Friday, February 19, 2010

Glass Half-Full Kind of Artist

Glass has always intrigued me. I may have mentioned it on here, but anyone who knows my artistic endeavors knows that I really want to work with glass as well as metalsmithing (Is this one word?). Sometime this year, I'll at least get the chance to work with glass for the first time! I recently discovered the Pittsburgh Glass Center and I'm quite astounded at all they have to offer. The photo to the right is from their Flickr stream, specifically from the Art on Fire Auction in 2009. When I found their website a few months ago, the beginner classes taunted me. So many! What to choose? I can't take all of them, it's just too cost prohibitive. And I suppose it would take me quite a few weekends on top of my already busy schedule... And then I saw the Sampler Series! I decided pretty quickly that I was going to start saving up for the Hot-to-Cold Sampler. It's a mix and match combo in which you take 4 of the 2-hour classes. Each class is a different type of glass-making: hot, warm, flame, and cold. I really like this sampler idea because it gives me the chance to figure out which type I prefer before heading into intermediate (or more beginner) classes. It will give me a direction; however, knowing myself, I'll probably like all 4 types!

As of a couple of weeks ago, I had about half of the amount I needed. And then a lucky deal! has some great deals in the Pittsburgh area, featuring local businesses putting up gift certificates for half the price they are worth. As long as enough people buy into the deal, it goes through. Check out your own city! Recently the Pittsburgh Glass Center was featured with $50 gift certificates going for $25. This helped me out tremendously and I'm now ready to book my classes. And no worries, I'll be posting pictures of all my novice attempts!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's a BookBag! Recycled Tote Bag Project

Hooray! I have finished the recycled tote bag and although it didn't turn out exactly as planned (anyone who has made a cloth clamshell knows what I'm talking about), it still closes. It's still functional. Just not perfect. I'm actually looking forward to making a few more of these, but I'd probably use cloth for the bag instead of bookcloth scraps (they ARE really strong though). Maybe I'll even get around to posting them on Etsy. Ooh, I just bought new stamps too so I could put an owl emblem on them. :)

I call it the "Bookbag". This is a photo of the front of the book when the bag is folded up inside and it's tied shut. As mentioned, I used bookcloth scraps for the bag part and cotton tie scraps for the sides. When the bag is opened, the ties can be knotted straight along the bottom so they don't catch on anything or dangle. The base of the bag is a used hardback case of a book (intended for the trash since the book got a nice new hardback case). On the interior, I retained the original endsheets which have colorful maps. When you look inside the bag, you can still see them!

When opened up, the bag is fairly strong and can hold some larger items. I fit a few puzzles and small traveling games inside. I think it would be good for heavy fruits and vegetables as well. I've included a picture of the bag opened up, as well as another of the back side of the book when it's closed. I made sure not to decorate it with details that pop out too much. I wouldn't want them to catch on anything and rip off. This was a fun little project and I'm excited to look at the other ones and vote! If you'd like to vote, they'll be setting up the poll sometime tomorrow here: