a delicate balance // pebbles

How would you balance an egg? And several tiny glass spheres?

a delicate balance: WiP

I allowed myself some play time in the studio last weekend and this came out of it. Of course I didn’t have quite enough time to finish it yet but I couldn’t wait to give you this first glimpse!

a delicate balance: WiP

The glass spheres balance on 1mm mandrels…just like that necklace with the sprouts I designed in class and I used the last bit of that same silver wire I had molten & pulled. They were fun to make! Juggling with molten glass… 😀

The colors are equally playful: white/black and yellow/orange/red/blue/green in both pastels and transparents, all mixed.

They’re going to be pendants & earrings.

The Pebbles now have a different personality: subtle and serene.


Preferably with a little ball chain…

I collected all the neutral colors I could find in my studio, all the variations of white glass:

pebbles in all the neutrals I could find:

1 -Vetrofond odd Belgian lace
2 -Vetrofond odd Seashell
3 -Effetre light ivory
4 -Effetre pearl grey
5 -Vetrofond Odd Pink Swirl
6 -Effetre Uranium yellow pastel
7 -Effetre avocado
8 -Effetre sage
9 -Reichenbach CoE94 Sahara
10 -Lauscha Milky Way
11 -Effetre Tongue pink
12 -Vetrofond Odd Ivory
13 -Effetre silver pink
14 -CiM Ginger
15 -Effetre pastel pink
16 -CiM Butter Pecan
17 -Reichenbach CoE 94 Champagne
18 -Effetre white (with stringer to the left) CoE 104
19 -Reichenbach CoE 94 Florence Opaque

In the end I didn’t use no.7 and no.9, as their color was a little too pronounced. So I made a bunch of tiny beads…


They will be pendants and brooches.

a delicate balance: WiP

The Napjesdrager comes to life

(also on flickr)

Here it is, my Napjesdrager, in a long overdue (and just plain looong) post, from sketch to kiln-formed result! And quite picture-heavy, sorry about that.

I worked on this project for about a little more than 3 weeks in August, from sketch to finish although it had been sitting in my head at least since 2003! Ideas have their way with me, not wanting to leave and nagging me until I give in and (try to) realize them…

Back then I didn’t have a clue about lampworking yet. I dreamt of stained glass windows in the style of C. L Tiffany, E. Burne-Jones and M. Chagall, and wondered how awesome it would be to mix the colors on the glass sheets themselves (instead of having to use existing colored and patterned sheets).

I had a 40x40cm transparent Effetre glass sheet that would be my canvas for the Napjesdrager, a face/mask with leaves. I wanted to include murrine and all sorts of lampworked elements like curvy/wavy stringers, marbles and pebbles and later on also stars and buds. As if the murrine were pointilist dots and the stringers the stroke of a brush.

Most traditional Green Men have fierce looks with their eyes and mouth wide open but I wanted my spirit to be a serene and contented one. More like a Green Buddha. And at night I had the help from a little moth fluttering all over its face! The book on the right is the “Geïllustreerde Flora van Nederland”.

On a walk through the woods nearby (Ronse, where my studio’s at, has lots! What luxury we have there…hiking trails practically starting at our front door!) I gathered leaves from all the napjesdragers I could find, and pressed them.

Filled the leaves with water color…

And decided to color the alder leaf (on its chin) purple, the same color it had turned after pressing and drying it.

I had made a bunch of murrine beforehand and seperated them by color. Each leaf has its own color code, and so began the time consuming work of placing each little bullseye or star design on their leaves. I took care not to place them too close to one another, so they had a bit of space to flow into when they were fused and so they would keep their round(-ish) form.

Some lampworked wheels and buds were needed, and of course I managed to drop & break one just before I glued it on. D’oh! You don’t want to know how much I drop and break and lose in the studio (don’t speak me of jumpy silver findings and precious stones! They seem to have plotted against me.). The speckled stone floor (you can see it in some of the photos below) doesn’t help much either. So I swear a lot when I’m in there. That gives some relief. 😉

The glue I use is just child-safe craft glue. It burns away in the kiln quite neatly, although there can be some devitrification with the smallest murrine.

napjesdrager WiP
Almost done with the leaves… Only one left to go! The murrine are on the small side, from about 1mm to 6mm diameter. Commercial murrine come typically in fixed sizes, but in pulling my own, my designs benefit more from the organic effect of variable sizes.

napjesdrager WiP
Phew, all done! Finally I could start on its eyes, mouth and stems (from bent and wavy stringers like the one of the left), and glue on the stars and buds.

napjesdrager WiP
Now what would I do with the background? I had pulled these bent stringers in colors I used for the murrine for a groovy 70’s style vortexy thing, but discovered the leaves alone weren’t strong enough to mark the face/mask. I had been rather hasty in designing the panel and had overlooked that tiny detail…oops.

napjesdrager WiP
So I decided to trace its face with cut glass rods. It made him a bit more alien and vaguely Humpty-Dumpty, but hey, I liked it. :-p

I tried out a more wall-papery background, but feared it would draw too much attention away from the fine murrine, so finally I decided on just a few stringers.

napjesdrager WiP
And so it looked before heading off to the kiln… Fusing would change the design profoundly and I was curious to see how the lampworked elements would take it.

And then it came back…



 Oh NoooOOOOOOOoooooo my baby it had cracked!!!

Was it compatibility? The heating schedule? Yeah, luckily it was just that. The cracks had happened early in the fusing process, you can tell because the rims of the cracks are rounded and have melted a little. So the temperature had raised too quickly. I had modified the schedule I used for the tiny squares, lowering the heating t° rate a bit (180°C/h) and soaking it longer in the annealing state, but apparently I should have lowered the heating rate drastically at probably 40°C/h.

My mistake.

But that isn’t the end of the story. Yes, I’m an idiot for not checking the heating schedule any better, but overall for a first “big” fusing project it did go pretty well, and I now have a schedule I’m more confident in. It was an experiment, something I made just for me…and secretly I’m relieved it is imperfect now, so I don’t have to sell it and can just keep it with me in the studio. It amuses me how attached I am to my projects! I can’t part with them, although it wanes after a while, when new projects find their way in, but at first…I’m pretty possessive. LOL.

I’m looking if I can design a standard on which the bottom side can be mounted, and the top panels can be hung. Maybe a welded steel construction or so, if I can find someone who can do that.

Poor Napjesdrager…but also: that lopsided eye just gives it more character.  Not just serene, but a tough little bugger it is now! Being cracked and still smiling…

The Effetre sheet played nice (it is said to have compatibility issues and not really fit for kilnwork), all the different lampworked elements worked well and it gave me lots of techniques for future projects: maybe using just those curved and wavy stringers in an Art-Nouveau inspired panel, or a dazzling mosaic-like work with just the cut transparent rods, and of course, lots more projects with  murrine. It’s like pointilism but even better, because I get to design the dots themselves…From far off it’s just a colored form, but you can get closer and closer to discover the details.
On my to-do list for this year (my “good intentions”) is creating letter murrine, so I can add text to the forms as well. So far I’ve made an “A”. Well, it’s a start. :-p

Next post I’m showing you some of the fused details of the Napjesdrager, who I feel is the first in a series of masks and guardians.

meanwhile, at the studio:

(click for full size)

My creativity is slowly but certainly accelerating to full speed and not a moment too soon, because there’s much work to be done! My little notebook (on the bottom right side) is bursting with scribbles and sketches and the to-do lists I’ve made make me slightly panicky…but I’m equally happy I can finally devote my time to my art, at least for the summer vacation.

The picture shows part of the microcosmos project. I’ve been lampworking some glass test “nods” and making some more green cell murrini that are going to be fused on those glass squares, and I’ve been searching for a neat stencil font for the text on the copper plates. Of course you all know what I’m talking about. 😉 Just bear with me, it will become clear soon…

Also, I’m about 1/4 librarian now. I would be excited if it weren’t for the fact that the certificate we’ll get at the end of the ride isn’t enough to land a job. Due to our silly Belgian education system, adult education and evening classes don’t equal regular education even if it’s the same level. So in fact I should get a bachelor from somewhere else…and while I love studying, I really just want to do the glass (& metal) thing. I feel like I have plenty more to tell in those media and I’m not sure if I can put my creativity on hold for some more years of full time studying…What to do?

Well, to be continued…

Win a free necklace (yup, again!) & Kasseifeesten in Zegelsem/Brakel

Op zaterdag 20 en zondag 21 september 2008 doe ik mee aan de tentoonstelling tijdens de Kasseifeesten in Zegelsem! Dit is het plannetje voor de avontuurlijken onder jullie… 😉
Als ik meer informatie vind over de andere exposanten dan laat ik het nog weten, maar het ziet er alvast een mooie mengeling uit van keramiek, textiel, glas, zilver en verf!

En natuurlijk moeten we dit vieren met een juweel! Deze ketting kun je winnen als je commentaar achterlaat (met je email adres) op dit blogbericht (kijk onderaan dit bericht). Als’t echt niet lukt stuur je me maar een mailtje op artemissne [at] aarghh [punt] be. Reageren kan tot aan de Kasseifeesten (20/09/2008)! Men zegge het voort! 😉

Deze ketting is de enige in zijn soort (tenminste van mijn hand): helemaal van glas -maar geenenkele parel is door mij gemaakt (oh nee!), het zijn stuk voor stuk Tsjechische gefacetteerde glasparels die door vuur gepolijst werden…Het is als Swarovski maar zonder de naam, wel met evenveel pit!

Durf jij zoveel rood te dragen? 😉

Free necklace! 😀

Hello all, I’m participating in the Kasseifeesten -which is exciting if you’re in Belgium. If you’re not, no worries, you still have the chance to win this fierce necklace! Just leave a comment or if you don’t know how to, mail me at artemissne [at] aarghh[dot] be. You have time until the start of the Kasseifeesten Sept. 20!

This necklace doesn’t have any of my own glass beads (gasp!) but consists of gorgeous Czech red and bloodorange faceted glass beads. So show your fierceness and give me a shout! 😀

droomtijd – new blog in the making

You know, that question about what inspired me & I couldn’t answer (a couple of weeks ago when I got interviewed on the indiego), it kept haunting me. Actually it is something that I’ve been wanting to map out for myself for a long time, only I didn’t realize it until I was asked that question…

I had started my little colors/play project site with the new release of my homepage earlier this year which is a nice litte gateway into my inner world, but I haven’t found the time to update much. It takes too long, playing with the webdesign and the graphics/photos… I just didn’t have time! How cruel.

So I thought to make it a little easier on me, and start a blog for it: droomtijd... there I have all the practicality of wysiwyg and my blogger account and the wonderful world of tagging, so no more losing bits of paper with ideas jotted down, everything scattered all over the place, no more excuses! 😀 And as the blog progresses I can add the “best of” of it to my site, as I plan to do with my studio tales (not much tales yet, sorry).

I was surprised that the blogname, droomtijd, wasn’t taken yet. It’s Dutch for dreamtime, or even the Dreaming which I knew was an Aboriginal idea. It is fundamental to their spirituality and has to do with both the creation of the world in their creation myths and the place (not physical) where (Aboriginal) artists find their inspiration. Or at least that’s what I made of it after visiting an exhibition on Aboriginal art years ago.
And I just love the sound of it. Almost wished I could have come up with it before, as my “official” (blog) name is as vague and as misty as possible…which was what I was going for at the time.

By the way, I will explain about artemissne, my art’s name, later. (it’s not that exciting though) Maybe in the new blog, that seems to be appropriate.

Anyway, I’ll let you know when I’ve posted anything of substance in there. It may be a couple of weeks before that happens, have got to survive some exams first (library school…) and also a photoshoot by Patrick next sunday! He’s got something mightily decadent planned…oh dear! :-p

proudly presenting…

…my very own webshop! Its URL is http://artemissne.dawanda.com [CLOSED since jan 2010, check www.aarghh.be!!].

I’ve been preparing it for a while now, since organizing isn’t my best point… and finally uploaded the first items yesterday! That felt good, I felt really accomplished. LOL.

For now I’m hosting just a handful of goods, but I plan to add more the next days, as I design and make them. I try to go for a nice range of jewels and prices so it appeals to most of you. One thing I hope to add soon are some “necklaces with a cause”, like the t(h)ree sisters where I donate part of the profit to a good cause. Well, trees and kitties for starters!

The site that hosts the webshop, Dawanda, can be described as some sort of “Ebay for artists” -without the bidding though; you’ll only find handmade goods there. Go have a look, stroll through its catalogue to see what they can offer, or play with coloranda to find items in a certain color… but be warned, this can be quite addictive!

earthy leafy aarghh…

De nieuwe site is er! Het was bijna een jaarlijks ritueel om het uitzicht en deels ook de inhoud van aarghh te veranderen/verbeteren, maar deze keer denk ik dat het wel wat langer in deze vorm gaat blijven!

Jippie, the new & improved website is finally online! I’ve worked on it since november or so, only never full time, just bits and pieces that I was finally able to glue together last week. (Being down with flu can give all sorts of inspirations…!)
And I love the new look! Well, I’d better because I worked hard on it… it’s earthy and organic and tactile …and more importantly, you can finally surf through the whole thing without ending up before closed doors: web pages I intended to make or to finish since aeons but never quite got to it, or getting lost in the forest where I had just pages opening up to new realms, with links on it that didn’t get you home again unless you used your browser’s back button all the time… Nope: some structure, at last! Yay.

You know, a personal website can be organic, growing in certain places and retreating in others…mine started out as a challenge: when I finally got internet in 2001, Lotte asked me jokingly when my site would be online…I was so surprised, had hardly gotten my toes wet, still marveling at everything I encountered (“oh look, an animated gif!!!” -you know…) when she patiently taught me the basics and some photoshop and then suddenly…I ended up on aarghh. :-p The website sure has been a playground for me ever since!
I have the feeling this new coat is a keeper -the looks and contents have changed quite often over the years because the purpose of the site changed, in 2001 I wouldn’t have dreamt I’d be where I am now and so the site changed from personal growth/survivor page into this artist site. And it feels damn good. 😉

One little project within the site is play, where I got to put some of the remains of the site’s former form. It’s just a start but I’m having lots more wild ideas for it (well, what’s new! LOL): colour as an affect, an archetype of something, as a sound and a smell…

P.S. I don’t have all the English translations up yet, on the bio page and the one on the jewelry collections, sorry about that! Working on it. 😉