Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Glass Class with Kent Lauer

I just completed a 3 day class at AAE Glass ( http://www in Cape Coral,Florida with master glass artist Kent Lauer ( We learned the art if "cold working" - shaping glass without a kiln or torch.

We started by practicing face ting glass on a lap grinder using thick Starfire ultra-clear glass.

Then we did the same using layers of Starfire and dichroic glass. You start with the altered glass, glued together then cured with a UV light.

After 4-5 shapings and polishing - all by hand. - here is the result. Amazing!

Here is a pendant I made...

And my favorite piece from the class - a bracelet.

Unfortunately, you won't find these in my line of jewelry anytime soon. The equipment required is just too pricey at this point. At over $3000 to get setup, I would have to sell an awful lot!

Sorry the photos are not in place. Trying to do this on my IPad and it won't cooperate!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


PANTONE INC is best known for its color matching system that is used by companies to coordinate colors across product lines. Twice a year the company holds a meeting where the color trends for the next season are decided upon (now you know why you can't buy navy blue anymore!). The colors for FALL 2012 have just been announced. So check your closet and see what you already have to be TRENDY!

So what is in the KITTYKAT line that works with this color palette? Lots!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fall Festival Fever is Here!

Picture I have spent all week getting ready for my next show - Labor Day weekend - at the Tides Inn Resort in Irvington, VA.  I did this show over Memorial Day and really liked the setup. It is a small event - about a dozen local artists - but all are top quality. Come by Sat or Sun from 10-5 and say hello.

On Sept 7-8 (from 9-5), I will be at The Bay School in Mathews, VA during Mathews Market Days. For this event, I am doing something different: I will be making CUSTOM LEATHER BRACELETS! You pick out the color or leather and the slides or charms you want, and I'll make it right there just to fit you.

In October, I will be in Williamsburg, VA the 6-7 for An Occasion for the Arts. I will be in booth A48 on Duke of Gloucester Street (the main cobblestone street through the colonial historic area). This is a premier arts event in Virginia and features fine artists from across the nation, a wide variety of entertainment, live demonstrations, wine tasting and other fun and exciting activities for the whole family.

On October 13-14, come see us at the Port Warwick Arts and Sculpture Festival in Newport News. If you haven't been to Port Warwick, it is a real treat. The planned community is in Oyster Point. The show is at Styron Square and starts at 10:00 am and runs until 6 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday. Enjoy world-class art, gourmet food, and fine wines and of course, KittyKat Glass Designs jewelry!

I have applications in for a number of spring events, so keep checking back.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What is Fused Glass?

Most people are familiar with stained glass - that doesn't use heat and is called "cold glass". Glass blowers and lampworkers (beadmakers) use a torch, so that is called "hot glass". When a special type of glass is heated in a kiln, we call that "warm glass" or "kiln-formed glass".  (One of my kilns is pictured above)

Fused glass is a form of kiln-formed glass.  The temperature at which it is melted determines the result: at around 1350 degrees farenheit, it is called "tack fuse" where the pieces bond but don't entirely melt. When you ramp up to about 1500 degrees, you have a "full fuse" where the pieces literally melt together, creating a totally new shape and combination of glass.

There are other types of warm-glass techniques.  "Fire polishing"is done at around 1200 degrees to re-finish the edges of a piece that has been shaped on the grinder. Another method is  "slumping" where you fire a solid piece of glass in a mold, such as in making a plate, and "draping" where you lay it over a form, such as for a lamp shade. And kiln casting or glass casting is where you put bits of glass called "frit" in a mold and heat until it melts to the shape of the mold.

The glass used in fusing is a special type, and it has what is called a COE - coefficent of expansion. The common ones used for fusing are COE90 or COE96. The important thing about that is you CANNOT mix the two types together - they will not bond to each other. The major suppliers of fusible glass are Bullseye for COE90 and Spectrum for COE96. There are other COE's (like 104) used primarily by lampworkers (bead making) and glass blowers.

Fusible glass may be opaque, transparent, iridescent, textured, and dichroic. I will talk about dichroic next time.

Hope that helps you understand a little bit about what I do!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Picture Today is my 60th birthday. I've come a long way baby!

Over the years, the dreams changed - I wanted to be a nurse, then a teacher (didn't every little girl in the 50's?). I tried that in college and hated it.  Then once I discovered music, I wanted to be a piano teacher - which I also did for a while.
It was hard trying to remember what it was like to not know what all those strange marks on the page meant.

Later in life I went to college and majored in changing my major. It was the 70's, after all!  Finally I just quit and followed my then husband and became the perfect corporate wife - played bridge, hosted progressive dinners, you get the picture. That turned out not to be my piece of cake. (Sorry about that!)

I finally graduated from college in 1994 with a degree in Organizational Management. At that point in my banking career, I really didn't need a degree  (I was already a Vice President), but I went ahead and did if for myself - and my parents. Unfortunately, my father died two months shy of seeing my get that diploma.

Today, I am finally doing something I truly love - designing and handcrafting jewelry. How I wish I had known that when I was 18!


What kind of materials do you use?

I get asked that question and am glad people ask. There is so much jewelry out there with inferior quality materials. I am proud to tell them that I try my best to use only TOP QUALITY materials.

One such thing is a new type of sterling silver called ARGENTIUM. What is it? Here is a description:
    Argentium is a sterling silver alloy that is 92.5% silver with the remaining content consisting of germanium and copper.             Argentium is tarnish resistant and will maintain its silver shine for longer than standard sterling silver.
You can see why I try to use this metal whenever possible. All of my silver earwires are argentium or sterling silver.

Another type of metal I make every effort to use is GOLD FILLED. Why?
    Gold-filled jewelry, also known as "rolled gold" or "rolled gold plate" is composed of a solid layer of gold bonded with heat and pressure to a base metal such as brass. Some high quality gold-filled pieces have the same appearance as 14karet (58%) gold. In the USA the quality of gold filled is defined by the US Federal Trade Commission. I use only 14K gold-filled.

This is totally different from gold-plated. The gold layer on gold plated jewelry varies greatly depending on manufacturer, so there is no single, simple comparison. Gold-filled items are 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating.
All of my gold earwires are gold-FILLED. That is one reason my earrings are more costly when they are in gold.

NIOBIUM is a metal being used more and more by jewelry designers. I use it for BLACK EARWIRES as I find the the finish more satisfying than gunmetal grey brass, which is what is often used for black. The other quality of niobium that I like is that it is the metal that causes the least reaction in people who are sensitive to metals. If you have an allergy to metals, ask for niobium for your earrings. It comes in many lovely colors and finishes.

The crystals I use are all SWAROVSKI - the best Austrian crystals available. They have more facets and thus are more reflective than cheaper versions. The lead contect (32%) also makes they optically pure and more appealing to the eye. Plus, the colors and coatings they carry are almost unlimited. I dream of owning the entire line of their colors!

My glass beads are ALL handmade lampwork beads by some of the best glass artists in the world. More details on that in a later post!

I hope that answers some of your questions about materials.