A little late Happy New Year and the many reasons I am thankful for 2019

2019 was a challenging but really fun year for me. I started the year with lots of classes, back pain, 2 estate sales and a trip to Franklin, NC to learn how to fuse glass. If you haven’t been to John C Campbell Folk School, take the chance and go. I wanted to learn everything they were teaching. Bobby Umbach gave me the knowledge and the courage to start using my kiln and fusing glass. I am still learning the whole world of kilns and the very capricious kiln gods which cause quirky things to happen to your glass while it is in the kiln.

I had some great shows that involved traveling to 2 of my favorite places – Charleston, SC and Blowing Rock, NC. In August, a friend and I marked lots of things off of our bucket lists with a trip to Barcelona, Ireland, and Venice. I visited mosaic sites, glass manufacturers, and mosaic artists in all 3 places and was just stunned by the beauty of the mosaics of Gaudi and the St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice.

The fox in the picture above, was my ode to Ireland. While driving down the Dingle Peninsula, a beautiful fox crossed the road in front of us and turned around to watch us drive by. I had to immortalize him when I got home. The red flowers in this piece are the crocosmia which grow wild everywhere in Ireland. In Listowel, Ireland, I met a mosaic artist who I have long admired, John (Solly) Sollinger. He was doing a month long residency at Olive Stack’s Gallery. In March, 2020, I am going to Michigan to take a class from Solly. Seeing his work up close and hearing his descriptions made me decide that I have to go while he is on this side of the country.

2020 is looking like a fun year for teaching classes and taking classes. I am teaching a few new classes and techniques this year so look for the new schedule of classes coming on Monday. I hope to see lots of you either in class or at shows. I have applied for several shows and should have my show schedule confirmed in the next month or so. Thanks for checking out my website and hope to see you soon. Karen

Santas and Snowmen Mosaic Ornament Class

On Thursday, November 30th, I had a great class for 20 fun loving, creative students. We made 2 mosaic Christmas ornaments each. It was so much fun to see what each of the students made. They were all wonderfully creative and different. Here are some of the ornaments that they made.

Here are the grouting instructions for those who wanted to grout their ornaments:

Grouting Instructions

Once your glue is dry, you will grout your project. You can buy grout at Lowes or Home Depot. You want to buy a sanded grout. The premixed is not as good as the dry. For glass on glass projects, I usually use the charcoal grout from Home Depot. Home Depot and Lowes both have charcoal but the Home Depot version is darker and closer to black.

Always wear a mask when mixing grout. You do not want to breathe the grout dust into your lungs.

Start with a smaller amount of water and add more as needed. You want it to be thick like peanut butter consistency. Once you have it at the right consistency, cover with a damp paper towel and let it sit for 10 minutes before using. There is a chemical reaction that has to happen in that time. When it finishes slacking during this 10 minutes, it will be almost cookie dough consistency. Stir it up again after the 10 minutes has passed. Once it is ready, spread it over your glass, filling all of the gaps. Let it sit for a few minutes until there is a haze over the grout. Then wipe it off with paper towels first. Then continue wiping gently until the majority of the grout is off of the glass. I will let it sit for about 15 – 20 minutes after this so it dries some. Then you can use a paintbrush to brush off the dry sandy grout. After a few hours, you can buff your glass with a soft cloth. If needed, I use Qtips dipped into a vinegar water mixture to clean the glass. I mix the vinegar and the water 50:50. This will shine and thoroughly clean the glass. Buff it well with a soft cloth.

Stained Glass Mosaic Meetup

Last night was my Meetup group’s first class.  We met at Red Clay Ciderworks in South End Charlotte.  What a great place!  The staff are very accomodating and the cider is amazing!  One of the favorites was the Hallo Pina which is flavored with Jalapeños and Pineapple.  Sound strange but yummy.  We made Pumpkin and Leaf mosaics.  It was so fun to see what each person came up with.  They were all different even though they started with the same basic materials.  Next month’s Meetup is back at Red Clay and we are making mosaic Christmas ornaments.  Hope to see you there!  Here is the Mosaic Christmas Ornament Class Link