Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rhode Island Loves Us!

Handblown pieces by Suzanne Tanner of Cranston turn house- hold items into eye-catching accessories.$18;

The July issue of Rhode Island Monthly has featured eight talented Etsy sellers (including myself. Hooray!)

With a special mention of ArtsinRI (my Etsy Street Team)

Congrats to all those that were featured......especially my fellow ArtsinRI team members:

Pink Lemonade Boutique

Heather Jeany

A la mode

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thanks, Dad

Soaking up the sun outside a Ski Lodge in Vermont. Not sure of the date, but I'm guessing it was the late 50's or 60's.

My dad would work Ski Patrol at various resorts in Vermont during College. He was the happiest when skis were strapped to his feet, and the snow was falling.

And I am the proud owner of that sweater. I love it.

The apple doesn't fall from the tree......

This is me, in 1998, at Arapahoe Basin. It was during a 10 hour ski race, the Enduro.

(one of the happiest days of my life).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Quest: Part II

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, there was a second place that was a "must see" while I was in Murano.

It was the studio of Pino Signoretto, an Italian Master of glass. Mostly known for his intricate glass sculptures, Pino is often commissioned to do custom work.

This is the story of Pino's Studio:

As I left the home of Dino Tedeschi, with my new Jacks in hand, I set out for Pino's Studio. I just wanted to see it, but hoped for a tour. That alone would have been memorable.

(This was much easier to find, as I had passed it twice while searching for Dino's)

As I stood outside the iron gates, I could see through the courtyard, and into his studio. A few people were milling about, but I wasn't certain if one of them was Pino (this was in July, and it was possible that he was in the US, teaching a class).

I rang the doorbell.

Everyone inside stopped what they were doing, and looked out, over the courtyard at me.

Soon after, a young woman arrived at the gate. She was American (hooray!). Her name was Amber, and she was Pino's Assistant.

I introducted myself, and asked if it would be possible to get a tour of Pino's studio. She was friendly and welcoming, and said that they were done working for the day, and if I returned the next day, I could watch him work.


Sure thing. "I'll be back", I said, calmly.

I returned to the Villa in Venice, broke the news to my cousins that I would be unable to accompany them to the mainland the next day, as I had "better plans." And they plans were much, much better.

The next day, I arrive at Pino's, and I'm met, once again by Amber. She bring me inside, introduces me to some of Pino's assistants, and then introduces me to Pino. His English is not very good, but it's better than Dino's (thankfully). We have a limited conversation about who I am, where I'm from, etc....and we smile, and nod (a lot).

"somebody pinch me", is all I can think

As they prepare to start working, Amber takes me on a tour of the studio and gallery. I'm amazed, to say the least. And still in shock, a bit. I'll be honest. None of this was sinking in.

We return to the Studio, where Pino had started working on a sculpture. He is so skilled, it is awe inspiring. He is working on a small scale, very intricate sculpture. It requires precise movements, excellent control, exact temperature and a quick hand....and makes it look effortless.

Over an hour later, he's finished his sculpture. It is stunning. I ask if I can take a picture of Pino with it, before it gets put into the cooling oven. He agrees.....and stands up, holding the punty rod, with the finished piece attached to the end.

I snap a picture.

He moves to sit back at his work bench (where he is seated in this photo), and as he sits down, he hits the end of the punty rod on the bench, sending a shock wave through the punty rod. The finished sculpture fall to the floor and shatters.



It's not saveable. None of it. It's in a million (or so it seemed) pieces on the floor. The studio is silent, I'm shaking, and Pino just walks away, speechless.

*this was all my fault* is all I can think. Great. Just great. Now what do I do? Run away? Change my name? Cry?

Amber looks at me, sees the fear in my eyes, and tells me it's okay. I apologize profusely.

The next 20 minutes or so are just a blur......I think I've blacked it out of my memory. I decide that I've done enough damage for the day, and should head back to Venice. She takes me outside so I can say good-bye and thank you (and of course, "I'm sorry") to Pino.

I apologize again........he looks at me, shrugs his shoulders and says "eets ok. Eet happenz".

I say "I know. It happens to me a lot." And he laughs.



He invites me to an Opening for a commissioned piece that night in Venice.

*clearly, he doesn't hate me, not even a little*

I meet up with Pino, Amber and a few others later that night for the Gallery Opening. It was pretty darn cool.

A few hours later, and a few glasses of wine later, I found myself sitting outside a cafe, with a handful of people (Pino, Amber, and others) drinking wine and listening to them share stories and jokes. Lots of jokes. I tried out some of my Italian (that I learned from a 365 "learn Italian" calendar.... not what I would recommend.) They laughed.

So, there I was, drinking wine and laughing with Pino.......and 24 hours earlier, I had hoped to get a tour of his studio. Just a tour. And 8 hours earlier, I was watching the remains of a demolished sculpture be swept into the trash.


Eight years later, as I retell the story, I still feel like I have to pinch myself. And it's one of the reasons why I pursued Glass. How could I not? In 48 hours, I had experienced more than I could have imagined. The Jacks, the book, the studio, the untimely death of the sculpture, and the was 100% inspiration.

And I learned that even the best make mistakes, recover from them, and move on to make something else.

What a day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Need a Favor?

Twice this month I was contacted to make magnets as Wedding favors.

And, it got me thinking.......

That is a really great idea.

So, now I offer them in my Etsy shop

I've been part of Weddings in the past (I've made Bottlestoppers as favors, and Bud Vases as centerpieces)......but this is a smart idea. They are inexpensive (for a handmade, custom designed item), and they are FUNctional. Hooray!

I have to admit. The packaging is good. Really good.

I will also admit that I have a small obsession with little boxes, or any small, clever packaging. There are times that I look forward to receiving my latest copy of Retail Packaging (catalog) more than I look forward to receiving Anthropologie. Is that bad?
If you need a Favor, I can help.

Friday, June 12, 2009


There it is. Hidden in the photo.

I toyed with the idea of not posting the picture......after all, if I do this again, you all will know where to look. Or maybe you won't?

(Forgive me, as I am having a Princess Bride moment......."clearly, I can not drink the wine in front of you!")

I really had a good time with this sure to check back, as you never know when another will happen!

And, I have two winners. Nicole (aka Lillyella) was super speedy and found the listing about 10 minutes into the Giveaway. She was kind enough to let me continue on! Visit Lillyella's Etsy shop here

So, the second winner was Kristin (aka Kristin Crane). I knew she was looking long and hard, and I'm happy she finally found it! Visit Kristin's Etsy shop here

look for a feature on each of these winners in the next few days!

Congrats, and thanks for playin'!!!!!

Keep Searching

It may seem like finding a needle in a haystack.......

But, it's not that hard, I promise.

I've given many hints........but this one may just be the golden ticket.

Hint #7:

Look in the listings of my Top 3 Sections of my Etsy shop

For a recap on all the hints, and what you're searching for, look at my two previous blog entries.

Happy Searching!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hint, Hint...and I've sweetened the deal you need more hints.

Let's recap:
Hint #1: It's not a vase
Hint #2: It's valued over $8
Hint #3: It's not blue
Hint #4: It is not a set of magnets
Hint #5: I've told you that the word FREE is hidden *somewhere* in the, that could be anywhere.....title, descriptions, photos, material, tags.
(it is NOT in the tags)
Hint #6: It's not in the description
Let's sweeten the deal:
If you win.....AND you are currently a follower of my blog, you will receive an extra *goodie*.
See this post for more info on what you're searching for, and why you're searching!!
Happy searching!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Free Giveaway

The Deal-y-o:

~I'm giving away an item from my Etsy shop. Totally free to you.

How to win:

~One item from my Etsy shop has the word "FREE" hidden somewhere in the listing.
~Find it, and you will get that item totally free (for anyone! US or International!)

The fine print:

~You must Convo me when you find the item, with a link to the item
~don't have an Etsy account? No biggie (it's free, and easy to sign up).

This promotion ends June 14th, so get on it!

To sweeten the deal:
Winner will be announced on my blog/twitter/facebook, with a feature! (your Etsy shop, blog, etc...!)

I will provide hints as time goes on, so if you can't find it.......check back to see more hints.

Hint #1:
It's not a vase

Hint #2:
It's valued over $8

Hint #3:
It's not blue

Click here to view my Etsy shop

Monday, June 1, 2009


Myth: You have to have Mega Lungs to be a glassblower

Not true. One's lung capacity has little to do with their ability to be a glassblower. Working "hotter" has everything to do with one's ability to be a glassblower.
I find myself contanstly telling a newcomer to "get it hotter, get it hotter, get it hotter", as I watch them struggle to get a bubble in an ice cold gather of glass.

In it's molten state (in the the furnace), it's about 2100 degrees, and is the consistency of honey. As soon as you "gather" glass from the furnace, and begin to work with it at room temperature, it begins to cool. And it cools quickly. The colder it gets, the harder it is to work with.

Think of bubblegum for a moment.......

We all know it's much easier to blow a bubble when the gum is "new"..........chew it for a while, and it becomes harder to blow a bubble, right?
So, apply that to glass. New gum=hot glass. Old gum=cold glass.
Understanding heat, and being able to work "hotter" is just one of the challenges one has to face as they learn to blow glass. And increasing lung capacity? Save that skill for a marathon.