach at the end of November (22nd) – but they don’t do applications until October. I did this one last year and enjoyed it- only a 4 hr. show but it’s busy.

I thought I would share something new that I’ve been spending a lot of time on lately. I have been incorporating small fused pieces into my stained glass designs. I’ve done some in the past -i’ve shared the turtles…and i’ve done a few bear pieces for my mountain shows. I wanted to see if I could make a rainbow trout out of glass…. I followed some of the process with pictures so come along….

First, I cut the shape of the fish body out of a clear fusing glass. I then outlined some of the detail of the fish with a glassline paint which is kiln friendly. I added color by using Unique Glass Color paints which are mixed with a medium and applied…. using leaf green and tomato as the main colors. I added some fine green frit on top of the paint. I then cut the various fins and adorned them with the same paint — dry – not wet.


rainbow trout unfired

rainbow trout unfired

I put the fish and his fins onto a small piece of clear fusing glass.  I contour fused this piece – it went up to 1425 degrees.   Total time spent so far – it’s not so easy to break down.  It took me about 2 hours to complete the fish – from cutting the original shape to painting/frit work.  Then the contour fuse program was 5 hours long.

trout after kiln firing

trout after kiln firing

Next I start on the stained glass part of the project.  I design my own pattern to fit the barn wood frame that I want to use for this particular piece.   All pieces of glass are cut, edges are ground and they are foiled with copper tape.  After blocking it to be completely square, I proceed with the soldering.

trout stained glass

Finished trout section being added to stained glass design

The soldering is done and the project is ready for patina – if I decide to go that route.  You can leave the solder lines the silver color – just buff and let them shine.  I like the pop that the black patina adds to the glass so I went ahead and added patina.  Added time spent on project with the stained glass part….  About 2 hours to cut and shape all glass.  Another 2 hours to foil all pieces.  Approximately 45 minutes to solder and another 30 minutes to clean and patina the glass and a final polish.


trout stained glass piece almost completed – this is after soldering

Here is the final product – i have these beautiful rustic barn wood frames that i thought would be perfect for this little fishy.  Completed size is 23 inches wide by 12.75 inches high.  Total time invested with manual labor:  7-8 hrs.  Not including the 5 hours the fish spent baking in the kiln.


rainbow trout stained glass piece – finished with a rustic barn wood frame

Here is a similar glass piece I made with a hummingbird design.  The whole process was essentially the same – only difference is that this entire fused piece with the hummingbird and coneflower was all cut glass – no painting or frit work.  17 inches wide by 14 inches high.


same concept as the rainbow trout piece – this hummingbird was added to a stained glass piece and framed

I’ve decided to do a few more projects with the rainbow trout design – why not?  I am in the GA trout capital here in Blue Ridge.  This is a plate.  The initial picture you see below is 2 layers of a light green glass that is 10.5 inches square.    I have added some colored stringers to the plate.   I am going to full fuse this in the kiln up to 1500 degrees – total time in the kiln will be 10 hours.


latest work – making a rainbow trout 10 inch square plate – this is the bottom section – the trout will be added after this piece is fired first to a full fuse.

This is the rainbow trout – in pieces – that I will add to the green plate after it is done firing.  It will then go into the kiln yet again….this time for a contour fuse (5 hrs. at 1425 degrees) – this allows the fish to fuse to the plate glass but will allow the fish to retain some dimension instead of fully melting.     Once that is finished, it will go in the kiln for the final time.   I will center the plate form with the fish on top of a kiln washed mold and slump the glass into the plate shape.  This is a low and slow process.  Total kiln time for this project will be about 24 hours.


rainbow trout deconstructed. this fish will be put onto the green plate and fused for a second time prior to slumping into a plate mold

Please stop by to see us if you are in the area for any of the shows I mentioned above. We would love to see/meet you ;D

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Hiawasse Show on Lake Chatuge

I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did at the show a few weeks ago in Hiawasee. First off, the venue was beautiful. We were on the edge of Lake Chatuge as you can see in the background of the video. The turn-out was probably a total of 300’ish people in the two days and I didn’t think I’d do as well as I did.

I’ve applied for another show to fill some empty time I have between August and September. I sent my application in about 7 days ago and got my acceptance letter 2 days ago – that quick! This one will be my first LARGE show. I’m a little nervous 😀 It’s in Dallas Georgia which is a small town northwest of Atlanta – a 2 hour drive from my house here near Blue Ridge. This means we’ll have to spend the night or two nights down there since we can’t make that trip back and forth each day. They project a crowd of 35,000 people so i’m pretty excited! Here’s hoping I can keep up with the crowd…..and don’t have a nervous breakdown. I’ll post the dates and venue location in my next update.

I captured a small video clip on my iphone of my booth set up in Hiawassee. This shows how i’m using more vertical space to hang my creations. I bought two mesh walls that I hang on the left and right side of the tent – I then use curtain hooks to hang all of my stuff. I actually took some stained glass pieces with me this time. I have mosiacs and stained glass hanging from the mesh walls. I also displayed two of my larger mosaics on easels in front of the tables. I also hung about 20 of my wind chimes from the canopy – you can see them along the back and front edges of the canopy.

We did have rain forecast that entire weekend – at least 60% chance each day. I woke up at 1:30 in the morning Sunday to the sound of thunder and lightning and my heart fell. I thought for sure Sunday was going to be rained out. The weather ended up cooperating with us – in fact, Sunday was the most gorgeous day!

Stay tuned….

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Butterflies….Owls…and Bears – Oh My!

I know…it’s been way too long since my last update.  I was real busy with some fall shows upon my return to Florida.  I was trying to cram a bunch of stuff in before the holiday – hoping to clear out some Christmas decor that I had made.  The shows were great and I was very pleased with the results.  It’s all a new learning process for me so a lot of trial and error.  I will be wiser from the experience for the coming holiday season.

In the meantime, it is almost summer.   I haven’t done a show since right before Christmas in Florida.  I endured a long stretch of having no artistic stamina – probably lasted for 2 months.  It feels good to be back on track and producing new stuff almost on a daily basis.  I have moments where it’s almost business-like….I have to step away for awhile to regroup and get back in to the hobby aspect of it all.   We returned to Georgia almost 2 weeks ago to give me time to unpack all of my stuff.  We’ve resorted to renting a u-haul trailer on our trips now in order for me to bring all 25 of my boxes containing my projects, glass and kiln.

I’ applied for 5 shows and was accepted to all of them – woo hoo!  I like the energy of the GA shows .  Here is my schedule along with some of the newest stuff I’ve been working on.


My current show schedule – if you are in the neighborhood stop by and see us:

  • June 7-8 – The Ridges Landing in Hiawassee GA.  This is an outdoor show  at a local resort on the lake.
  • June 28-29 – The Mountain Fling – Blairsville Technical College – indoor show
  • July 19-20 – Butternut Creek Festival Blairsville.  This is one of the top shows in the southeast – outdoor venue with lots of great music and arts/crafts
  • Sept 20-21 Celebrate Autumn – Blairsville Technical College – indoor show
  • October 11 – Church Street Festival Waynesville NC (outside of Asheville) – a one day show in the mountains in the middle of autumn – what more could we ask for!  One of our best friends performs at this show and recommended that I apply.  We usually drive up there just to visit him – so now we’ll have a booth.


Here are some of the fused glass mosaic pieces I’ve been working on.  I’m starting to get back in the rhythm of mountain topics like bears 😀    These all have hooks or pegs in the bottom so they can be hung on the wall and used to hang leashes, keys, jewelry or whatever else you can think of.



Bear cubs climbing tree

Bear cubs climbing tree – mosaic background – fused bears

Bear emerging from a lake full of cat tails

Bear emerging from a lake full of cat tails – mosaic background – fused glass bear and cat tails.


Two of the bird villages I like to create. Cute bird houses where or avian friends reside.


Here are some of the components that I piece together for wind chimes.  I have accumulated about 40 different wind chimes, sun catchers and spinners ranging from cats to bears to birds.  You can see the before picture which shows the glass as it has been cut and arranged prior to firing at temperatures up to 1500 degrees in my kiln.    Hi-temp wire hooks also need to be place appropriately in order to bead and string the chimes after they have fired.  Most of these are designs that I’ve toyed with over the past year – trying them in larger or smaller sizes – different colors and adding more whimsy.  I take the pictures as they lay on a table – it’s impossible to get good wind chime pictures when hanging.


Cats, Dogs, etc. BEFORE firing in the kiln

Cats, Dogs, etc. BEFORE firing in the kiln

Cats, Dog, etc. AFTER kiln and stringing

Cats, Dog, etc. AFTER kiln and stringing


Set up in the kiln and ready to fire up to 1500 degrees


Bear and Beehive – AFTER being fired in the kiln and strung into a wind chime using cut glass components and recycled bottle rings.


I’ve also been experimenting with ways to incorporate my glass fusing projects into my stained glass work.  I already incorporate the fused pieces into all of my mosaics but the stained glass was a little more difficult.  I use these turtles in my underwater wind chime scene and I thought they would go really well with this particular art glass.  I made the middle section of this with fused glass and then I cut some glass, foiled and soldered it around the turtle scene.  This is approximately 15 inches high by 12 inches wide.



I’ve also completed some more of my night owls series.  This full moon is keeping this poor owl family awake in “insowlmniacs”.    16 inches high by 10 inches wide.  Mosaic background – fused glass owls.

Fused glass mosaic titled INSOWLMNIACs

Fused glass mosaic titled INSOWLMNIACs

Small plaque featuring more night owls with a full moon and starlit night.  Approximately 10 inches wide by 3 inches high.  Mosaic background on a ceramic base with fused glass owls.

night owls plaque

night owls plaque

I had these terra cotta pot bases that I picked up on a recent trip to Ikea.  I knew they’d make a great mosaiced bird bath….I just didn’t know what to do with them.  I’ve been playing around with this frog design for a few months – never quite happy with it..  I like him now – especially in this application.  The birdbath is approximately 14 inches across.  The bottom is glass mosaic and the frog, toadstools and dragonflies are all fused glass.

Frog with toadstools bird bath

Frog with toadstools bird bath

I am also starting from scratch with my tent and display this week.  We have the tent erected in the driveway right now – strapped to the fence with 40 lb. weights holding it down.   Why?  It’s going to be there for at least 5 days while I fiddle around with my new mesh wall for display and my new table set ups.   We’ve had a fair amount of wind in the afternoons and some thunderstorms rolling through – better safe than sorry.  I don’t want to have to chase my tent down the street as it flies away in one of the gusts.  It also gives me an opportunity to test out the new weights that my handy-dandy husband made for me.    He put the tent up this morning and attached the new stabilizer bars to the bottom in addition to adding the new mesh wall on one side for a hanging display.  It’s coming along – i’ll be sure to take some pictures next weekend at the show once i’ve tweaked it a million times.  We will head to HIawassee this Friday afternoon to set the tent up – we’ll roll the sidewalls down overnight and return early Saturday morning for show time.  We decided to drive back and forth each day – so that means 3 round trips to Hiawassee next weekend – 45 miles each way.

Until next time…..


What’s Baking in the Kiln – Wind chime components

I’ve signed up for another show coming up the weekend of October 19-20.  This one is outdoors…. I bought a canopy about a month ago even though I didn’t want to do outdoor shows.  Too many things you have no control over- weather….bugs….did i say weather?  I bit the bullet and signed up for the local Fall Festival that’s held at our local farmers market in downtown Blue Ridge.   I’ve been to it a few times and haven’t seen anything like what I make.  We’ll have to see if it’s the right type of venue for my stuff…. or if it’s more suited for baked goods and beaded jewelry.

I’ve kept myself busy making wind chimes, wind spinners and yard art.  I don’t “market” the glass as wind chimes because I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression.  These aren’t meant to sit in the breeze and make a lot of noise.  I do add components that let them “tinkle” in a light breeze.   No secret – these are made of glass – therefore, I highly recommend that they be kept in a more enclosed environment.

Here are some pictures of the latest creations – Pardon the setting – do you realize how impossible it is to take pictures of wind chimes??:


I’ve seen notecards and posters that show a funky bird sitting on top of the cat… i didn’t know how it would translate to glass so i thought i’d experiment.  There are a few refinements needed..but I’ll worry about those later.


these little owls are from a small stained glass pattern that I saw a few years ago…i added the embellishments to give them a little style.


i try to incorporate melted bottle parts in most of the chimes too.  you see the little rings – those are the necks of melted wine bottles.  There are also larger rings and the bottom to the bottles that have been melted as well.




crazy cat-bird.   he won’t be able to make up his mind 😀


these are in the kiln right now – baking away.  i don’t fully fuse a lot of my stuff – i prefer to run a special contour fuse program that i’ve created specifically for my kiln.  this allows me to keep some ‘relief’ in the item versus fusing it completely flat.

As you can see, I’ll be busy wiring up more wind chimes in the next two days.   We are heading to Atlanta tomorrow so I can stock up on some more glass.  I order it online and also visit Armstrong Glass in Canton, GA.    I have a few ideas for more things I’d like to have completed before I do the next show….if only I had 4 hands and another kiln 😀

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First Art Show – Fused Glass, Mosaics and Jewelry


I did it.  I jumped in with both feet….  I started thinking about doing shows about a year ago as justification for spending so much money on my kiln.  I had a lot of reservations…would I enjoy myself?   Would I be too afraid to address the customers?  Would people like my stuff?  I pushed the fears and doubts aside and went ahead and submitted an application to a small show that is held indoors in Blairsville, Georgia.  I was thrilled to be accepted but worried whether I had enough “stuff” to show on my tables.    One of my sisters came to show some of her artisan jewelry as well.  She sat at  my kitchen table and in my garage workshop every morning for a month making macrame bracelets while I trudged along with my glass projects.

It took me awhile to decide how I wanted to set up the tables.  Then it took me that long to put the items on the tables so things didn’t look too crowded.  It’s funny – I was worried about not having enough stuff…that I ended up having too much stuff!  At least in this instance, I only had 2 tables to display the product.   Also, Jay (the husband) built me two standing display units out of pegboard where I could hang my wind-chimes and spinners. 

The day before the show, we packed almost everything up in the back of the SUV.  Setting up the display wasn’t too hard.  It took about 90 minutes.  The show was Saturday morning -starting at 9 a.m.  We woke up early and it was raining.  Thank goodness we opted for a show that was indoors.  But we also talked about how the weather would affect the traffic for the show.  It poured all day and only stopped around 4 – an hour before the show was over for the day.  They estimate that they usually get a few thousand people on the Saturday showing…but we guessed that we were lucky to see 500 people.   Sundays aren’t much better historically because people are busy with church and their family meals afterwards.  We only saw a hundred or so on Sunday.

I am very happy with the outcome of my first show!   I had two goals and both were met.  Would I feel comfortable enough doing this that I would want to do it again…and the answer to this question is YES.  The second goal was whether my stuff would be well received….and the answer to this question is YES.  I had no negative comments – people thought my stuff was beautiful…they said the prices were reasonable and there was a lot of interest.  I didn’t make a ton of money – I had no expectations as far as money was concerned.  I paid $40 for the weekend set up – and i made that back ++ some.    I also had a pre-show sale in my garage for my neighbors and they all came and stocked up on their Christmas gifts.  I have the best neighbors 😀

Now I know where to focus my efforts…I will be sending applications to do more shows.  I just need to do some research and see where the market is best for my product.  I’m thinking of maybe 2 shows a year – at least to start.  I don’t know if I want to do anything in Florida.  The crowd is much different there….also I’m not sure that my stuff is suited for that climate versus here in North Georgia.    I do have an application pending for the 3rd weekend in October- we have a local Fall Harvest sale…fingers crossed that I am accepted because our friend Randy will be in town to help me out.    This show is outdoors – not what I want to do but I’ll give it a try.  I don’t want to spend all the money on tenting, etc. but I did buy a cheap canopy.   That just adds the stress of wondering whether the weather will cooperate or not.

Here are some pictures of the finished mosaics I have offered.  The first – Flower Power Owls is sold.


Harvest Moon Owls


Bird Village – I took this panoramic picture on my iphone and it skipped a bit so the beehive bird house looks a little weird :-/  This is designed to hang over a door – a transom decoration.



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Pelican Portrait Mosaic

Anybody who has known me for longer than 5 minutes – knows that I absolutely love birds.  I have excessive amounts of camera equipment just to satisfy my bird watching habit.  I need an excuse to go out and look for birds so I drag out the big boy lenses and digital camera and head out to the local wetlands.  It’s one of the great advantages to living in the state of Florida – so many birds!

I’ve probably taken over 5000 pictures over the years – I would guess that almost 60% of them are birds.  The rest are vacation pics, flower/botanical pics and some of the feline variety.   What do I do with all of these pictures?  Well, sometimes they sit in a directory on my computer untouched for months before I decide to go back and refresh my memory as to what exciting thing I saw in nature that day.  I crop them and might change a little bit of the lighting but mainly leave them untouched.  Every time I open one of the picture folders,  I can remember the beauty of the variety of wildlife that I’m surrounded with on a daily basis – my form of meditation.

I especially love to take pictures of pelicans.  My husband and I see them glide over the waves at the ocean and marvel at their skills.  To see them on land, you’d think they were clowns.  They are so ungainly and look like they will tip over at any minute as they waddle around.   I haven’t taken any pictures of pelicans  for a few years but as I was going back through some of my old picture directories, I came across a folder full of brown pelican pictures I took about 10 years ago.  I fell in love with the spectacular blue eyes and the personality they exhibit through those eyes.

This picture is not the best – the lighting is all wrong….the beak is cut off….but I loved the lines of the pelicans head and beak with a full-on shot.  Who knew that one day it would be the inspiration for a new mosaic.


I really struggled with this project.  I started it one month and worked on it for a few hours a day until I lost focus.  It was only half done at this point.  We left for the summer to spend 5 months in Georgia and when I returned home to Florida, I spent countless days looking at the unfinished work trying to find inspiration.  I just didn’t know how to finish the bottom of the bird.  I had the face done but I lacked incite on what to do with the bottom.  Do I show anything but his head?  What colors?  What shape do I want his body to be?  Finally, after about 3 weeks, I woke up one morning and just started playing around with the glass and finished the bottom.  Yippee!  I was so happy to have this one done…I thought for sure it would end up in the “unfinished projects” part of the garage shelves 😀

Here he is – WIP….still contemplating the final moves.


Here he is ….finally finished!


Home at last – here he is hanging out on the secluded side patio.


So glad to have him off of my workbench and hanging on the wall.  Now I wonder if I learned my lesson…..  have a plan.  Work from a pattern??  That would be too easy.  I don’t want to crank things out like a robot.  I’d rather let them sit and mellow with time.  This affords me the opportunity to change direction on a whim.

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Mosaic Bench – Titled “Watching Over You”

Not long after I started experimenting with mosaic work – i decided that i wanted to make a bench for the deck at our mountain house.   I can’t figure out why i always go ‘big’…versus just trying something small.  After all, this was only my third or fourth mosaic piece.  I saw plans for this beautiful wooden bench in a lowe’s magazine…that was the beginning of the end 😀  I showed it to jay and said ‘we have to make this’…so i can mosaic something on top of it.  A few trips to lowe’s and we had all of the supplies necessary.  It took us a few days to complete the wood-working part.  The whole time we are playing with power tools, I’m trying to figure out what design i can come up with to put on the top.  I knew i had to start with bears….i ♥♥♥ bears. 

Bears….  a momma bear and her two cubs – she’s trying to coax them from the tree.  That’s where i started.  I worked with no design plan whatsoever…just whatever popped in to my head when i woke up in the morning.  I knew i wanted to incorporate the whole animal spirit theme with native american’s so i finally found some direction.  Fox, eagle, deer, bears – they all play a relevant role in the native american tradition.   Our summer house is situated in the middle of what was once Cherokee land.    I’ve read a lot about the history here, there is so much to know.   Also, the house has a lot of artwork that I’ve acquired over the years from the Cherokee’s in NC.

The mosaic work was done using stained glass that i already had on hand.  I don’t follow any type of mosaic design  – just a random glass pieces – large and small.  I suppose i’d need to take a class to learn how to do real mosaic work.  I honestly have no desire to do that….  I would draw a small section at a time – ie: the bears.  I’d cut the glass from what i had on hand and apply it to the cement board.  It took the entire summer for me to complete this bench.  I never thought i’d finish!  I probably learned my lesson too….no more projects without patterns or a plan!  okay….forget that…i didn’t learn any lesson because i have continued down the same path –  of starting with nothing…i’ll have to show you my pelican mosaic one of these days. 

oh, did i mention that the damn thing weighs 100 lbs?  it’s sooooo heavy!

This is the finished bench – just getting started on the mosaic.


here is the bench – mosaic work completed but not yet grouted


here is the finished bench – do you see everything?  the eagle…the fox….the deer….the bear….bear momma and cubs….purple mountains majesty….the teepee’s on the far side of the lake?


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Upcycled bottle glass jewelry

I’ve been experimenting with alternative things to do with recycled glass bottles.  Everyone seems to be on the “windchime” band wagon….and i don’t want to join that party.  I have been cutting some various shapes with my ring saw.  I applied some pretty cool turtle decals and then added some recycled paper beads to make a beautiful necklace.  I really like how it came out…so now i’m going to make more with different colors of glass and different beads.

These are pictures from my etsy store:


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Biting the bullet and entering the world of blogging!

I never thought I would be here….  doing this, you know?  Entering a post in my own blog.  It’s a case of “the world is so big” and i’m completely lost!  I realized a few weeks ago that I needed to put myself out there for more exposure with my glass work.  I’ve been going back and forth mentally – do I want to have a web presence?  Do I want to just put up booths in craft shows?  So many questions…so many alternatives….so many choices and I’m overwhelmed. 

A bit more history about me …I’m originally from Pennsylvania.  I moved to Florida in the late 1980’s and have had no regrets.  I don’t like to write…which is why this blog seemed so weird to me!  You’ll notice that most of my interaction is more of a stream of consciousness type conversation.  I apologize if this offends you… just bear with me and don’t call on the punctuation police.  

About 3 years ago, i signed up to take a beginners course in stained glass.  This was held for 6 weeks at a local high school – night classes.   I found that i really liked playing with the glass…even though i cut myself a lot.  I finished my class project early and picked the “professors” brain a bit and got some needed insight.  Words of advice – expand the boundaries.  Try things a different way – see the results.  In my first year after taking the class, I found myself doing all sorts of projects.  I did some small panels with simple flowers and i did a few larger panels with a gazillion pieces.  Over time I found the foiling method tedious…i got tired of having to wrap each piece of glass with copper foil – burnishing it – and then soldering.  Ugh, i absolutely hated this.   This led to a mild case of ennui….I’d find myself looking at patterns and wondering if I could do something with it other than stained glass….but still use the glass.  I had my AHA moment when i discovered i could use the glass in mosaic work.

Not to be deterred, i started off big!  That’s right…my first mosaic work was going to be a rather large scarlet macaw with various tropical greenery that i was going to hang on the wall outside the side door.  It measures approximately 3 feet wide by 4 feet high.

Here she is….Image


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