Tuesday, October 28, 2014

BeadFest Santa Fe and More!! Can't Wait!

It's been a while since I've slowed down to blog. I'm forcing myself to buckle down this week! The studio has been going through some growing pains and we're adding new equipment and more space to the workshop area. We're excited, and sore!

Anyway, I'm thrilled to announce my new teaching schedule for next year will be posted on my site!
It includes January at the Fired Arts Academy at Jen-Ken Kilns, February at Sinaca Studios in Fort Worth, March at BeadFest Santa Fe, April in Las Vegas at the Glass Craft Expo, and May in London and Zurich at Creative Glass.

I'll still be doing my thing at Roadhouse Arts, just north of San Antonio! Come visit with me at any of my adventures!

Here are a few pix of the cool stuff I'll be sharing with my students:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mentors and Teachers! Pay it Forward!

This week I've been reminded of the importance of mentors and teachers. Sometimes they are the same person, and sometimes they come in separate forms. I try to emulate the best traits of my mentors and teachers. I've had three strong teachers in my professional life, and I want to share what they did for me.

  • Liz H. - I'm leaving last names out to protect the innocent! Ha! This lady was not innocent, but boy did she teach me a lot. Her style was curt and direct, and for much of my younger professional life she rattled around in my head. She taught me about finance, business management, top line and bottom line concerns, and how to sell. She was a hard driving task master and I rose to her challenge. She got the best out of me. That is until I became burned out and disillusioned with never being as good as last month. There was no nurturing, just "meet or exceed the numbers." It was a great dose of reality and I hear her voice in running my business affairs to this day. Thinking of her doesn't bring a smile to my face. But thinking of what I learned from here makes me feel satisfied and confident.  Liz was a teacher, but not a mentor.
I learned a lot about this stuff from Liz

  • Sherry Fotopoulos - My art life, my second chance, my new beginning, all started with Sherry. I learned so much from her about my voice, my strength , and what I'm capable of accomplishing. Sherry taught me a ton of new techniques, but more importantly, she taught me when to follow my instincts and explore. When to make the work my own, and when to stick to the plan. She encouraged me to push myself out of my comfort zone, and even when I was miserably failing at a task, she praised me and showed me a new way. She lit my fire to learn more and to be confident in my ability to master whatever I chose. She gave her knowledge unselfishly with no motivation to advance her wallet or her career. In fact she resisted the limelight, and pushed her students out to the forefront. Sherry has retired from a regular schedule of teaching now, but is constantly offered teaching gigs, which she sweetly declines. I think of her every time I want to learn something new, and often call and ask her opinion on a direction I should take or if she wants to teach me a new skill. I pursue her technical knowledge  and her praise and encouragement. Sherry is a mentor, who is also my teacher. 

Here is some of the work Sherry has done over the years....
It all started for me with this kimono design made metal clay sheet.
Sherry designed this project and the world took notice.
Soon teachers around the world were teaching this design. 

Look at the clasp on this cool locket!

I'm in love! This is a fossil stone set in metal!

Here's the front of this locket.

  • Future Akins-Tillet - From the minute you meet someone, you just know that person is going to make an impact on you, or drift away into the forgotten. Future is not the type be forgotten! Future, who is one of my grad school professors, is technically my teacher, but I'd really call her my guide. She's a mentor who; calls me on my bullshit, pushes me to achieve more, dig deeper, and make my voice heard. she demands my best. Yes, she teaches me stuff, but more importantly she makes me think! She makes me question, and she makes me act. I know it's her role as a professor to do these things, but it's the how she does it that makes a difference. She is helping me find my strength and confidence to let my voice be heard through my art. Her focus is not on technique, but on guts! She encourages me to have the guts to say and do what I want artistically, unapologetic, and with passion and pride. This is a new thing for me, and the MAE program at Texas Tech is a school I have become so proud to a part of.  My Thesis/Show is scheduled for June 13th at Highwire Gallery  I hope you can join me! Future is a mentor first, and sometimes my teacher.
One of Future Akins-Tillet's pieces

An inspiring piece of Future Akins-Tillet's work

So you might ask" "Why is Gail getting so preachy about teachers and mentors?"
 Here's my truth!
I am a teacher and a mentor to my students. I try so hard to excite them to their own potential. I teach them techniques, but also how to be free to experiment. I try to nurture those who seek it, and challenge those who need it. I approach my students as people who want knowledge, encouragement, acceptance, and a sense of accomplishment. In return I hope for more opportunities to help them develop into stronger artists who can feel confident to raise their own voices though art. My teachers and mentors shaped me, and the artist, and teacher I've become. I hope that I pay it forward and am able to make as strong of an impact on others as my mentors and teachers have had upon me.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

An almost perfect day!

Today was such a great day! This morning I met with students and we had a full day of making screens. Then we printed them in the afternoon. Their work was fantastic. Here are a few views. 

So then tonight my five kiln forming students came together and did some fantastic strip construction plates. They did such a great job!!! I'll post pictures when we fire them on Sunday. 

I'm also getting ready to host Barbara Becker Simons PMC sterling metal clay mask rings class. We have just one spot left. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Just Announced! A New Workshop in Florida!

This just in.....
What a whirlwind! This week I have week three of the Kiln Forming I class on Thursday night. The students are doing a great job. We're doing a strip construction focal piece in their first platter. Strip cutting on the third class...they're rock stars! 

Friday is Gelatin Printing class. That workshop is just pure fun doing a cool printing technique. It's messy and imperfect and perfect all at the same time. I love it! Saturday is Mixed Media Monoprints. That technique is so expressive and exciting. I think I'll never stop exploring ways to tell a story with that technique. 

The on Sunday we pack it all up and go to the Roadhouse Jewelry Retreat in Austin! We have a wonderful week at the retreat, I'll post pictures! Then back to the studio for a week. Then Barbara Simon comes and teaches for three days. Then a few days off and then off to Las Vegas to teach! 

Then.... I'm home for about a month! YAY! ....and then I'm off to this class in May! 

I love going to teach in Florida. The studio at Jen-Ken Kins is fabulous, tons of kilns and equipment and space to work. Plus, you're in the factory watching them make the kilns! It's very cool. Last year I taught a imagery sampler class for 2 days there and people asked for more! So this class is focused on making layered images and working thick! It's going to be a blast! Here's the class description! You can call them at 1-800-329-5456 to register! 
Face Block

The Good Girl


Gail Stouffer


Class Meeting Days:
Friday May 2nd – Sunday May 4th

Class Meeting Hours:
9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Class Location:
Fired Arts Academy at Jen-Ken Kilns

Workshop Description

Take your fused glass beyond the bowl! It’s time to create light catching sculpture that touches the heart. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a loose abstract design or a crisp photographic image, you’ll learn how to make it happen in this exciting new workshop! Each new skill and technique can be applied to small work as well as larger projects, making this a “don’t miss” class!

The focus of this workshop is on the development and printing of images in tall, transparent, slab sculptures. Students will learn screen-printing, powder applications, and direct painting techniques to apply their imagery to multiple layers of glass. The image layers will then be fired, stacked, and fired again to create tall thick slabs of transparent glass. The slabs will then be cut, ground, polished and mounted on steel bases. Students will become skilled at preparing personalized images, creating their own screens, painting and layering powders and enamels, and mastering the firing schedules that deliver success. In addition, students will experience effective kiln casting and cold working techniques. Each student will cut, grind and polish their pieces, and learn how to create and mount their base pieces. Some fusing experience is necessary to participate, but advanced skills are not required to be successful!


The Climber
The Climber - Side View

Wear the Pants

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Timing is Everything!

Somedays things come together, and somedays they don't. Today was a mix of the two. I finally got the glass pieces on their stands. They look great with the light coming through them. I'm glad to have them done. I am supposed to send a piece to a piece to the exhibition at the Art Museum of South Texas for am invitational show. I'm inclined to send this piece, but I think it might be too small to make a good impact. It is 7" x 11" x 1",  It did turn out great though!

Cross Examination - Front View
Cross Examination - Back View

This is a piece of mine that's still in progress. It's inspired by my wonderful Archie who loves me unconditionally. (Archie's a dog. Just in case you didn't know.) Archie is more grown up now, not so puppyish anymore, like this picture. Anyway, his sweetness infiltrates my heart and makes me melt.

I'm debating on how much of the top to take off. And/or if I should add any more painting to the piece. It's two overlaid screen prints with enamels and then hand painted. I'm also debating a stand so light can come through the water and back or framing it. Opinions from the gallery are appreciated.
In the Weeds - Still in Progress

This piece is called "The Script." The text in the door talks about how we're all given a script of the roles we should play and what happens when we choose not to follow that script.
The Script
Today, there was a disconnect with someone over what was written in "my script" vs "their script." I think had we just talked, instead of emailing, the scripts would have come together.  Maybe time will bring it all back where it should be. I guess we all have those misunderstandings on occasion. I'm bummed that if went so off track. Anyway, this piece was finished today and finally put on it's stand. I'm working hard on perspective and proportion in my glass pieces. It can be a challenge to get the sizes right and maintain a sense of depth. This piece is 7" x 11" x 1". Light pours through the piece.

Last, and maybe least.....

Flourish in the Box
This is a piece I did on February 8th. Lisa, Francesca and I actually got about 90 minutes to sit down and play. That almost never happens. We all painted and experimented. I don't know if this is good or junk, but I like the color. The human figure really speaks to me. I can hardly do a piece without one anymore. mostly it was great to just be in the studio experimenting with my pals by my side.

This Mixed Media piece is on Arches watercolor board with Inktense blocks and pencils.  One day I'll attempt this in glass. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Good Day

Today was one of those run a million errands days! First, 2 hours in the car to take Will to school and then swing by Francesca's house, pick her up and head back to the studio.

While I did KilnFrog.com work, Francesca set up for her Etching and Metal Printing workshop this weekend. She did a cool new set up and we tested lots of samples. This flapper girl is from a photo that I manipulated in Photoshop and then toner printer and heat burnished onto the copper. The details are really great for an etching.

Flapper Girl Etched on to 24 Gauge Copper Sheet

So, then after we etched, we hopped back into the car and headed to the NEISD offices to get fingerprinted, so we can teach on any of their campuses. We're now "in the system." Ha! They took photos and fingerprints and I didn't even do anything wrong.....YET! I'm glad that's over! Then, back in the car again for another hour. Too much car time today!

I'm getting ready for my Kiln Forming I class. It's 10 weeks of wonderful glass fusing, plates, bowls, jewelry, and more. I have 4 students, so we'll be able to get so much done! We start on Thursday and I can't wait!  It's been a while since I've really had the chance to sink my teeth into my glass work. The move has been tough and taken way too long, but I'm finally settled in and comfortable.

I'll post pictures as we go! Tomorrow, no errands! YAY!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Best 2 Days Ever!!!

Some days are just great! I consider myself lucky if I have 2 great ones in a row! This week it happened!

Thursday I had my "Metal Clay Girls" here! They came for the Silver Metal Clay with Vintage China workshop. We chose from English Florals, Asian, Graphic Black & White, or Delft china pieces. Then we ground them to our desired shape. Then we made and fired our pieces and then bezel set them into our pendants. Everyone did great and learned new and fun skills.  This can be a challenge because many of the beautiful china shards we chose to use were not flat, so it's harder to work around 3 dimensional pieces pieces. We had a ball! Can't wait for the next class with the metal clay brigade!
My demo pieces and Dee's piece!
Susan's piece in progress

Dee's piece polished and patinated

Caren's Pendant and Earring Set

In process

The next day....TODAY! Again, a perfect day! Today was the Freeform Silk Dying Workshop. We had so much fun! We did Ombre Dying of Silk Burnout scarves, as well as making our own stamps, and using Gutta (resist) and Color Magnet solutions. There were so many techniques in just one day....I'm kind of worn out! ....But in the best way! We had some students who were playing hookey from school, so they are not pictured! Don't want them to get busted!

Don't You love the Tribal Stamped piece?

This burn out scarf is a vibrant purple-ish blue with grey background!

Wonder what I'm gonna get?

Checking out the design!
Thanks to all my awesome students for making the last 2 days so wonderful!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A New Class! And New Exciting Toys!

I just wanted to let everyone know about a new class I've just added to my teaching schedule! I don't often teach night classes, but I've had so many requests for them, that I've added this one. 
Our New Front Door Sign! C'mon In!

Kiln Forming I

Learn the fundamental techniques required for functional fused glass art and sculpture. In this course students will be introduced to the working properties of glass including; compatibility, heating, design issues, and more. Students will work with sheet glass, rods, frit, stringer, enamels, and various inclusions to create a variety of projects. Students will gain knowledge of firing schedules and programming the kiln. Additionally, students will learn about cold working glass and related equipment. Student projects will include jewelry, plates, bowls, pendant lighting, glass wall prints, and cast glass sculptures.

In this course students will experience fusing, slumping, tack fusing, casting and weaving techniques. We’ll work with mold making techniques, drilling holes, and other cold working techniques to refine the work. We will also learn the basics of image transfer onto glass including; gel mediums, screen-printing with enamels, and so much more.

Here are the details:
The class will be 10 sessions and we'll cover A LOT! Workshop Fee $450, Materials Fee $175

Time: 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm 
Thursdays- 2/13, 2/20, 2/27, 3/13, 4/3, 4/10,4/17, 5/8Wednesday - 4/23Tuesday - 3/18

Here's the link to sign up for the fusing class. 

One of the links is the workshop, the other is the materials kit.

Looking forward to seeing you!  
Feel free to contact me with questions you might have!

I just wanted to share my excitement over my new toys! I ordered 3 new lap wheels in from Covington Engineering. They arrived a few weeks ago and I'm just getting around to hooking them up! Lisa and I are sharing an 18" wheel, and then I ordered a 12" wheel and a portable 8" wheel. Can't wait to use them!
The 12" Covington Lap wheel! I built a rolling stand for it so I can move it from place to place!

The 18" Covington Lap Wheel that Lisa and I are sharing!

Friday, January 24, 2014

I'm Back! A New Year, A New Studio, and New Classes!

Today is the "once in every 20 years" snow day in San Antonio, Texas, so we're all housebound and quiet. This is the perfect day to catch up on all of my procrastinated tasks... like my blog. So Happy New Year to all and I'll give you a quick update! This quick update has taken me 4 hours since I decided to revamp the blog too! I hope you like the new "me!"

It's been a hard six months but it's really been worth it.  In the Fall of 2013 I announced that Stacey and I were closing Wired Designs Studios. It was "decision time" on renewing our lease and we just weren't feeling the love to continue for another 3 years. Although I love teaching and creating, the retail store part of the business was extremely time consuming and after 12 years, a giant snooze fest that is just not much fun. Although we were still making a profit, sometimes the choice is just not about money. My 45 minute commute was kind of a drag, and then when I got to the shop I spent way too much time on the computer entering inventory, paying vendor bills, paying contractors, managing sales tax, etc. My job became less about the art and the students, and more about the "stuff" on the wall and the need to count it, sell it, and replenish it once it sold. It began to feel like I was going in the wrong direction. 

A few years ago I decided to go to Graduate school to get my Masters in Art Education, thinking that it would give me the art satisfaction that I craved. It did, but it just wasn't enough to keep me interested in being a "shop keep." I really missed being free to create when I felt the urge.  I longed for the freedom to teach what I love and what my students needed. And ever since we moved from the old Alley location, I missed having the Gallery and working to promote other artists.
Luckily, I have wonderful friends who were watching me struggle with these issues and with my choice to close the shop. So many of them encouraged me to follow my heart and to teach and create what I want. With their support I found the courage to try something new. 

Thank you: Lisa, Francesca, Nicole, Heidy, Rene, Cathy, Stacey, Stacy, Iris, Julie, Sherry
Thank You: Mike, Mike, Randy, Cynthia, Teri, Kelly, Devon, Scott, Kimberly
Thank You: Ed, John, Nick, Lance, Aaron, Ron, Charlie 

So......after much struggle, moving, tears, attitude adjustment, blood, sweat, and tears, I opened a new studio and gallery space with two fellow artist/adventurers; Lisa Meyer & Francesca Watson. Their  creative talents and generosity of spirit constantly amaze me. I love working with them. They are smart, hard working, and have made me able shed some of my armor! Thanks Girls!

Here are some of the pictures of the new place in no particular order!

We have a grand opening celebration on February 7th at 6:30 pm. I hope you'll all be there!