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.

…and the winner is:

Comment number 7, which proved to be by Annick! Woohoo, congratulations!!! 😀

And to the others, thanks so much for joining in!

This contest was such a fun thing to do, I enjoyed it very much… I should do this more often, don’t you think? 😉

And to more good news: my jewelry box has been found!!! With pretty much everything in it and intact! My mom heard it from a neighbour who knew the woman who had collected it & kept it untouched in her hall until my mom went to retrieve it… utterly amazing, isn’t it? 😀
I will create something special for her… 🙂

And now we’re on this wave of fate and randomness, all sorts of luck: I found a bookcrossing book yesterday, in town! Completely by accident… One about an Egyptian queen, Nefertiti, in French…it has been traveling for 1 1/2 years, from the Auvergne in France. And I’m going to release it in the wild again very soon -you have guessed it: at the Markt van Morgen next week! (So I’m trying to read as fast as I can, LOL!)

And to finish, this is a little sneak preview for the market, starring my two models Trixie and Killer! :-p

I got featured in the Dawanda Shop Directory blog!

Thank you Sara! 😀

-She works with textures, both in fabric and paper, has a shop on etsy, dawanda and her own site AND manages (among others) to maintain the Dawanda Shop Directory blog all by herself and writes for DIY City Mag!

Actually, I got featured last Monday but with the loss of my jewelry I didn’t really feel like announcing this lovely news…

But now almost a week has passed and I had my final exam for library school yesterday (it went fine, thanks for asking!). I have also been creating some new necklaces and earrings last week for the”light” collection of duizendbloem…really needed to do that!

And no, the box and the jewelry is still missing and I shouldn’t hope on ever finding it or getting it back. But at least I have pictures of most, and some of them were used in Patrick’s photoshoot last sunday so at least I have something beautiful to remember them by. Luckily I’m not a materialist, although the whole thing has made me a cranky idealist. I miss them!

That said, I have an art market in a bit more of a month and I’m planning to make the best of it!

Oh, P.S. de schele Rosse is now called Jack, or even Jack the Sixth! He’s doing better, although it will take a long time before his cut will heal.

nope, nothing.

Of course it wasn’t at the lost & found both at the station and the police. And no, my name or address isn’t on it, apart from my stamp on the silver (which just holds my initials). It wasn’t meant to be anywhere but in my backpack.

In a way it’s a compliment…LOL. Not to be brought to the lost & found right away. If I’d find a box full of mysterious jewelry I’d probably want to play with it for a bit first, before reporting it. And I’d be so decent to report it… not sure if I can expect the same from others. Well, the police have my phone number -I did what was needed.

And with that storm we had with heavy rainfall it might have been flushed away just as well. Seems also fitting somehow, being reclaimed by the earth…(sewers)(shh!)

I haven’t made an inventory yet, because that would be really depressing. I’ll have to shut down my Dawanda shop temporarily. Although I’m surprised it hasn’t made me as mad & hysterical as I would have feared. It is only jewelry after all…
Maybe it can’t beat my small victory in helping an old, toothless, defenseless ginger cat (who’s now happily eating & napping here). Which sounds sappy but it does put it all in perspective.
Also, it’s harsh, but I have a clean slate now. Working towards the art market in July I can develop my 4 collections equally and make a great whole.

Oh yes, I developed a fourth collection. I meant to tell you that under happier circumstances, which I will do in full tomorrow together with some other news when I’m less cranky.

And thanks for your thoughts…I appreciate it.

still nothing…

I turned my house upside down, mom her car & her house and she also drove past our route to the station to find any clues, but nothing.

So what I’ve been dreading is probably true: I left it on top of the car, we took off and it must have fallen off somewhere. Somebody might have picked it up, maybe the torrential rain from yesterday afternoon carried it away…

Can you believe it? One moment of absent-mindedness & you lose something very valuable (to yourself).

I understand how it happened, a number of unlucky coincidences. I could hit on myself for letting it happen but I won’t. Having had a couple of very busy days: library school with tests on saturday, then the train to Ronse and the photoshoot on sunday, I had left my backpack in the car and didn’t get it out after the shoot because I was too tired, monday monring we had a new front door installed and during that we went to the train station. So I had to carry all my stuff in my hands, which was a lot, the backpack still in the car, my mom had to go back to fetch her new front door keys while I waited outside with the car still locked…and I placed the bloody box on the car to relieve myself from the weight of all my things. And didn’t think about it anymore until this morning.

Well, nothing a white bordeaux from 2005 won’t solve. And this afternoon I’m starting to create new jewelry.

At least I saved a cat’s life & it all could have been much worse.

oh. shit.

Please tell me this isn’t happening…

It looks like I’ve lost my jewelry box yesterday, the one I brought to Patrick’s photoshoot. The one with all the jewelry I had made thus far. Yup, quite a lot.

I refuse to believe it, but I can’t find it back.

I know I had it before we left for the station, I know I put it on the car when my mom went to get her keys and I’m almost certain I put it in the car as well. I know I stuffed things in my backpack (which I had left in the car) and meant to put the box in it as well, but I’m drawing a complete blank as to what happened since…

Good news is though that when I got home I managed to catch de schele Rosse and my vet was able to operate on him right away. So I was busy with that all day. And de schele Rosse is fine and feels quite at home…

It was only this morning that I suddenly couldn’t remember where I had put my box…

Let’s hope I spectacularly misled it.

The strange thing is I didn’t feel anything was wrong, I even was quite relaxed which doesn’t happen that often…I usually check and double-check and still go through disaster scenarios in my head, but not so yesterday.


Can you help looking for a medium translucent light blue box please? Crammed with jewelry in seperate bags? Or pray I find it back? Thanks so much!!!