My Books

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

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Fun Test to Determine If You Are Left Brained or Right Brained

There are 50 questions and the test provides a lot of detailed analysis of your results.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Creative Personality

I read an article recently that addressed the topic of creative personality characteristics. I thought this list of top ten factors was fairly accurate.

10 Traits that Contribute to the Creative Personality

From “Understanding Creativity,”

by John S. Dacey and Kathleen M. Lennon

1. Tolerance of Ambiguity – The inclination to find strangeness interesting or exciting rather than frightening.

2. Stimulus Freedom – Breaking free from assumptions about a specific situation, i.e. “thinking outside of the box.” (Nine dots, to be connected by only four lines, with pencil never leaving the paper).

3. Functional Freedom – Imagining how objects can be used for different purposes than originally intended.

4. Flexibility – Open to the world, open to change, and prepared to bring about change.

5. Risk Taking – Willingness to take risks and chances, to depart from a sense of security.

6. Preference for Disorder – Predilection for disarray, complexity and asymmetry.

7. Delay of Gratification – The willingness to endure the stress of prolonged effort so as to reap higher pleasures in the long run.

8. Freedom from Sex-Role Stereotyping – The view that creative capability is given by nature and capable of exerting its influence automatically regardless of biology.

9. Perseverance – The capacity to endure frustration and obstacles that might ordinarily be thought overwhelming; related to the autotelic personality.

10. Courage – Passionately pursuing a creative endeavor regardless of consequences

Read the article at the following link:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another Use for Recycled Glass: Fiberglass

According to, "Fiberglass refers to a group of products made from individual glass fibers combined into a variety of forms. Glass fibers can be divided into two major groups according to their geometry: continuous fibers used in yarns and textiles, and the discontinuous (short) fibers used as batts, blankets, or boards for insulation and filtration. Fiberglass can be formed into yarn much like wool or cotton, and woven into fabric which is sometimes used for draperies."

"Fiberglass textiles are commonly used as a reinforcement material for molded and laminated plastics. Fiberglass wool, a thick, fluffy material made from discontinuous fibers, is used for thermal insulation and sound absorption. It is commonly found in ship and submarine bulkheads and hulls; automobile engine compartments and body panel liners; in furnaces and air conditioning units; acoustical wall and ceiling panels; and architectural partitions."

Owens Corning is one of the largest users of recycled glass in the world and it has the highest level of certified recycled content among all fiberglass insulation producers in the United States at a minimum of 50 percent.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Park in England: Design Error or Recycled Glass Problem?

I came across this article about a park in England that replaced their traditional playground equipment with these tall concrete Plinths (narrow concrete columns)to be used as stepping stones. These tall stepping stones were covered with bits of recycled glass (mosaic technique I assume). Now the park in the the process of removing this decorative recycled glass surface since it was sharp and could cause injury to the children.

My questions:

1.) Why would one cover any surface that babies, toddlers and children are not only stepping on but also likely to hold on to as well, with a broken, sharp and slippery surface material like glass?

2.) These plinths look like tall narrow concrete columns on which children's feet would barely fit. This is an improvement over standard swings and monkey bars?

The real problem to me seems to not be the recycled glass but simply very, very poor design and function.
Read the story at : news/england/wear/8694116.stm

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bottle Temple in Thailand

According to the article at, there are more than 1.5 million recycled glass bottles in the Wat Pa Maha Chedio Kaew temple. The temple is in Thailand’s Sisaket province, about 370 miles northeast of Bangkok.

"The bottle-collection-turned-building started in 1984, when the monks used them to decorate their shelters. The shiny building material attracted more people to donate more bottles, until eventually they had enough to build the temple standing today. Bottle caps are also integrated as decorative mosaic murals. Going beyond use of glass as a sustainable building material, the bottle bricks don’t fade, let natural light into the space and are surprisingly easy to maintain. So if you’re looking to find Nirvana in a bottle, you might want to consider making a stop at the Wat Pa Maha Kaew Temple."

You can read the full story and see more photos at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Recycled Glass as a Sandblasting Abrasive

I came across this article on recycled glass as a sandblasting abrasive.

Recycled-Glass Abrasive Gets Nod from Navy

Novetas Solutions LLC announced that a new production facility for its abrasive product New Age Blast Media® has been added to the Department of the Navy’s Qualified Product Listing under MIL-A-2262B. The abrasive media is composed of 100% recycled crushed glass, the company says.

With the approval, the Navy has approved two New Age Blast Media production facilities under MIL-A-22262B. The sites are the new facility at Sewell, N.J., near Philadelphia, and a plant at Chester, Va., near Richmond. The Virginia plant QPL approval was granted in March, the company says.

The abrasive media can be used on ships, tanks, vehicles, and other types of equipment that require dry or wet abrasive blasting, Novetas Solutions says. The recycled-glass media is reported to contain no free silica and no heavy metals nor toxic compounds.

“The Navy guidelines to gain QPL approval are rigorous and extensive,” the company said in announcing the addition to the listing. “These rules encompass both the abrasive itself and the production facility.” The company said the capability survey for a plant includes a site visit and analysis of the plant’s operational process and capacity.

Novetas Solutions says either plant can ship to all U.S. military bases and federal or state agencies anywhere in the world, adding that the New Jersey plant has shipped blast media to many states in the country including U.S. military facilities in Hawaii, and to bases in Japan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The company says glass used to make the abrasive media is often diverted directly from landfills, adding that the Virginia facility draws a significant amount of its recycled glass from Canusa-Hershman Recycling of Virginia, described as a single-stream recycling plant that takes in recycled glass from most of northern Virginia.

A significant amount of the Virginia recycled glass will serve as the raw material for blast media to be used in the shipyards of Norfolk, Va., Novetas Solutions says.

For more information:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Symbolism of "Destination"

The countdown till the completion of the installation in late June begins and I can hardly wait!

This message driven “green” project consists of forty (40) kiln-cast recycled glass dragonflies that are flying towards a center pond vessel of brown/tan concrete with glass bits. The glass came from numerous free sources such as freecycle and individual businesses.

Dragonflies in various cultures have a positive symbolism conveying renewal, change, and activity. Since the dragonfly lives a short life, it knows it must live its life to the fullest in the shortest time.

The dragonflies vary in size and color which signifies that we all come in different colors and sizes. A few have elongated necks to symbolize younger dragonflies (children/teenagers) that have not “fully grown” into their wings. Yet, all the dragonflies share a common experience in that they are flying towards a center “destination.” This destination for them is a pond but for each of us, it is something different. The number forty signifies maturity and completion of a test or trial.

Process wise, my forty dragonflies are each unique and were created from forty original hand sculpted clay models. These clay models were cast in a mixture of plaster and silica and after setting the clay was removed and the mold was cleaned. Special frits were added to broken compatible recycled glass to give each one a consistent but different appearance. The glass was slowly fired up to a temperature over 1550 degrees and the glass was removed after cooling. It was then cold-worked with a tile saw to remove uneven glass overflow.

The final glass castings had to be hand sanded and sandblasted to give them their final appearance which I refer to as a “prehistoric modern” look. A number of the dragonflies were then placed back into the kiln for an additional two or three day firing with enamels that were applied to the wings and body. The dragonflies averaged 3 to 8 days of work which included the time in the kiln.

I work with recycled glass because I feel that I am creating a balance in the environment. I am taking something out of the environment, granted a discarded material (a negative) and returning it back to the environment as a positive and a sense of balance is achieved.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fairlington Day-May 15, 2010 Utah Park (11 AM-3 PM)

This is the only event where you can get an advance look at a couple of the cast recycled glass dragonflies before they are installed in Barcroft Park in June!

I will be outside at one of the tables with a model of the upcoming 40 piece recycled glass installation. I will also have two finished dragonflies and can explain the casting process, show sample frits and enamels and be available to answer questions about the uses of recycled glass in art applications.

Join us on May 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for this fun neighborhood event, complete with food, face painting for the kids, and games for everyone! Celebrate Fairlington and help dedicate the new picnic shelter and grill at Utah Park. All residents are invited.

Get free hot dogs and soft drinks while supplies last. Purchase a Fairlington t-shirt for just $10 and show your Fairlington pride!

Local organizations coming include: Fairlington MOMS Club; START (Smart Transportation Alternatives for Riders Tomorrow); the Fairlington Historical Society; Abingdon School PTA; The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) National Capital Area Chapter; and two animal rescue groups, A Forever Home and Homeward Trails.

This event is part of Arlington's Neighborhood Day. County Board members are expected to visit.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Model for the Installation

I realized I had too many castings to adequately visualize the final positions of each one without making a model. I found small felt stickers in the shape of dragonflies at a craft store and dipped them in a mixture of plaster and silica multiple times to create a mini dragonfly. Next, I painted them and sprayed on a protective acrylic spray glaze.

I cut and pieced together a large green styrofoam circle and glued it on a foam board. I then covered 40 wood popsicle sticks with foil. I already had bendable but heavier craft aluminum strips and I cut out 4 inch pieces. I bent the final third of the strip at a right angle and glued it to the bottom of each dragonfly and wrapped the other end around the top of the popsicle stick. This allowed me to adjust the dragonflies upward or downward in terms of their "flight."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Sneak Peak at One of the Completed Dragonflies-# 40

About 9 months later, my forty dragonflies are finished in terms of my studio work. I am now tracing the bottom outline on paper for each dragonfly. The county will use this tracing as a template for the metal supports.

This dragonfly is the only one I created from blue bottles (obtained from Freecycle) and it took a case of 16 bottles to create this work. After kiln firing and sandblasting, I put the cast dragonfly back in the kiln with white enamel powder sprinkled on the wings and a little cobalt blue enamel on the body. It had to be very slowly fired up to 1330 degrees and held at 1100 for 2 hours for the ramp up and again for the ramp down. It took a full 3 and 1/2 days in the kiln. If you place a large cast piece back into the kiln for enameling, 30 degrees an hour or less should be used or the piece will crack.

When the installation begins, I will post ongoing photos of the progress.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

How to Torpedo Your Art Career Before It Begins

Since it is sometimes easier to remember colorful and extreme examples of what not to do, I thought I would share this hopefully entertaining top ten list. The next ten will follow later. I do think these examples apply ONLY to a very small group of artists.

1.) Just walk into any art gallery or other business that you happen to pass by and insist they take a look at at your art work right now or carry your work! After all, why should you take the time to look at their rules for an artist portfolio submission on their website and/or make an appointment. Who cares if the business in a national clothing store and does not carry art work. They will be bowled over by your take charge attitude and confidence!

Reality Check: Being a professional artist is a career just like any other profession. Would you walk into your accountant's or doctor's office without an appointment? What if a door to door salesperson demanded that you buy their goods? You would not appreciate this tactic. Do your homework. Look at the style of the artwork of the gallery. Does your work fit the style? If the non-gallery business does not carry artwork, it is unlikely they will carry your artwork.

2.) Work no more than 2-3 hours a week on your art. After all you are so talented, you can create in a few hours what some artists might take weeks or months or years to create.

Reality Check: Work till you drop. Others are and that is why they are doing better than you are!


3.) Make it difficult for people to locate you and your artwork. Don't bother with a website. The general public will simply assume you are too busy and are hiding from your many fans. Your elusiveness will capture their attention!

Reality Check: You must have an artist website or blog with an email address and photos of your work. If someone cannot locate you in a minute, they will move onto another artist.


4.) In calls to artists, do not follow the rules spelled out in the prospectus. Solicit and even demand opportunities that are not part of the call. Ask to co-curate the exhibition or co-judge the submissions. After all, you know as much as the person who issued the call to artists!

Reality Check: To solicit other services or demand opportunities not part of the call is completely unprofessional. Your name will quickly be "mud" in the art world. It is also not an opportunity to solicit free critiques of your work. While you may ask questions concerning the rules, such as photo resolution, ask for confirmation of receipt, etc., keep it short and to the point. When I apply to calls, I submit the information and note on my calender when a notice of decision is expected to be made and I am done.


5.) Always try to show up late for appointments with art related professionals and clients. After all, they should know how extremely busy and popular you are, so they will be grateful just to bask in your presence.

Reality Check: Your art career is a business. Show up on time or a little early just as you would do in any other situation.


6.) Copy ideas and work of others. After all you cannot find the time to both create the work and come up with original ideas!

Reality Check: If you routinely lack ideas and inspiration for your art medium, then find another business or interest.


7.) Have really poor photos of your work. Make the viewer work to try to figure out what is in the photos. And if someone ever wishes to use one of your photos in a high visibility event, demand compensation.

Reality Check: You need professional images of your work. Ask around for photographer references for your medium. Certain mediums like glass require photographers with a high level of expertise since glass is difficult to shoot. And normally, you will not receive compensation for your image. You will be asked to sign a photo release documenting you own the copyright to the image. If someone is going to give you a great deal of publicity and use your artwork photo in a specific one-time venue, why ruin your chance and demand money for the photo of your work? (*This rule is not applicable to photographers who sell images since this is their work creation.)


8.) After your first attempt at creating art, view your work as the greatest work ever created. Don't do a critical assessment of what changes you could make or what you could do differently next time. Approach museums NOW and tell them of your amazing work!

Reality Check: You should do a critical assessment of each work you do. Enthusiasm is one thing but delusions are another thing. While you should not in some sense compare yourself to other individual artists, you should always be aware of what level of work is out there.


9.) Don't exhibit. After all, why should you have to develop a resume. People will beat a path to your door just by the fact that YOU created it!

Reality Check: If you do not want to put your name out in the public and be part of this competitive juried process, you will limit your chance to develop a name as an artist. Your resume is a critical part of what galleries and museums expect to review and if you have no exhibition experience, few professionals will pay attention to your work. While "outsider" artist geniuses come along on occasion, it is a rare event.


10.) Don't ever take classes to further your knowledge of your medium and art in general. After all, you work is already the best, so what do you have to learn?

Realty Check: Take an occasional class but also spend time following up after class and apply what you learned. If you can only get work done via a class, you might have difficulty accepting commissioned work and meeting deadlines.