Our studios are located in Victoria, BC. Technically, each of us has our studio at our own home, although there is definitely a lot of back and forth with our collaborative work.
Amy’s Lampwork Setup (shown above):
Amy has a studio in her garage in Fernwood, where she shares space with her band. In the corner, amidst drum kits, microphones, and amplifiers, she has a small work table (luckily lampwork doesn’t take up too much space), using a Nortel minor torch, which is run with a propane tank (located outside), and two medical oxygen concentrators acquired secondhand. She uses an AIM bead kiln with digital controller. This kiln is large enough to fuse small pieces, but is mostly used for annealing beads (the annealing process is important in bead-making – it makes the beads much stronger and more durable over time. An un-annealed bead can actually break – or even shatter – unexpectedly at any time. There is a good article about annealing beads here). She also has a ventilation system above the lampwork-station, which keeps the air circulating and gets rid of any fumes from the propane or the metals that go into the beads (for example silver foil, silver fumed glass, gold leaf, or copper mesh).
She usually brings her beads inside to clean and photograph them.
Amy uses a small digital camera with a macro setting and a makeshift light box to photograph her beads – by no means a professional setup, but she works to improve it all the time.
Amy mostly works with soft glass – Moretti, Effetre, Vetrofon (Italian); Lauscha (German); and Creation is Messy and Double Helix (American).
Elizabeth’s Fusing Setup
At Elizabeth’s house lives the big kiln, an AIM fusing kiln that can hold approximately 8-10 wine bottle platters in one run. The basement studio (known as “The Glass Hole”) is jam packed with odds and ends of all things glass – many of them yard sale or thrift store finds – as well as plaster molds, and all the wide variety of items that Elizabeth uses to create her own molds (you name it, she’s probably used it to make a mold – from her cable-knit sweather to an ice cube tray from Ikea).
A typical kiln run usually has several different types of item at once. All the glass we melt must be cleaned carefully before going into the kiln. Wine bottle labels are especially tricky to get off at times – we’ve developed a system where we basically boil the bottles, label and all, until the labels loosen, and then scrape them off. Goo gone usually gets the last little bits. The bottles are placed in the kiln, usually overtop molds (at the very least, small molds are used to keep the bottles from rolling around and touching each other, and give each platter a bit of personality). Some bottles are formed into shallow bowls or olive trays by slumping them over a properly shaped mold. Almost all of the molds used are hand-made by Elizabeth. To fill in any extra space in the kiln, Elizabeth uses small chunks of glass – bits of broken bottles or whatever – which she slumps over more molds to produce interesting shapes – these small bits of glass will eventually become parts of wind chimes or mosaics.
Elizabeth also does some lap-top tv/movie watching assembly. Her living room is often strewn with pieces of kiln-formed glass, wire, bells, and partially finished wind chimes.
Shelley’s Bottle Department
Shelley’s department is artistic presentation, in particular for our platters (which she has also been our “marketing director” for). She hunts down interesting cutlery and ribbon in large quantities from wherever she can find it, and then uses her creative zest to dress those platters up. Sometimes we have bottle dressing parties at Shelley’s house. She makes jewelry and glass windchimes as well, and in both of these ventures she incorporates beads from Amy and bits of glass from Elizabeth.