Child of the Mists | Bullseye Glass Co. | Bullseye Glass Co

Child of the Mists

Recently Portland has been enjoying some remarkably foggy days (well, until the insufferable bout of sunshine this week).  Personally, I love what mist does to the landscape.


The trees from our deck become altogether different souls than the crisp, mossy green beings they are on most days.

In the years when I  had my own studio and actually did a lot of kilnforming myself, I longed for this kind of glass. I’d occasionally find it in a Fischer opal or opak – those  mouth-blown sheets of exquisite German glass in which a thin layer of white was flashed over a rich colorful base to give a muted hint of color from one side.

Sadly when kiln-fired, the incompatible layers would crackle and craze apart.

Well, gee. While I wasn’t looking Bullseye’s master magician (aka Sam) was brewing up a new glass called Opaline (aka 000403) that – among various uses – can be fired over other opals to mute their coloration.


Excuse the quickie photo: these are a few sample bowls I spotted at the RC last weekend: Opaline layer fused over solid opal blank, then slumped in an 8 in. Cone Bowl mold. Simple. Elegant. Like Sam. ;-)

Of course, Opaline can also be used on its own.  The 1-1/4″ thick block below was made by stacking and firing (dammed, of course) 3mm strips of Opaline in decreasing proportions to strips of Clear. The right side of the block is thus made up of ten layers of Opaline and the far left end made of ten layers of Clear.


Or vice versa. No matter how you look at it, it’s a glass just made for those of us who love a little mist-ery in our lives (sorry, dreadful, I know). Almost makes me want to quit whining about the economy and head back to the studio….or to the Highlands…


18 Responses to Child of the Mists

  1. Ed & Donna LaPlante says:

    Then stop whining, turn off the TV (bad news source) and make things happen!

    I tell a story about a guy running a small food stand by the highway. Business was good so he enlarged his sign, added a larger dining area and extended his hours. Things were going great until his son came home from college. He told his dad he could not be doing well because the economy was bad. The father thought for a moment, his son was an educated man, he must know what he was talking about. He pulled in his signs, closed the new dining room and shortened his hours, soon he was out of business. When we started our business in 1984 the economy was bad then too. I had to make the mortgage payment so I got out and hustled. My personal choices in life are to move ahead no matter what is happening and try my best to keep a positive attitude. This is not an easy task as I get older but I have no choice. I need to be aware and react to what is happening in the economy but for me to survive I need to move my life forward, change with the times, no matter what goes on around me.


  2. lmcgregor says:

    Ed, I agree wholeheartedly.

    It’s just that my Scottish DNA seems to actually thrive on bleakness, so I hope you’ll humor the occasional whine. ;-)

  3. JC says:

    Hi again Lani,
    I’ve always been a transparent girl myself(?), but I am seeing myself being drawn to opals… and opaline – it’s beautiful.
    But of course, I’m also drawn to the misty winter landscape – it’s my favourite thing of all (just as well, because I get to see it a LOT in the UK!).

  4. lmcgregor says:

    Jackie – I know. I envy you!

  5. Bert Weiss says:

    When I lived in Portland Maine, we too had plenty of mist. One of my favorite experiences was the year it was foggy on the 4th of July. The fireworks went up, exploded in color, but what we saw on the ground, was much like the look through the thick opaline.

    That opaline is a lovely glass!

  6. jenn says:

    love the fog- don’t get any in my neck of the woods and my brought up in England and San Francisco DNA misses it a lot so thanks for the picture-

    Also loving the mold shape on the bowls- is that a bullseye mold that I have missed?

    Thank you Sam- for opaline, I have been using it lately in everything.

  7. Lani says:

    Hi Jenn,

    Ahhhh, another fogophile! I love you!

    The mold is from Creative Ceramics, our item code 008943. It’s a new one and has been getting rave reviews so I understand that it will be added to the line. For now there are only a few in stock at the Resource Center. It sells for $29.00

  8. Hah! Fog, schmog. You guys don’t know fog until you’ve lived in California’s Central Valley. Ever hear about the 70-odd car pileups caused by “tule fog?”

    That’s what comes rolling in over the fields in the flatlands between Bakersfield and north of Fresno. It’s exactly like diving into a bowl of milk and it lasts the whole night, sometimes the whole week.

    Friend and I were coming back from a class at Stanford one night when we ran into tule fog. There was no place to pull over so she opened the passenger door, leaned down and found the white line on the shoulder of the road. She called out adjustments as I drove until we came out the other side.

    (And yeah, we were young and stupid…)

    I do love opalines, done a lot of experimenting to figure out how to make them in frit…and definitely need this in frit asap. Hint. Hint.

  9. Lani says:

    C – you win the fog competition. And, honest, the factory gremlins are grinding away to get you some Opaline-ish frit…..(but don’t quote me. They’ve been trying to muzzle me lately)

  10. Years ago I drove to a sunday market, 100 miles,starting 5.30 am. Across undulating country. The mists settled in hollows and was beautiful to see mixed with glistening frosts as the sun rose. I’d love to see April S. work on opaline and blended colours, something like landscapes by the French school of Nancy.

  11. Lani says:

    Wow, it looks like I hit the motherlode of Mist People.

    Peter, I’d love to see YOU work on opaline. OK, I know, I know. Bubbles. Sigh.

  12. JC says:

    Hi again,

    I guess what really fires us up is the inspiration for our artwork and the wonderful possibilities that have been opened up to us by the introduction of this opaline glass! (who wants to talk about the economy when we can think about the wonderful things that we are going to make? I know which one I prefer!)

    I’m not going to get into a battle over the most glorious misty landscapes or thickest fogs, and I could go on about the beautiful Severn Valley and complete pea soupers on Bonfire Night when the only way home was to feel the railings alongside the side of the road!

    Lani, the new glass has certainly appealed to our imagination. I hope you are ready for the snowballs of new work that will be coming your way!

  13. I miss those fogs that we used to get in NJ. I lived about 10 miles west of the Atlantic and we’d just get socked in. I remember walking to the school bus stop in the morning, all quiet, beautiful. (And then someone would sneak up behind me in the fog and steal the stupid hat (with the feather) my parents made me wear. Arrrggghh… why can’t you just edit the memories to leave the GOOD stuff, eh?).

    You know… those opaline on solid coloured bowls remind me of the classic nesting Pyrex bowls of the 1950′s. Gushy, rich, saturated colours. Of course Lani, you being in your twenties and all, wouldn’t remember those days…

  14. JC says:

    I love this stuff!

  15. Lani, its on the drawing board. I’ve been drawing and making molds and planning an even more organic approach. A bit of thought on opaline and the brain’s racing.

  16. Bert Weiss says:

    No NO No. You guys don’t know about fog until you live 12 miles offshore in Maine. We have grandfather’s beard mosses that only live in rain forests, yet there isn’t all that much rain. The moisture comes from fog. I remember a June when the fog horn at the local lighthouse was off for only a few hours, all month.

    Summer on the mainland in Maine is full of hot muggy days. Those days on the Islands are cold and foggy.

    There is a story about navigating a lobster boat in the fog. You use a sack of potatoes. A guy gets up in the bow, and tosses potatoes one at a time. “When one don’t splash, turn hard!” (R’s are not pronounced…) This comes from a series of stories about “Bert and I”. Bertil Vallien is also a big fan…

  17. Am I the only one who thought, at first glance at the first photo, that I was looking at work by Miriam Di Fiore?

    Oh, and I love the opaline too. New colors are great — but new glass that is something more than just a new color is even better :)

  18. I cannot wait to see more and more pieces done with this wonderful new glass! My wish list is growing ever larger with every new blog post!

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