Hi Everyone! I’m Anna Blair from Dichroic Glass Works!
I’m from Fort Worth, Texas (where the West begins)! Fort Worth has a long history as a mecca for cows and cowboys, saloons and gunmen. The infamous Sun dance Kid had a photo taken with his gang, the Wild Bunch on the North Side stockyards area. (Noteworthy because that decision lead to their identification and later their demise.)
I’m a retired High School art teacher and doing glass is something I enjoy and participate in nearly every day.
I am a glass artist…actually, I’m an artist that is currently working with glass. I’m a retired High School art teacher and doing glass is something I enjoy and participate in nearly every day. I enjoy working with other mediums as well, especially watercolor, but glass has held my interest for the past ten years. There’s a surprise element to glass – an unpredictability that makes opening the kiln an adventure every time.
I learned to fuse glass at an art teacher in-service one summer. I was interested then, but didn’t have the time it would take to really get into it. I had a small broken kiln that sat in the garage for twenty five years and after I retired I rebuilt it and put a new element in it, and it worked like a charm! My new hobby/avocation then got off the ground!
It took a lot of experimentation to get to where I am currently, but I love to try new things and hopefully I will continue to grow as a glass artist. Pendant necklaces are my main focus, but I bought a much larger kiln a couple weeks ago, and I plan on doing larger work as well.
I had a small broken kiln that sat in the garage for twenty five years and after I retired I rebuilt it and put a new element in it, and it worked like a charm!
One of the surprises that came with selling, was the personal notes I would receive from people who had purchased one of my items, saying how they enjoyed the piece or why they chose the particular one they chose. The personal aspect of making items that others enjoy, was a huge plus for me.
Since I no longer have another job (other than taking care of the house, husband, two cats and a dog), I design the pendants, hand cut the glass, fuse the glass layers, then anneal the glass to make it durable. When the glass has cooled I cold work the pendants using a ring saw to define the shape, and further refine them with a grinder. To remove the grinder marks I fire them to give them a fire polish. Later, I apply the glass enamel (for the ones with images) and fire it again to permanently fuse the glass enamel into the pendant glass.
To complete the work, I add a silver plated or gold plated bail, and silver or gold plated chain. Since I also like photography, I set up a simple display, shoot photos of the work,edit the pictures and write copy and place the pendants for sale on ArtFire and Facebook. There’s enough variation in what I do, that it never gets tedious. I’m almost embarrassed to say that on weekends, instead of getting out and doing other things, I find my self “playing with glass” instead. I make pendants primarily, but I also do bracelets, earrings, rings and purse hangers. Pendant necklaces are by far the strongest seller, especially those that have animals, birds or scenery on them. I make necklaces without images too, but they are not as popular. People like to relate to the images.
I design the pendants, hand cut the glass, fuse the glass layers, then anneal the glass to make it durable.
There’s a surprise element to glass – an unpredictability that makes opening the kiln an adventure every time.
I use dichroic glass in my work, even though it’s quite expensive. It really adds depth and interest to the piece. (Dichroic is a space age glass that’s coated to be light reflective, which makes the colors shift in the light. A piece can appear blue one moment then with a change in the lighting, it’ appears gold.)
ArtFire is a great place to start a shop! It’s user friendly, easy to set up and affordable. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get your work out there and Facebook and other social media can be a great help in doing this.
I would encourage anyone who has a creative urge to start “doing.” There’s a motto that I read somewhere long ago, that goes “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” Don’t wait for someone else to suggest it, or set it up for you, or send you an invitation. If it’s going to be, it’s up to you.