Monday, December 10, 2018

Cape May Map Cartography in Glass Tile Smalti Mosaic

This mosaic map of Cap May is a 50th birthday present for my brother. It is based on the arial view of the Cape May coast line to include the canal and the US Coast Guard base.

cape may chart map cartography art glass Sharon Warren smalti mosaic orsoni italian
Finished Italian smalti mosaic of Cape May.

The style of this mosaic was inspired by Rachel Sager, but more closer followed the Google image map of the area. I struggled when trying to represent the main streets; their definition got lost as the mosaic filled in. Maybe I should have left a 1/16 inch gap. Quite a bit of the marsh area by the Garden State Parkway was edited out because I just ran out of room on this scale.

cape may chart map cartography art glass Sharon Warren image smalti mosaic orsoni italian
The Google image of Cape May.

I am always surprised at how long a mosaic takes to complete. I get so invested in the placement of each tiny piece of glass. I try to plan the balance of color, like framing the terra-cotta colored compass with green, its color compliment. I hoped this would give a focal point with so much gray in the land mass, but I hated it. I chiseled out the tiny bits and replaced them with deep chocolate brown bars that fade into the charcoal gray grout. It's better, I think.

cape may chart map cartography art glass Sharon Warren progress smalti mosaic orsoni italian
My progress on the Cape may mosaic. 

Finally finished. Happy Birthday Brian!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Fused Glass Wave Suncatcher Paintings

Inspired by the Japanese woodblock print The Great Wave by Hokusai, I wanted to create some glass waves.

My finished fused glass waves.

These beautiful fused glass waves were created with bits of glass frit and powdered glass.  Frit is made by crushing sheet glass and then sorting it into similar size groupings. I purchase my frit already sorted into jars cause that makes it easy. Bullseye glass in Portland offers the frit in four granulations; coarse, medium, fine and powder.

Glass frit and powdered glass.

To create each glass wave, I carefully arrange the glass frit and powder on transparent glass and temporarily fix it with hairspray. This makes it easier to transfer the painting from my desk to the kiln. The glass painting is then heated in the kiln to 1400 degF for 15 minutes to create a contoured finish.

Glass paintings ready for firing.

I think I will try a few more waves in many shades of blue.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Christmas Kokeshi and Santa Ornaments in Fused Glass

Is it ever too early to start thinking about Christmas? How about some Christmas Kokeshi and a matching Santa!

Kokeshi Santa Christmas Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Bullseye Finished
My finished Santa and Kokeshi.

After creating the pattern for the Santa, I realized I needed to make tiny glass dots for Santa noses, belt buckles and pom-poms.  To create these components, I cut glass squares in the appropriate colors and then heated them in my kiln to 1500 degF.  Glass squares melt into perfect balls, just like magic.

Frit Balls Dots Kokeshi Santa Christmas Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Bullseye
Glass squares, cut and ready to become dots.

When designing this Santa, I wanted him to match the style of my Kokeshi but also remind me of the characters from the It's a Small World ride at Disney. I love their round, happy faces! After transferring my patterns, I hand cut and shaped Bullseye sheet glass into the parts I needed. Everything gets a good washing and then it's time for assembly.

Kokeshi Santa Christmas Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Bullseye
Glass parts ready for Kokeshi and Santa.

Every ornament gets layered by hand.  Each piece of glass gets secured with a tiny drop of Elmer's glue.  The glue burns off before the glass starts to melt, but it helps keep everything together so I can carry things to the kiln.

Each Kokeshi and Santa gets a pair of tiny glass eyes and crushed glass in medium and fine granulations to create fur trim on their cute little holiday outfits.

Frit Kokeshi Santa Christmas Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Bullseye
Adding fur trim to fused glass Christmas ornaments.

I have decided that it's never too early to start getting ready for the holidays.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Making Glass Kokeshi in Okinawa

Kokeshi are handmade wooden dolls originating in Northern Japan. My kokeshi are handmade out of glass at my tiny workshop in Okinawa Japan. I drew my original pattern in 2010 when we lived in Okinawa for the first time. Moving back has given me the opportunity to create these little cuties again.

Kokeshi Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Bullseye Finished
My finished kokeshi.
Kokeshi Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Bullseye Blue
A kokeshi with a cherry blossom on her skirt.

Creating each kokeshi begins by transferring my pattern to sheet glass. I use hand rolled glass made by Bullseye in Portland, Oregon. Each piece is hand cut and then shaped with a glass grinder.

Kokeshi Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Bullseye Sheet
Bullseye sheet glass ready to be scored.

I carefully layer the cut glass and include a hook so she can easily be hung later on.  Tiny glass eyes and a petite mouth are added to her traditionally round face. The cherry blossom on her skirt is adorned with bits of crushed glass in assorted colors.

Kokeshi Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Layer
Layers of glass stacked carefully and decorated.

Each stacked glass kokeshi is transferred to my kiln where it is heated so the glass layers will bond together. These girls were fused to 1400 degF so the finished ornament will have nice rounded edges and lots of depth and texture.

Kokeshi Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto JenKen Kiln Fire
Glass kokeshi heating to 1400 degF in my kiln.

Opening the kiln after it cools is like opening presents on Christmas morning! Seeing each little kokeshi complete just makes me smile.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Fused Glass Workshop in Okinawa Japan

The US Navy has moved us from Sicily, Italy to Okinawa, Japan this past summer.  Recent moves have seen my glass workshop downsized from an expansive 2-car garage to a much smaller laundry room closet to now - a desk in the mudroom.  At least all my glass arrived unbroken.

kiln fused glass workshop japan okinawa flutterbyfoto bullseye flutterbybutterfly
My Workspace

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Anatomical Heart in Glass Tile Smalti Mosaic

This heart mosaic is a birthday present for our daughter.  It began as a wish for her to follow her heart.  As it progressed, I realized that you can't give a gift with such a huge caveat.  Instead, this mosaic heart is simply given with our love.  Happy 16th birthday Cece!

anatomical heart art glass Sharon Warren finished smalti mosaic orsoni italian
Finished Italian smalti mosaic of an anatomical heart

When I began work on this mosaic I started by reading through the heart section of my husband's anatomy books.  I'm a pretty literal person and wanted to make sure that the heart was mostly anatomically correct and my color choices didn't stray too far from how the heart works.  I spent quite a bit of time thinking and planning the project, finally painting it in watercolors to get comfortable with the shading and color gradients.

anatomical heart watercolor artist Sharon Warren smalti mosaic orsoni italian anatomy
The watercolor inspired by my reading

This was my first time working with Wedi board as a substrate.  Wedi board has a foam core and is much lighter than the wood.  It was a little difficult to sketch on but very easy to apply thinset to.  It was amazing to work with all of the colors of Orsoni Italian smalti and larger rotti.  I tried to really pay attention to the flow and size of each of the pieces, changing up the shape when it came to the background.

anatomical heart art glass Sharon Warren artist progress smalti mosaic orsoni italian
My progress on the anatomical heart mosaic

It's finished and I hope she loves it and I hope she knows how much we love her.  Happy Birthday Cece!

anatomical heart art glass Sharon Warren artist happy 16 Cece Cecelia Warren
Happy Birthday Cece!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Abstract Spiral in Glass Tile Smalti Mosaic

My first abstract art.  When I began, I didn't have a very clear idea of what the finished piece would look like.  I wanted to create a feeling of movement and rising within the confines of the high-walled box.   I loved the freedom of letting the colors just fill the spaces and discovering what the art would become.

abstract spiral mosaic smalti finished orsoni glass sun yellow blue italian italy
Finished Italian smalti mosaic of an abstract spiral

This mosaic was done inside a a slide top 6 bottle wine box.  Someone at the local wine store gave me quite a few of them for free.  It was harder than I expected to work in a box with such high sides because there was never a good place for my arms and elbows.  But I like the re-purposing of an item and getting a bonus knick knack shelf after it's complete.

abstract spiral mosaic smalti wine box orsoni glass sun yellow blue italian italy
A side view of the wine box

The shapes in the completed mosaic are based on a 2011 photo from a spiral staircase in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

abstract spiral mosaic smalti wine box spiral staircase Thailand
My husband's photo of the spiral staircase

As I began the mosaic it was hard to find a direction.  I didn't know if I should start work in the middle or begin out in the corners and work towards the center.  I randomly chose to start with the lighter mid-section hoping to get a feeling of rising, but in the beginning it looked very much like an eye. I hope that part recedes in the finished mosaic.

abstract spiral mosaic smalti progress orsoni glass sun yellow blue italian italy
My progress of the abstract spiral

There is a meditative quality to creating a mosaic that I have not found in any other medium.  It was almost therapeutic to lose myself in the tedium of placing each tiny bit.  I truly enjoyed working on this mosaic and am sorry to see it finished because I will miss spending time with it.