Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I've been meaning to post this photo since I got back from Santa Fe. This is a lampwork vessel made by my friend Karen Elmquist. I made the bronze collar and chain and sent them to Canada, where she lives. She then used her grinder to shape the vessel's top to fit my collar. It was weird, yet fun to collaborate with someone who lives far away. It was interesting to see what would become of the part that I did and how it would relate to what she created. I liked it. I need to make the collars much bigger as she makes wonderfully large beads and the throat of this one had to be ground quite small to accommodate the bronze. I like it though, especially since she made the bead with one of my favorite flowers, foxglove. I'm looking forward to doing more of these with her. I finally decided to post this today, because both of Karen's submissions into the Bead Dreams competition at the Bead and Button Show were accepted. Well done, Karen! Go to her blog and check them both out.



Well, not quite yet, but soon. Mmmm, strawberries and vanilla ice cream.......... Sorry, I forgot what I was saying for a second. Anyway, it's spring here in Iowa, and it's been a beautiful one so far. In a few weeks we start being able to grow and buy all of the wonderful things that the Midwest has to offer. Already, my Dad and sisters had a batch of the wonderful, mysterious, most delicious, amazing Morel mushrooms. Can you believe they didn't save me any? I'm heading out tomorrow, hopefully to the lake to search for some of my own(wish me luck!). Anyway, while it's not quite strawberry season yet, I thought I'd share this photo that I took on I-380 South the other day. I took this while driving (my bad!). That's something you don't see every day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Dear Earth, thanks for giving us a nice place to live. Sorry about the mess, we'll try to do better.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Chris's pieces turned out really well. I especially liked the mint green one with the super nova in the middle. It reminds me of the meteor from the other night.

Good job Alice, as always! Love that orchid enamel from Thompson.

Of course, David can always be expected to do something unexpected! He brought this sunflower-shaped piece of copper to class. He cut it out on his band saw, I think. He's a very creative soul indeed.

Last Thursday night, I taught an enameling class at Bead Haven. As always, I am amazed at the curiosity and creativity of my students. I feel really lucky to have mostly those kinds of folks as my students. In my enameling classes I like to show several ways that the pieces can be fired. We use a butane torch for the smaller pieces, an Ultra-Lite kiln (which is a small, inexpensive table top kiln), and an electric kiln with a digital controller (ie. a PMC kiln) for the larger ones. I want students to be able to go home and be able to start enameling right away. Most people aren't going to rush out and buy a kiln, or even an Ultra-Lite, but many already have a butane torch, or can afford to get one. I think it's really important to figure out ways to keep art from being cost prohibitive. Of course, if I do my job, students will eventually want to buy every tool out there!
Enameling is a funny thing, in that it's really easy to learn the basics, but would take a lifetime to master (if then!). I learn a lot every time a get the enamels out and play, and it's cool to think of what might come next. I have so much to learn. I'm a little in love with it right now, can you tell? Ah well, back to some serious soldering tomorrow, but that's ok too. Playing with fire is never bad!

Friday, April 16, 2010


I'm still amazed to have seen the meteor last night. Luckily, it was caught on tape by several sources. One of the best videos came from a police officer's dash cam. Check it out, it's way better than my silly fake meteor photo! The action is at about 25 seconds into the video.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Ok, this isn't it, but I thought we needed a visual.

Meteorites in Iowa's history.

About an hour ago, I was watching the news with Paul. I happened to glance out the window and just then I saw a really bright light in the northern sky. At first I thought it was the University's medical helicopter. I told Paul that it was way too low and I sort of braced for an explosion. Thankfully that never came, but I couldn't figure out what it was. There was no noise, just a really large bright light. About 5 minutes later the news reported that people all over Iowa had seen it and now on Google News it's being reported that it was a large meteor that broke up over the Midwest. It was seen all over Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
When I was searching Google tonight, I found some cool stuff about about meteors in Iowa. In February 25, 1847, the Iowa legislature (at the capital, which was at that time in Iowa City) was signing the bill that established the University of Iowa. As they were signing it they were startled by very loud explosions to the north. It turns out that a large meteor broke up over Linn County causing the commotion. The meteor, now known as the Marion Meteor is on display at the Old Capital. I think I'll go over and look at it.