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
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