Raku ofn finally fired up!

Finally fired up the prototype Oven (Icelandic: Ofn) firedupand everything was going smoothly… around 800f the kiln shelf cracked. Thankfully I had set it on a tripod configuration so everything remained stable. The pyrometer seemed to have difficulties at certain temps or staying on. Not sure what was up there- need to check the booklet that came with it. I would occasionally get an OL reading and turn it off then back on – it would start up again. It took approximately 1 hr to reach 1523f  a bit longer than I like, but the speed is also what caused the shelf to crack! That said, I let everything burn at 1523 for a good 20+ minutes, glowing orange-white I decided the time had arrived. 

Turned off the propane tank, removed bricks, etc., etc. then gently placed the bulbs and forms into the garbage can seen in the video. threw more shredded paper on top and put the lid on. Other items went into a stinky Obvarra mix I had fermenting for several days. PeeYooza! It stunk like cat barf (and I know what that smells like all too well) then when the roasting ceramic hit the mixture it let off a fume like, WHOA. Nasty death ocean fish from the darkest slime pit. Awful. Anyways, I carefully pulled out the Obvarra’d items and put one into the garbage can and threw shredded wood on top- lid closed. Wait.

Now I smell like a campfire! Time to shower- again and head into town! I have classes to teach! :)

Thank for stopping by….

Kickstarter thank YOUs, Iceland & more

55 backers pledged $5,695 to help bring this project to life! That said, I didn’t receive the full amount shown. Kickstarter takes a percentage plus, the credit card companies take a percentage, then there were banking issues.. you name it, obtaining this funding hasn’t been easy but it is no less appreciated! Massive gratitude for taking this campaign over the goal amount!

Thank you xoxoxoxox!!

Go∂ar: Charles Teran!! Charlie!!!!! My cousin! Super generous. :) Thank YOU SO much for your support and believing in this adventure.
Valkyries:  Melissa Cable!!!
Elves: Kris Bovenizer!!! Brigitte Martin!!
Jötnars aka GIANTS!: Heather Thorkelson!! Jodi Tanenbaum!! Beth Cyr!! Laura Hale!! Lauren Falkenberry!! Clare Stoker!! Wendy McLean! Eric Brink!
Rán aka Sea Goddesses!: Debbie Ritchie!! Aaron Bickle!! Nick (my neighbor!) Isaac kay & Riko O!! Russell Moore! Beverly Terán! Sarah Gravel!
Huginn & Muninn: Sarah Breivis! Caitlyn Davey! Eric Brink! Catherine Winter! Isaac, Mike Betts! Aldo Pacheco! Patricia Davidson (aka PattiCakes!!) Nia Phillips! Julia Creet! Jeanne O’Connell! Johnny M! Ronald P!
The Norns: Allegra Sleep! Ceeb Wassermann! Laura Bracken! David White! Sylvia Schmidt! Tara Brennigan!

And the friends that helped support for no reward!
  • Zoe Zimmerman
  • Tony Abeyta
  • Devon Mallory
  • Mona Cormier
  • Nancy Nelson
  • William Taggert
  • Shawne Keevan
  • Marcela Lopez
  • Theresa Kwong
  • Andy Erne
  • David Berti
  • James Whitehurst
  • Jill Edmondson
  • Natalia Kaplan
  • Kerin Rose
  • Tim Nero
  • Laura Puska
Thank you to all the friends and colleagues that shared the campaign link through social media! Thank you to the ICCT for sharing the campaign link! Thank you to the Glass Art Association of Canada for sharing the campaign link on their website and in their Newsletter! Thank you to Urban Glass for allowing me some time in your amazing studios! Thank you MoMa staff for the Visitor Pass to Bjork’s exhibit and thank you for bringing me to the head of the line! Thank you, Pnut [not sure you’ll read this ;)] for always having your paw on my heart.
Thank you, Andrei for putting up with the tears, fears, anxiety, late nights and early mornings, and hugs!
Towards the end of January my mother suffered several heart attacks, was hospitalized for open heart surgery -which thankfully transformed into stint surgery- then, she suffered kidney failure due to medication(s) her doctor prescribed! She is now having to undergo hemodialysis 3 times a week (in 3 hr increments) in hopes of cleaning out all toxins from her blood dialysis :(  I have offered up a kidney, if need be (I am O+). She sounds worn out (expected!) and not like herself – the self I’ve known for all these years. She lives in Northern California, I live in Toronto, Canada. :(  I won’t lie, I am anxiety ridden and have been unable to sleep through the night! Up at 4:30/5am for weeks now. I teach at night! Ha. Please send my mama loving, healing energy! She was doing so well and then this and now it is like she is falling apart, becoming thread bare.

It’s freezing out, still.

Last week I finally gathered the necessary ingredients to build a Raku kiln ‘photo-type’. 1/2″ fibre cloth, 2 cases of K23 kiln brick, fencing wire, galvanized steel waste bin, colloidal silica rigidizer plus a shelf, posts and digital pyrometer.

Kiln building supplies

Kiln building supplies

I thought I’d best construct one of these kilns while I am still in Toronto and test it; see if it reaches necessary temperatures, make adjustments, etc., before sending items ahead to Iceland and wing it there- not fully knowing if this is even going to work! And already being out-in-the-middle-of-no-where without easy access to supplies if needed!  It has been next to impossible to source materials and supplies in Iceland. Kiln brick are virtually non-existent and/or super expensive to order in plus, apparently ordered only once or twice a year and Gler.is told me I was too late (I contacted them in January!) to place an order. SoOoo, I plan to check-in luggage full of bricks. Yep. In reality the bricks really don’t weigh that much, but would cost a ridiculous fortune to ship via Canada Post.  Anyways, I started by first wrapping the fencing around the garbage bin lid. Then I cut the fencing down to the width of the fibre cloth.


Which is 24″. Checked length (twice) and cut. IMG_0332Then the painstaking job of carefully bending up the wire fencing and carefully wiring the fibre cloth to the fencing (I used high temp element wire for this) began.

This is what the kiln looked like by Friday afternoon at 4pm (below). It took me about 90 minutes to put this together. Sadly, my spray bottle for the rigidizer died and I had prior commitments to deal with so, no spraying Friday. I sprayed the rigidizer on Saturday and have been slowly allowing it to sink into the fibre cloth and dry in the small patches of sun making its way through the freezing cold cloud cover. The lengthy aspect of this kiln build seems to be time it takes for rigidizer to dry/set. Though, I suppose I could fire the thing up and that would add to the whole ‘drying’ HA!  Meanwhile…                              Actually, the rigidizer froze. :)  The rigidizer is also blue! I’m guessing PSH adds the blue so no one accidentally drinks it? I’ve never used blue rigidizer before :) Kind of wonder if it stays blue or fades as it dries..? Guess I will find out!

kiln before Rigidizer was applied

kiln before Rigidizer was applied

Rigidizer added. Kiln has been slooowly freeze-drying over the weekend. It is currently -10c outside. Brrr!! IMG_0354


March topic: “What inspires you?”

Early on I’ve always felt a bit displaced.. not of ‘this’ world. My inspiration has always come from this other place. Along the way I’ve come across or have been introduced to people, musicians, artists, writers that remind me of this other-worldliness.
Karl Gustav Jung, Joseph Campbell, Jamake Highwater, Norton Juster’s- The Phantom Tollbooth, Tove Jansson’s- Moominland Midwinter (I want to go fishing with Tooticky!), Tolkien, The Space Trilogy by CS Lewis. 

An uncle of mine was an undersea photographer in the 70’s. He worked for the US parks and services and went out on the Calypso quite often. He would visit bringing stories, amazingly beautiful gigantic colour photographs, interesting shells, etc., and share them with me. I was fascinated and wanted to dive with my uncle and Jacques Cousteau. I wanted to live in this undersea world I was learning about… As a child, pretending I was a scientist I would wade through local marshes and creek beds collecting tadpoles, frogs whatever I could find to bring home and watch grow (to my Mother’s dismay). I always had smelly Sea Monkey tanks on the go, and was super happy spending hours looking at water droplets, blades of grass, or whatever else I could literally dig up, under my microscope.
Later I would hitchhike to tide pools off of Bolinas, or Drake’s Beach (I grew up in the SF Bay Area) and spend hours observing the life forms. I was a full on nerd.
I’ve always listened to music that was not popular with my friends; TomitaKlaus Schulze
Synergy (Larry Fast), later Brian Eno.. electronic, and ambient music of the 70’s. My father inspired this!
I recently found a list online- I still own every one of these LP’s! But now, thankfully I have the majority on my iPod. Check ‘em out here! Something else my dad brought home, along with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon- when it was first released, was HR Giger’s Necronomicon. These crazy strange images inspired a whole other realm of exploration for me. Wow, the mid 70’s.. granted, I was in elementary school at the time ;)
I’m a huge fan of sci-fi novels (some listed above), and films. Several films that embedded themselves forever in my psyche are Fantastic Planet
Silent Running, and Logan’s Run. Yeah, well what can I say? Watch them and you will see how they’ve filled my work.
In elementary school and middle school I spent hours developing story boards, collecting sounds with my tape recorder, and drawing worlds I imagined and dreamt of.

Thankfully I am still doing all of this today (on a much larger scale) with my partner Andrei Gravelle (Snufkin)- who is the Senior Technical Manager of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Andrei and I have worked on several art installations together, creating soundscapes and interactive electronic pieces. Andrei is a huge inspiration! Andrei is a musician, audio engineer, photographer, and just darned handy! ;)
I should add: Andrei is also extremely supportive of me and all of my mad undertakings, aspirations and general craziness.
So, music greatly informs my work. Without it I believe I would find it difficult to travel into ‘the Zone’. I am still listening to 70’s electronica however new musical finds keep be added to the list:
The Orb
Pete Namlook
Bill Laswell
Boards of Canada
DJ Spooky
Philip Glass
John Cage
Popol Vuh
Four tet

I’ll stop there for now.. ;)
Meanwhile, please check out what inspires other Blog-O-Sphere-Think-Tankers. Thanks for stopping by!

Andes Cruz:  https://andescruz.wordpress.com

Pallavi Gandhi: https://studioat605.wordpress.com/

marie bell ::  www.pencilfox.com

Kathleen Krucoff:  https://kathleenkrucoff.wordpress.com/

Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com

Beth Cyr – http://bethcyr.com/blog/

Allegra Sleep: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/allegra-sleep.html?tab=blog

K. Skiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com

Shelagh Blatz: www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog


Þorrablót celebrations are coming up in Toronto! The ICCT hosts a fun event. I will be working it this year, too! To start the celebrations and Spring cleaning I’m having a Spring cleaning SALE with coupon code: ICELAND2015 25% off everything in my Etsy shop.

I’ve recently returned from Brooklyn and almost a month away there- yikes! I was cat-sitting, making work/finishing work at Urban Glass and having a lot of time to contemplate the upcoming residency.

Urban Glass is a dream studio! 17,000 square feet of tools and equipment for rent at amazing prices. And now a beautiful gallery hosting and selling beautiful work.

UG’s studio has a room for every process- it seems -relating to glass. A mould room, kiln room, Hotshop, Flame-working room, coldshop, lounge, offices, lockers, showers!!, a packing area, Flatshop.. you name and they have it!

looking into the Hotshop from the Mould room

looking into the Hotshop from the Mould room



IMG_4957It would be AMAZING to have a room of kilns like this! Wow.

sea goddess chopine

sea goddess chopine

I visited the Bullseye Glass resource centre in Mamaroneck- super nice people there and tons of gorgeous glass. :) AND went to the preview opening of Bjork’s MoMa exhibit. Which is amazing and honestly not to be missed, fan or not. The costumes, emotions within the work is palpable.

Bjork's Bell covered dress

Bjork’s Bell covered dress

I asked if I could take a picture or two :)

Back in Toronto I’ve gathered supplies for the Raku Kiln build! I am going to put it together here so I can fire it up and make sure everything works properly. Locating certain supplies in Iceland has been tricky, not to mention pretty much non-existant. That said, Iceland Air allows customers 2 checked bags weighing 50 pounds each so, guess what I am checking in? Kiln Bricks! Shipping to Iceland from Canada is crazy, nuts expensive! I sent 2 boxes to Iceland from Brooklyn containing supplies and some food items– weighing around 40lbs all together. This cost $90+ USD and arrived in Iceland within 4 days. The same would have run over $240CAD and taken forever to arrive and most likely without tracking! Uhhh, no. Hopefully Iceland’s Customs won’t find my brick packed bags too odd… haha ha.

Kiln building supplies 2 cases worth!

Kiln building supplies
2 cases worth!

Digital pyrometer reads Celsius & Fahrenheit

Digital pyrometer reads Celsius & Fahrenheit

Kiln building supplies

Kiln building supplies

OK back to work! I will post an update within the next week or two concerning the Raku Kiln, etc.

Thanks again for stopping by!

Studio equipment for sale


I am listing some items up for sale as I am no longer using them and rather than have them just sit around sad and collecting dust I am offering them up at great prices!

Torches: I had 3 Mega Minor torches, now I am down to 2. They are up for sale on the eBay where I am asking $160USD which is roughly $200CAD shipping runs around $22 for Expedited via Canada Post and comes with tracking and insurance.

I also have the torch(es) listed on Krrb for TO folks, as well as Craigslist.

Check it out! If you are wanting to get started in Flame-working Nortel’s Mega Minor is a fantastic jumping off point!

Nortel Mega Minor

Nortel Mega Minor

Next up I am selling the following:



AF138 Kiln/Annealer
120 volts, 13″w X 8½”d X 4½”h interior (9″ in height with included extension ring), two 6″w X 2″h Flip Doors.
Kiln is able to reach 1300+F (700+c)
Excellent kiln for fusing, slumping, flame-work annealing, enameling, or PMC work.
New= $860


ASC/3 Controller

ASC/3 Controller

ASC/3 Digital Controller                                           The Model ASC/3 is a relatively easy to use, full feature, digital temperature controller. You can choose from one of several pre-installed programs, or create your own. The display reads in Fahrenheit or Celsius and can control temperatures to 2500 degrees.


If interested (and in Toronto) please contact me via email to set-up a time to come check them out.
I accept payment in Cash, Visa or Mastercard (credit card fees will apply).
If you would like these items shipped (w/in Canada)- I am open to discussing options through UPS. Buyer will pay for shipping/insurance.


OMG I am totally LATE!
Yesterday was a bit hellish and turned my brain to temporary mush, thus why I am late here… speaking of mush this month’s Blog-O-Sphere is about FOOD. Favourite foods, recipes, etc.
Naturally I had grand ideas for this one and they’ve fallen through a bit. Well, here goes!

I am in Brooklyn, NY and people, let me tell YOU there is food a plenty here! Tons of it. Everywhere. Why anyone is starving in the U.S of A is beyond me.



I have feasted on two so far. Planning a trek over to Hu Kitchen while I am here. :)
Another thing- Momofuku. Yes. They have plenty of milk bars here. AND I absolutely HAVE to try (I am not into milk from animals buuut)yeah, yeah there’s a Momofuku in TO. Big deal. Check this-they sell Crack Pie. But really I need to try their Rosemary Salted Caramel soft serve.
Insert image of me enjoying soft serve here. ;)

The other day I hiked it up to Mamaroneck (yep) to the Bullseye Glass Resource Center (why are they not in Brooklyn?!) and met some lovely people who recommended Sal’s pizza! NY Pizza? Are you kidding me??

Sal's 'zza

Sal’s ‘zza

So I headed over to Sal’s and grabbed me a slice of their Sicilian. Yummers, to be sure.

Later I went shopping for groceries. Essentials people, essentials.

BEST almond milk next to home-made, Skyr! Tumeric drinks and chocolate, what else?

BEST almond milk next to home-made, Skyr!, Tumeric drinks  and chocolate, what else?

Noticing a pattern here? I LOVE dark chocolate. And New York is full up with chocolate factories. From small batch, bean to bar to full on mass production. The Mast brothers are another chocolate I NEED to try. They make bars with goat milk and sheep milk…
FOOD. OK well, blogs I follow are: David Lebovitz and BTW so should you. He rocks food, food porn and chocolate! He can help you make amazing soups (one of my all time favs-celeriac soup!) with any of the recipes he offers and you are sure to drool over his images.

So, there ya have it. I meant to share a recipe or two then: yesterday happened.

Thanks for stopping by! Now go check out my colleagues’ take on Food.
Andes Cruz: https://andescruz.wordpress.com
Pallavi Gandhi: https://studioat605.wordpress.com/
Shelagh Blatz www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog
Catherine Witherell: http://happydayart.typepad.com
pencilfox: www.pencilfox.com

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