Author Archives: Lois

When I first saw online images of the glass that had been selected for the Emerge 2014 show, I was puzzled. I couldn’t understand what distinguished these pieces from many of the other images of glass I had looked at online, or why they would be chosen to represent the forefront of emerging contemporary kiln-glass. Then I attended the Emerge 2014 opening at Bullseye Gallery, and realized what I had been missing—and why.

Getting up close and personal with "Barbican" by Harry Morgan

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You know that old chestnut about necessity being the mother of invention? Nowhere is it more true than in a kiln-glass studio. At least in mine. I’ve repeatedly found myself having to research subjects about which I was completely ignorant, learning a new skill (such as brazing stainless steel for a sculpture base), or experimenting with an unusual new material.

Mica in the raw. I collected this from an old quarry.

Case in point: I’ve been working with glass frit powder in a variation of the pate de verre technique, making three-dimensional glass bird feathers. Many real feathers have iridescent surfaces and glint with metallic tints when the light catches them at certain angles. I wanted to figure out a way to emulate this effect, but Bullseye Glass doesn’t manufacture iridescent frit. What to do?

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“Picture yourself in Reactive Cloud Opal…” That sounds like a line from the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which is sort of appropriate because I recently took the magical mystery tour that is the Special Effects in Kiln-Glass workshop at Bullseye Resource Center Santa Fe. You could almost say it blew my mind.

Meredith gives us the lowdown on reactives.

The workshop was led by Meredith Gill, who coaxed me into the workshop a few days earlier, when I saw her cutting scads of glass squares in the Resource Center workroom and asked what they were for. When I found out that I’d come away from a very affordable class with a large set of samples, I signed up immediately. read more

A couple weeks ago I was perusing the shelves at the Bullseye Resource Center Santa Fe, when a sheet of blue glass caught my eye. Its rich, deep teal pulled me right in; I could dive into this piece of glass and take a swim. “Steel Blue Opalescent” read the label, and I recalled that name from one of the workshops I had taken.

We were experimenting with various textures of glass frit, to see how they changed after firing. Steel Blue Opal was the star of the show. Unlike any other of the glass we worked with, this frit would fire out to be either teal blue or metallic silver, depending on the firing temperature and whether the frit was exposed to air or covered by other material. How could this be? read more

New Mexico's vibrant landscape inspired my plate design.

Late summer’s monsoon rains transform the arid landscape of New Mexico into a riot of wildflowers. Billows of golden chamisa make a perfect complement to purple asters, and everywhere there are sunflowers. This year’s display has been particularly rich, as the desert received record-breaking rainfall over the last few weeks. I was inspired to use the palette of this early autumn show in my newest glass project. Using the Make It: Inline Plate project, I interpreted this glorious landscape into something that would be around well after the flowers all faded. read more

Light on fire, indeed. Racks of glass in the Bullseye warehouse. (Photo by Lois Manno.)

I had a notion of what to expect from BECon 2013, because I’d been to other professional conferences. I expected a room full of vendors (check), a plethora of high-quality presentations by professionals in their fields (check), a party or two, hobnobbing, networking, etc. (double check). The opening reception at the Bullseye Gallery in downtown Portland was stunning, and the Lehr-B-Que dinner held at the factory was crazy fun. What I didn’t expect was the way BECon would cause me to think differently about the world of color—and my place in it. read more

Burning Monk #3 Kilnformed glass, 2002 by Narcissus Quagliata, 35" x 19" x .5"

“The world is color, nature is color, culture and art are color, as well as the psyche.” That’s some pretty heady stuff, when you think about it. But Narcissus Quagliata is not one to shy away from monumental ideas or projects. I was introduced to his work during BECon 2013: Chroma-Culture, an experience which broadened my appreciation of glass, art, and color in more ways than I can count (more on BECon in my next post).

Narcissus Quagliata was born in Rome in 1942, where he studied painting with Giorgio De Chirico. At 19, he moved to the United States and received both a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Painting & Graphics from the San Francisco Art Institute. Soon after graduation, he began working in glass and continues to use it as his principle form of artistic expression. read more

With my new home glass studio set up and ready for production, I launched into the Tint Tone Plate project included in my Bullseye Tech Notes binder. The Starter Kit that came with my BenchTop-16 kiln included all the glass needed to make two projects, and this Tint Tone Plate looked to be the easiest of them. Plus, it would give me the opportunity to hone my glass-cutting chops, which were rudimentary at best. read more

Editor’s note: Guest blogger Lois Manno is a New Mexico-based writer, artist, and illustrator. She’s also a newcomer to kiln-glass who’s agreed share some of her adventures in her new medium here. She blogs about her art and other adventures – including cave exploration – at

Oh man, I’m in it now. After having such a great time with the two Bullseye workshops I’ve taken, I thought I’d be satisfied attending the Open Studio sessions to work on pieces and get them fired. It was a nice experience, being in the studio at Bullseye Resource Center Santa Fe, doing my thing while surrounded by other artists working on their projects. I left my pieces in one of the kilns and picked them up a couple of days later. The only problem was that I was going to have to wait a couple of weeks for the next Open Studio. Unacceptable. I had become so hooked on the thrill of cracking a just-cooled kiln to see the goodies inside that I couldn’t imagine having to wait so long between firings. The solution? A kiln of my very own.

BenchTop-16 kiln

My new toy.

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