Saturday, September 22, 2012

Join Us for the Parade of Souls Art Festival

We want to tell you about an art festival we are participating in this October 13th.  Parade of Souls is a festival dedicated to Halloween and Fall.  Thirteen talented Arizona artists are coming together to bring you a variety of art.  There will be woodcarving, fiber arts, jewelry, folk art, painting, sculpting, primitives and much more.  There will also be an artist raffle to benefit Lucky Dog Rescue .  Because we are dedicating Saturday, October 13th to this wonderful art festival, Twisted Sisters' Designs Studio and Gallery will be closed that day.  We hope you will come see us at the Parade of Souls Art Show!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Parade of Souls coming up soon

Perhaps you've seen advertising for Parade of Souls--if not, go to our facebook page and you'll see the address there.  Thirteen artists will be exhibiting their works in different mediums. It's going to be a fun day. We hope you can attend.
These witches are riding their broomsticks there.  How about you jump on your broomstick and join us Saturday, October 13.  The theme is Halloween and Fall decor.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Walking the Balance Beam

Here is another piece created at Art Unraveled.  The three of us had lots of fun with this one.  It's called a Balance Beam bracelet because the focal piece, in this case the turquoise stone, balances on (is soldered onto) an 8 gauge square copper wire.

There was lots of soldering involved, which taught us how to tackle different situations.  This clasp is made with 6 gauge wire that has jump rings soldered on at each end.  As you can see, it hooks onto the flat copper piece that has been sawed and curved to fit the 6 gauge wire.

And here is the finished product.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Creating Dichroic Glass Cabochons

   Have you ever wondered how those beautiful glass cabochon pieces are created?  Maybe you thought you would like to try fusing glass but have been intimidated by the process.  Hopefully this mini-tutorial will give you that little bit of extra motivation to sign up for a class.

  First you must decide what you want to do with the finished cabochon.  This will determine the size piece you will make.  Your next decision will be whether to have a black background or one that is transparent.  Then it is time to pick out what dichroic glass you want to use--color, shape of design, combining different patterns, etc. There are many choices.

Glass Cutting Board and Cutters
Now it is time to cut the glass to the size you want.  I know this looks and sounds intimidating but it really is quite simple.  Trying out different styles of cutters gives you a chance to choose the style that best suits your hand.    In order to have a smooth rounded surface to the cabochon, you will need to cut three layers. The bottom layer or backing, the center layer of whatever dichroic glass you want to use and then a clear piece on top. If you would rather have your piece more organic, then the top clear layer could be omitted. The choice is yours.

Cleaning each piece of glass in the cabochon with alcohol is essential because touching the glass leaves oils from your fingers that won't burn off in the kiln. This piece has been layered and cleaned. Now it is ready to be fired in the kiln.

    Then into the kiln they go to be fired.  The temperature needs to increase very slowly so the glass heats up gradually.  When the temperature reaches 1475 degrees, it holds for 15 minutes so the glass can melt together.  Following the fusing it has to be crash cooled.  This means the kiln door is held open until the temperature goes down to 850 degrees.  The kiln door is then closed and the waiting begins.  The kiln must drop to room temperature before opening the door again.  If you open the door before that time, the glass will crack and all of your work will have been in vain. peeking!

Oh so pretty!

Be sure to check out our classes.  We have several to choose from and will schedule them according to your availability.  You can come by yourself or bring a friend.

Creativity is Contagious!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

From a Blank Silk Canvas to a Beautiful Accessory

  This summer we are focusing on teaching fun and creative classes.

  This class in silk scarf painting focuses on letting go of your inhibitions and allowing the silk fabric to guide you in your creation.  Let's get started!

  Choosing colors can be one of the hardest decisions.  Once you have decided on your palatte,
attach the blank silk scarf to a frame using thumbtacks.  Make sure it is evenly stretched and has no wrinkles.  Each frame is made for a specific size scarf.

   At this point you will need to have some idea as to what your design will be.

If you are going to draw a pattern, it must be done with a product called "resist". 
Resist is a liquid that prevents the dye from flowing past a certain point.  For this scarf  Mary chose not to use resist. 

You will begin with the background color.  From there, blend in  the other colors.  Each color needs to dry completely in order to achieve the desired effect.

A second color is now being applied to the background.  You can use as many colors as you wish . 

                Be creative!

  Spraying water on the now totally dry scarf will give it a mottled effect.  If you are still not satisfied with your design, you can continue adding dyes.  It is not always clear what you will end up with , but that is part of the fun. 

The finishing touches!
  Once the scarf is dry, it then has to be rolled up in brown packing paper and set in a steamer for two hours.  The next step is washing the scarf.   Any dye that has not permeated the silk will  be washed away.  Then it is pressed and ready to be worn.  Making a silk scarf is an involved process but very rewarding when you see the end results.
   Our design studio has several classes available from which to choose.  You will find them listed on our web site.  Come by yourself or bring a friend.  We will work around your schedule.

             Let's Create!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vacation and Playtime for the Twisted Sisters

Hi Everyone,
Just to let you know that we will be participating in Art Unraveled, a week and a half of workshops, the first two weeks in August. These workshops provide an opportunity for us to learn new mediums, so that we can offer you even more variety of creations in our studio/gallery. Because some of these workshops are day-long, we will be closed from July 30-August 13.
See you after August 13.

Debra, Mary and Rita

Saturday, July 14, 2012

So You Think You Aren't Artistic?

   This past week we taught an enameling class to three ladies eager to delve into a new art.  We love teaching classes like this as so many of our students think they have zero artistic talent.  That is so not true.  Art, like everything else, is about learning, being shown a skill and putting your knowledge into hands-on creating. 

Designing is a critical first step
   We started by explaining the art of enameling, talking about working safely, the tools and supplies needed to work in this medium and then began the hands-on teaching.  They learned about design and how important it is to know how you are going to construct your piece before you apply the enamel.  Next they learned how to cut copper sheet metal with a disc cutter, drill the cut piece and dome the copper with a dapping block. 

Torch firing
 They learned the difference between torch firing and kiln firing and the different stages  the enamel goes through before it begins to flow.  After mastering torch firing, they moved on to kiln firing.

Their awesome enameled jewelry!

   It is fun to watch the students create.  These gals did a wonderful job and created some awesome pieces.  Congratulations ladies!  It was a joy to work with you!

    Our design studio has several classes available from which to choose.  Check our  class list on the website, grab a friend or come by yourself.  We will work around your schedule. 

                               Open your mind, be creative, learn a new art!

Author:  Debra
Twisted Sisters' Designs


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Creating an Antique Window Chalkboard

Our blogs here at Twisted Sisters' Designs are usally about
our jewerly or events and shows we are participating in but this one is about an idea I had to add fun to our studio/gallery area.

Creating an Antique Window Chalkboard

Several  years ago my cousin gave me the old windows from her home in the Midwest.  My husband looked at me like I was crazy but I knew someday I would find something wonderful to do with them.  While I have used them in many different ways in our studio/gallery, this chalkboard is my favorite.  I did some research on using chalkboard paint, but didn't think about the fact that I was applying it to glass instead of a wall.  After some frustration and finding out what didn't work, I finally had success.  I would like to share my trials and errors so that you can create one of these cool chalkboards too.  The supplies needed are:  chalkboard paint, painter's tape, a sponge brush and fine grit sandpaper.

Cool Tip!
Now you are probably saying to yourself....what is the rubber band for?  Check out this cool tip I recently learned.  Yahoo!  No more messy edges on your paint can!  Before
beginning to paint the window, the glass must be rough.
This is the one thing I did not think about.  If the paint is
applied on the glass without creating a rough surface, it will not stick.  Use fine grit sandpaper over the
entire piece of glass.  This will create just enough texture
that the paint will grab on to the glass.  Make sure you wash
the window thoroughly before you begin to paint.  You
don't want any glass grit in your paint. 

Next you will want to tape off the wood with blue
painter's tape.  Believe me, this will save you from
frustration too.  Now you are ready to begin
applying the paint.

First Coat of Paint
The first coat looks really thin but don't
worry about that.  You don't want to go
over the paint while it is still wet as the
sponge brush will tend to pick up the
wet paint and drag it along the glass
causing a gooey mess.  Let the first
thin coat dry completely.  Depending on
where you live and the amount of humidity
in the air, this can take from 20 minutes to
2 hours. 

The second coat begins to fill in the sparse areas of the glass.
At some point you will want to run your sponge brush crosswise.
Alternating the brush strokes with each application would be
ideal.  Make sure the paint drys completely between applications.
Several times I let it dry overnight.  With each application the
paint becomes more dense.  The can says to apply 4 coats of
paint but I found that wasn't nearly enough for the glass.  I
ended up applying 7 coats before I thought is was completely

When you have applied your final coat  and you are saying,
 "this looks like a real chalkboard," then the paint needs
to be conditioned before you actually start to draw on it.  This
step is done with a piece of chalk and a felt chalkboard eraser.
Lay the chalk on its side and go back and forth and up and
down across the paint.  Then erase all of this with the felt eraser
and you are ready to write, draw and have fun!

                  How Cool is This!

Author:  Debra
"There are other ways to accomplish the same look.  This blog
is just my experience with applying chalkboard paint to glass."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Enameling When It is 109 degrees

   Most everyone knows it is hot in Phoenix in June.  So why then would I choose to turn the kiln on
in the studio when it is suppose to be 109 degrees outside!  Good question.  You know how it is when
you have all these ideas floating through your head and you want to bring them to fruition, like right now!  Well that was how it started.  I first began my day at my favorite coffee shop in Historic Downtown Mesa, Inside the Bungalow.  With my coffee in hand I headed to the studio to begin my
day of enameling.  While waiting for my kiln to heat up to 1450 degrees (crazy I know) I prepared my enameling pieces.  After cutting and preparing the copper pieces, I am ready to sift the glass on
to the pieces.  Next they are popped into the kiln where they stay until the kiln heats back
up to 1450.  The temperature of the kiln drops dramatically when the door is opened.  When
they come out of the kiln the glass enamel has melted and adhered to the copper. These cute
flowers are part of an interchangeable ring we sell at  Twisted Sisters'Designs.  The
enamel components can be changed to other enamel colors (of which we have close to 100
colors) or you might want to choose a fine silver or copper piece to put on the ring.  Yes it
was a toasty day but quite successful.