Tag Archives: bottle glasses

Bloomin’ Earth 2014

Bloomin' Earth 2014

It’s that time again! Come join me in Downtown Kitchener this Saturday April 26th from 11am – 9pm for a day of eco-friendly fun! I’ll be there with my recycled bottle glassware. Tons of other great vendors, awesome music, a clothing swap, a recycled fashion show, crafts for the kids… come celebrate the planet at Kitchener City Hall!

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Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

I’d have to say that overall, 2012 was a good year for Colour and Light! This marks the first year since I started the business (in 2008) that my accounting spreadsheet has a BLACK number at the bottom of it. I’m pretty proud of that.

All of the sale events I was a part of were more successful than I’d anticipated, in some cases very much more so. I did many custom orders over the course of the year, particularly in the latter part. My Etsy sales were down from 2011, but I still sold a few items. I tried out the “variations” option on the molecule listings, and I think I will continue to do that in the future. It’s a great way to offer custom options on the geeky pieces that people love, and the customer pre-pays for the item, so I can create the requested product with the confidence that the buyer isn’t going to disappear on me when I list the finished piece.

My summer sojourn as a Bird Nerd certainly impacted my studio output. Not only was I not physically creating items (including soap…I had no soap to sell at all this year) but thanks to the general lack of internet access while I was away I also wasn’t doing any sort of marketing or promotion, even on a casual basis. I won’t be doing such a long absence this year, and I’m looking forward to being home (and in the studio!) for the summer in 2013. But my bird work is important to me, and I’m not ruling out doing something similar in future years.

Late in 2012 I finally managed to take my recycled bottle glassware to the next level by figuring out how to create a flame-polished rim. This was a particularly exciting development because it led to a deal with my favourite new local craft beer establishment in which I’ll be creating a large number of pint glasses from clear wine bottles, with the logo sandblasted on the side.

Recycled Bottle Pint Glass

Recycled Bottle Pint Glass

This is also great news because now that I can make a REALLY NICE product, I feel that I can charge more money for it! The previous price for my bottle glassware did not reflect the amount of time and work I put into each one, but I never thought I could ask for a higher price because the rims weren’t very nice. As a result, I never felt very enthusiastic about the recycled glassware, even though that is often the thing that draws the most customer interest at a sale event. Everyone seems to love it! And now I have a renewed excitement for that side of my business.

Now that the holiday season is over, I can take a moment and look ahead at 2013. In the immediate future, I have the bottle glassware project to keep me VERY busy, along with a couple of custom stained glass projects I need to finish up. I have the very important goal this year of getting further into the glass fusing. So far I’ve been using my kiln very heavily for creating wine bottle trays and (more recently) annealing the flame-polished bottle glasses. I also made a lot of simple fused glass star ornaments in the lead-up to Christmas. These are great, but I really want to dig deeper into the art of fusing and experiment with producing some nice fused pieces.

I was inspired today by a great sale price to pick up the double e-courses “Business by Design” and “Marketing for Makers” by Megan Auman, who produced the “Pricing for Profit” digital workshop that I found so helpful. I’m looking forward to working through these and hopefully learning some great things to help improve the business side of my business in 2013.

I’m pretty excited about what 2013 has in store for Colour and Light! I hope you’ll join me on this journey!

Recycled Bottle Wind Chimes

Summer is here! Do you need to add that special something to your patio or deck? Check out my wind chimes made from recycled bottle glass.  🙂

Cardinal not included. He’s MINE!

New Toys, Event Prep and Why Can’t I Get What I Need??

So I had to go to Toronto this past Wednesday. While I was there I thought I’d visit my second-favourite stained glass supply store in the whole world, Fantasy In Glass. I was hoping they’d have a particular kind of glass that I need to finish my Pelee Forest Window project, which I can’t seem to get at my local shop. Unfortunately, they didn’t have it either, at least not in the “smooth” type. Granite texture? No problem. But no smooth 163LL for me! Why not? Oh, I’m in Canada. Can’t get it in Canada anymore. Seems that I bought the last sheet in existence in this country when I made the initial purchase for the project.

*sigh*

It’s a common problem. For the longest time, I couldn’t get black patina because I’m in Canada. It’s back in stock up here now, but before it came back I had to ask a friend to carry some over the border for me so I could finish a project that needed a large quantity of the stuff. And it’s not limited to my art supplies, of course. When I was looking for a new winter jacket, I ended up with one that I wasn’t quite happy with because it was the best option that I could get in this country…the jacket I ACTUALLY wanted wasn’t available in Canada, no way, no how.

Free Trade, my ass.

So I’ve been contemplating the idea of a Glass Nerd road trip. Originally I thought I’d drive down to Lansing, MI to visit Delphi, but then I realized that the actual Kokomo glass factory isn’t really THAT much farther from the border. Why not go there, get the glass at the source, and have a good time touring the factory??

It’s fun to think about, but I don’t know if it will actually happen.

In other news, one of the things I bought at FIG the other day was a bottle slumping mold. How fun! Here is a picture of the first attempt:

Bottle Tray

Bottle Tray

Needs some tweaking, but it looks pretty nice. I’m pretty sure the neck isn’t SUPPOSED to flow over like that, but I expected it to happen and I love the way it looks.

And now it’s time to stop typing and get back into the studio to continue my frantic preparation for the Total Recall event on Pelee Island next weekend!! I’m super duper looking forward to this trip. I hope the weather cooperates, because I’m camping and the show is outdoors! I am staying an extra day with the idea of trying to make time to mount a salvage operation and carry out some more of those vintage bottles hidden in the sooper sekrit forest location. I will take them home and create some more Pelee-themed bottle glassware to be sold at the Pelee Art Works on the Island.

Bloomin’ Earth 2012 Recap

Bloomin Earth 2012 Booth

Bloomin Earth 2012 Booth

Well! I thought maybe I would freeze to death, but I managed to survive Bloomin’ Earth 2012. Such a cold day! I braved the outdoor-vendor experience though, despite having the opportunity to set up indoors. It’s a sneaky way to have more space: the indoor folks pretty much just get the width of their table, but I wanted to be able to set up the gridwall too. We experienced catastrophic tent failure during setup, but I was able to use one of the City of Kitchener tents so that was okay. You get what you pay for with those things, I guess – I was excited to find a white canopy on sale for $75 at the Superstore a while back, but one of the hinges broke as I was putting it away after doing a test setup in the backyard, and then we discovered more broken hinges on Saturday and it was so bad that it wouldn’t stand up on its own.

Anyway! I moved that junk from under the table after taking that picture! Usually it’s hidden but the wind was blowing the table cover all over the place. On the table we have my recycled bottle glasses, candle chimneys, bottle trays and pendants (along with the display shelf I built from pieces of our deck…it looks nicely weathered and I’m quite proud of it!) The weird thing obscuring the word “Light” on the banner is the bottom of a bottle-glass wind chime set. I hung another wind chime off to the right, you can’t see it in the photo. And then there’s the gridwall with some stained glass, and the Pelee Window sitting at the bottom.

Overall it was a pretty good day! Lots of people came through despite the chilly weather, and I am pleased to say I doubled my sales total from last year’s event. So, yay. It was also my first opportunity to use my Kudos credit card swiper with actual customers. Pleased with how that worked out, once I discovered that it doesn’t like to function when my Twitter app is open! But close the Twitter app, and it’s fine. Weird and somewhat unfortunate conflict (since I like lookin’ at Twitter during shows, it keeps me occupied when there are no customers nearby) but it’s a small thing. Maybe once I get a new phone later on the two things will play nicely together.

Next event is the Total Recall show on Pelee Island in June. Lots to do to get ready for that!

No Rest For The Wicked

It’s the beginning of April, and that means preparation for Bloomin’ Earth is in full swing!

Bloomin' Earth Prep

Bloomin' Earth Prep

Bottle glasses! Candle chimneys! And a bunch of bottles still waiting to be cut or put into the kiln. Not shown: the stack of slumped wine bottle cheese trays that still need masking and sandblasting, and the huge pile of slumped bottle rings waiting to be made into…something. Wind chimes, probably! Oh, and the recycled bottle glass pendants.

I had a sale in my Etsy shop on Sunday, which was lovely, but resulted in my having no Dopamine molecule pieces left, so I added a couple of new ones to the queue. A red one and a purple one are now awaiting soldering, and hopefully I can get them listed by the end of this week. And I should really get cracking on a Resveratrol and a Capsaicin as well! And maybe a new Bacon suncatcher. I still have the original one I made, but rather than re-listing that one I will make a new one, because I’ve refined the design since creating the original Bacon piece. The new ones are much nicer!

While cutting the glass for the Dopamine pieces yesterday I realized that I have been subconsciously putting off starting a cool new project because I’ve been worried about being able to cut the glass properly. My glass cutter is dull and I desperately need to buy a replacement head for it. I will get on that soon and then I can start the neato project. I’m looking forward to it because I was inspired by an article in Glass Art magazine, so I’m planning to try some new techniques with the copper foil, and possibly incorporate some glass paint as well.

I also need to think ahead a bit, to start preparing for the trip to Pelee Island in June for the Total Recall event. I hope the weather cooperates for that one, because not only is it an outdoor event, I am hoping to be able to make some time to sneak into the top-secret forest location where I found the window frame I used in the Pelee Window, and salvage some more vintage buried glass bottles to use for Pelee-themed recycled bottle art.

And that’s just what’s going on in the studio!

Spring Events for Colour and Light

Got a couple of great events coming up this Spring that I am pretty excited about!

The first is the Sixth Annual Bloomin’ Earth Festival on Saturday April 21st at Kitchener City Hall in beautiful downtown Kitchener. I will have some of my stained glass pieces there, but for this event I love to bring my recycled bottle products: glassware made from cut bottles (use them as drinking glasses, candle holders, vases, etc!) and new this year, from the depths of my kiln, slumped bottle trays, recycled bottle glass pendants, and other neat things like wind chimes!

Products for Bloomin' Earth 2012

Products for Bloomin' Earth 2012

The next event is the Total Recall Retreat happening June 9-10 on Pelee Island. This is a wonderful womens’ retreat taking place in one of my favourite places on earth, and I am happy to be participating in the Vendor Market for a second year.

Hope to see you this Spring!