My Books

My Books
These books may be purchased from Schiffer Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Target and in many other fine stores.

Check out my design on Zazzle!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ikebana Show at the Art League/Torpedo Factory March 4-8, 2010

Every two years, the Art League hosts a juried show by members of the Washington, DC chapter of the Sogetsu Society. The members select work from all mediums by artists of the Art League and Torpedo Factory for an installation.

My recycled glass work (Infinity) was selected by Ms. Jane Redmon. Ms. Redmon has taught classes in Sogetsu Ikebana for over 30 years, privately, and at the Smithsonian Associates, the World Bank, and the Library of Congress. She has presented demonstrations to many ikebana groups and garden clubs, including the Ikebana International Chapters in Baltimore, Maryland; Naples, Florida; Dallas, Texas; Chinook, Montana; and the Washington, D. C. Chapter. She has participated in exhibitions in the Washington, D.C., area, as well as at the 1996 Ikebana International World Convention and at Sogetsu and Ikebana International conferences in the United States.

I was fortunate to be in the show two years ago and look forward to seeing the stunning minimalistic arrangements again.

According to Wikepedia, Ikebana is the "Japanese art of flower arrangement, also known as kadō (華道?, the "way of flowers".

"More than simply putting flowers in a container, ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Contrary to the idea of floral arrangement as a collection of particolored or multicolored arrangement of blooms, ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws emphasis toward shape, line, form. Though ikebana is a creative expression, it has certain rules governing its form. The main rule[citation needed] is that all the elements used in construction must be organic, be they branches, leaves, grasses, or flowers. The artist's intention behind each arrangement is shown through a piece's color combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, and the usually implied meaning of the arrangement."

"Another aspect present in ikebana is its employment of minimalism. That is, an arrangement may consist of only a minimal number of blooms interspersed among stalks and leaves. The structure of a Japanese flower arrangement is based on a scalene triangle delineated by three main points, usually twigs, considered in some schools to symbolize heaven, earth, and man and in others sun, moon, love. and earth. The container is a key element of the composition, and various styles of pottery may be used in their construction."

The Dragonflies are Progressing!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Call to Recycled Glass Artists for Sculpture Entries!!!

Please see for more details.

There are two opportunities for artists for potential inclusion in the first book on Recycled Glass Sculpture.

1)Recycled Glass Sculpture Call-open to all recycled glass artists worldwide.

2)Photos of Discarded Glass in the Environment Call--open to all photographers worldwide.

Email me at for a doc.x copy of either prospectus.

Upcoming Opportunity for Recycled Glass Artists

I will soon be posting an exciting opportunity for recycled glass artists! Stay tuned for more information.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Facebook Group for Recycled Glass Artists

I just set up a group called "Recycled Glass Artists" on Facebook. It is open to artists who work with recycled glass in warm applications (kiln-cast or kiln-fused); hot applications (blown glass); or in cold applications (stained glass, etc).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

15 Things an Artist Should Never Say

The ArtBistro newsletter has an interesting article on "15 things an Artist should never say."

The top 5 were as follows:

1) I am an artist, not a business person!

2) "No" to a project out of fear of a challenge.

3) I'm a failure because I have never sold anything.

4) I'm an artist, not a computer geek!

5) You can have it! (for free)

I would rank saying "I can't do that" in the top 5 but it was listed as #15 in the article. Remember as artists, we always have options and are in control of our own careers and schedules. If you cannot create that masterpiece in three days as requested, explain to your potential client what goes into your work, your process, your expertise, your schedule, etc. Then suggest an alternate reasonable timeframe. And remember, always use a basic contract for all commissioned work and obtain 50% of the estimated project costs upfront.

The other ten things and more information can be found in the original article at:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cold Working a Casting-Part Two

In a prior post, I showed a photo of the cloudy edge left on a cast dragonfly after I used a wet tile saw to trim off the excess glass. I also need to sandblast to remove all the plaster embedded in the glass. Before sandblasting it, I placed the edges, then the bottom of the piece on a wet belt sander to even out any sharp or rough edges that might remain. This was not an easy task since the casting is large and heavy.

Now I am ready to sandblast. You can see where I have placed the dragonfly inside the blast cabinet. I use black beauty blast media since it has little to no silica in it. However, you still need to wear a protective mask (not a paper one) and have eye protection since small bits of the media does escape any blast cabinet.

This photo shows the glass with about 80% of the blasting completed. It takes about 10-15 minutes to sandblast it properly. You do have to start and stop blasting in order to turn the work around and upside down. It will look darker in color due to the black basting media. After blasting, you need to thoroughly scrub and hand wash the glass.

This is a photo of the glass after cleaning and still wet. It looks darker that it actually is and will lose that shiny color once dry.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Article on "The Greening of the Local Arts Scene"

Thanks to Helen Ely and the group Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment for mentioning my public art grant project in their winter newsletter. The article highlights several Arlington county artists who work with recycled materials.

A PDF version of the article can be downloaded at

This group is also hosting a Green Living Expo on March 20, 2010. I have donated two recycled glass paperweights for their raffle (see photo above). More information on this unique event is at

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Recycled Glass Lamp Project

One of the good things about being inside so much during all of these snowstorms in the Washington, DC area is that I get to catch up on researching how various artists are working with recycled glass.

I came across this talented artist from California on the Warm Glass Board ( and I think her level of originality and combination of techniques are amazing. Here is a video on how she makes her lamps.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What is Plate Glass?

I also use a type of glass called "Plate" glass. Plate glass is defined as "a type of glass which is cast in a solid plate, typically through a roller process. The resulting glass is extremely flat and free of distortions. This type of glass is often used to make windows, and it is also utilized in the manufacture of mirrors, tables, and other objects which require extremely flat glass. There are a variety of different weights of plate glass available, ranging from incredibly thick and highly durable plate glass to more delicate varieties." (source:

I usually distinguish standard home window glass from the thicker plate window glass that one would see used in commercial buildings. Plate glass can be seen in auto windows, tabletops, storefronts, showers, or as shelf glass. It is great to cast with since you have large pieces you can break and stack vertically in mold (slightly angled in towards the middle of the mold center) as opposed to the very small puzzle sized pieces of tempered glass.

Here is a video from YouTube showing how plate glass made.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How Glass Bottles Are Made

Although I use recycled glass in my artwork, did you know that most bottles also have a high recycled glass content since glass can be endlessly recycled? The more recycled glass a manufacturer uses to create a bottle, the greater the energy savings. Some bottles have as much as 90% recycled glass content.

Here is an interesting YouTube video on how glass bottles are made.

Next Steps in the Work on the Castings

Here are some of the next steps in cold working one of my recycled cast glass dragonflies. First, always wear some sort of gloves when using a wet tile saw. I found some lightly padded but non-bulky gloves at Home Depot.

Since I chose to use tempered window glass (which disintegrates into thousands of tiny puzzle sized pieces after you break it), it is impossible to stack the tiny pieces high enough so that they do not move and overflow the edge of the plaster mold. After the first kiln firing (and note that the glass is no longer tempered after this time), I stack more of the glass into any depressions in the mold and fire it again. You can see the excess glass below which must be trimmed off with a wet tile saw. This is an extreme case example below since there is not typically this much glass overflow.

After using a wet tile saw that I filled with water and having it drench me each time I used it, I bought a Ryobi wet tile saw. It allows you to hook it up to a water source (or an alternate pump source). The water only drips on the saw blade and it is easy to use and fairly mess free. Be sure to get a non-segmented saw blade made for ceramics or glass.

I use the wet tile saw to carefully trim off the excess glass around the edges. If there is a sizable piece of excess to trim off, I trim it off in sections versus removing the entire piece all at once. Most of the excess glass is not very thick. After some use, it is easy to become skilled with the wet tile saw and use it almost as a grinder to evenly cold work the piece. But you need to do all of this slowly and let the saw blade do the work. After trimming the excess glass, you can see the cloudy area below where the saw touched the glass. This can be easily fixed with sandblasting which will be covered in the next post.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bottle Tree Ranch

Here is another YouTube video on some interesting artistic uses of recycled glass bottles.

Bus Stop Sculpture Using Recycled Green Bottles

I love this bus stop sculpture created by Artist Aaron Scales. The sculpture is located in Lexington, Kentucky (my original home state). I would not mind waiting for my daily bus at a bus stop like this!

For more information, please see

A Recycled Bottle Glass Tree

It is also possible to reuse bottles and create sculpture without the use of a kiln. This interesting video from YouTube shows the making of a bottle tree with lights. I believe this artist is also based in Virginia.