F.A.Q.

Over the past years I have been making Memorial Orbs for people – strangers who seek me out from a Facebook Add or saw my card at a craft fair. And there are questions; questions before, during and in between, here are some:

Q: You can go to school for Glass?
A: Why yes you can, I did. I attended Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario, quite a prestigious school among the glass community. I learned how to blow the glass, the chemistry of the glass, art history, photography, and the business part.

Q: Do you ever burn yourself?
A: Yes. In my first year I experienced a 3rd degree burn on my leg, a few good ones on my arms and hands… if I hurt myself on a regular basis I wouldn’t do it. Burns hurt! Usually it happens when I am careless, or cocky and sometimes just plain over tired.

Q: Is the color tissue paper in there?
A: The glass is gathered at 2120 degrees Fahrenheit – tissue paper wouldn’t…. No. No it’s not tissue paper. Metal colors the glass, copper can be a beautiful teal or a red for instance. And it’s not like paint.

Q: Do you make hearts?
A: No. I only break them 😉

Q: Can I get a deal if I buy 2 or more?
A: I never know quite how to answer this question – do I explain my personal business that running my electric 135 lb furnace & annealer kill the hydro bill or the gas bill from the glory hole. Or the schooling and practise I have dedicated to this beautiful craft. But no, I usually just say “each orb is individually handmade and as an independent glass blower I just can’t do things for cheaper.”

Q: Do you teach classes? You should.
A: Nah, there is no way you can learn in an afternoon. If you want to learn how to blow glass, and you’re not willing to go to school for it then you show up to a hot shop and you do the grunt work. You learn by watching, assisting, cleaning, cold working and then one day the gaffer (glass blower) will let you try. This sport is for the committed, it’s so expensive and not a lot of blowers will let you handle their tools…

Q: Do you make bongs?
A: No I don’t. I blow with an art glass that is too soft and the minute you add heat to it, it would explode. I am what the glass community refers to as a furnace blower, or glass blower. Bongs are usually made of “Boro” glass which is a harder glass that can take temperature shock such as heat and made by torch workers or flame workers.

Q: Can you make me something like So & So makes?
A: No. I can’t in good faith copy another artists idea and sell it. There is a code and I take a lot of pride in the designs I come up with. If you like a makers product, buy it! It makes my day every time some loves one of my pieces, a lot goes into each piece, a lot. It may just look like a cup to you – but for me there was a good 10 on the ground before I got them into the annealer 🙂

Keep asking the questions! I love sharing with each and every one of you what I do, and how amazing it is. Glass is stubborn, it’s testy, and actually rather moody! But it can be so very rewarding too once you relax and go with piece instead of fighting with it. Life isn’t always “on centre”!

Cyber Wha?

Good Morning Monday!

Can I just say yesterday was such a great day!  Not only because I got to blow some glass and stay warm in this wintery weather but I met some pretty cool people.  It’s orb season so I am getting the opportunity to meet with new people, although their circumstances aren’t the best it’s been really nice hearing their stories, experiences, and sharing some laughs and even some tears.  Everyone that I have invited into my shop has been so interested in my love of hot glass – the questions, the conversations just warms my heart.
And what was pretty special too was seeing the familiar faces, laughing and reminiscing over ugly pieces I have made – but at the time I thought they were master pieces.  Thank you for your never-ending support! What will I think of my Tumblers I did yesterday 10 yrs from now?!?!
And while I am on this gratitude trip – Facebook.  My goodness is that an amazing tool.  Everyday I continue to learn about social media and the power it holds – the people it introduces me too.  It is just really cool and TLG is pretty thankful! My goal right now is to get the TideLine Fan Page up to 5000 likes by the New Year.  Can we do it? There is a free draw on there for a Tidal Ball thats racking up the “Likes” right now – so I don’t think its that far of a stretch! 

How can you help? Invite your friends to like, comment on a post so your newsfeed shows it, and if you have experienced Vicki & I’s services/art then write us up a friendly review! We really do appreciate you all! ❤️

Monday Funday!

A few things:

  1. The sun is shining and that always makes for a great start to a day, a Monday, and a week! So yay for warm sun!
  2. The Studio is open today 10am – 4pm.  We’d love to see you.  Lots to choose from for Christmas tree ornaments like Angels, Paws, Trees… And some pretty unique jewellery pieces and glass pieces that make for cool gifts!
  3. My family has come up with a “Handmade Gifts” this year… meaning we have to make our gifts to each other *groan*.  What will I make…. needless to say Emma is being turned on today and the glass furnace should be up to temperature by Friday.
  4. Some available appointments for Memorial Orbs… and by some I mean limited this is a unplanned & short notice for all parties.  I do apologize but I am excited to get back into the heat.
  5. Custom Jelly Fish – you wanted Purple? Email me.  You wanted Blue with red… email me. You wanted Yellow with purple (ew but ok) email me.  I will do some custom but this will require a deposit.
  6. The Johnson pack: Lily 6 yrs old, Gary 1.5 yrs old, Pearl & Karen 4 months

    Vicki added to the pack yesterday so today I will be spending my beautiful Monday getting my fill of sweet puppy kisses from Karen & Pearl.

Bonfire heart

That’s a song, Bonfire Heart by James Blunt.  If you know me, you know my story.  You know that the hot shop is my true love, where I feel myself, where I feel whole, where I belong.  We fight – me and the hot shop, sometimes we get violent and I get burned.  But its where I always return to.  It’s where at my darkest moments it makes me focus, express myself and sweat it out until the point of exhaustion which helps me to have a good sleep.  It works my body so hard during the blow slot that I don’t feel how sore my muscles are until the next day or two.

I quit my job a week ago.  I no longer felt safe, I no longer felt like I belonged, and it served me no purpose.  With that comes a lot of healing to be done, some thinking, stressing, planning, and more stressing.  What am I doing with my life? I think my blow slot yesterday demonstrated just that what exactly are you doing Toni Johnson…. what?! Well, I don’t know.  But lets try this and find out – what’s the worst that could happen when you experiment in the hot shop? Some flop and some turn into Jelly fish or sea urchins… some after numerous flops turn into sea stars.

I talked to my older brother the other day, sometimes I FaceTime him and drink my morning coffee and get my dose of sibling abuse or rather honesty.  He said why the ocean Tone? Not everyone likes the ocean.  Umm pardon?! WHO?! Give me names? But I don’t just love the ocean… although it is the most beautiful anyway I love fall.  I love the colours of fall.  I love the fresh start.  I love sweaters too.

I love when you walk in the trails and the branches and sticks intertwine and natures textures are just gorgeous.  I love that no matter how hard I try I can never get the perfect impression… I love how big the trees are.  And the smell.

Yesterday I made my mom and baby brother help me (they hate the heat).  I said I am playing with fire and I need someone to stand by with this bucket of water… they helped.  The hot shop smelled like a bonfire.  I smelled like a bonfire.  You couldn’t see through the smoke and one point, and as I was blowing the glass my eyes started to water.  It was perfect.  The pieces may or may not be but the day was perfect.

TLG’s got the Blues

Not the sad blues! I charged the furnace with every piece of glass I could find that didn’t work out or scraps from the pipes of any colour including white, black, green, pink… any colour I have ever worked with in the hot shop I saved in buckets just for this week.

To charge the furnace you have to heat the glass up to 530 degrees to keep it from blowing up in the furnace and damaging the elements. This is all the recycled glass from the buckets – its an all day event.

I ended up with 8 big buckets of glass that really should have gone into the garbage but to glass blowers – glass is precious.  It is expensive and is coveted.  As a result all the glass in the furnace is now blue.  A beautiful transparent blue that makes for great castings.

If given the choice I would rather sand cast over blowing any day.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind making balls and jelly fish but the casting – there is no comparison really.
Barnacles and an oyster shell from the first day of casting – beautiful blue right?!

Because the castings are so thick it takes longer to come down in temperature – the wait is approximately 2 days.  But oh so worth it!
Photo credits and video credits go to by brother Dakota… my family, my assistant, my rock.

Happy 2019!

TLG just celebrated its 14th year! What an adventure, the knowledge we have gained, and still the knowledge we seek is awesome.  Glass is where its at there is no two ways about it! 
To celebrate Vicki and I spent the day together in the hot shop casting.  We got out the ol’ sand box, got our hands dirty and we played.  We laughed, bounced ideas off each other and had a fantastic day creating.
We have some applications out for the summer shows – we are crossing our fingers and soon as we hear back we will let you know because! We have some new ideas and you’re going to want to see them!

 

The last of the clear

I dunno if you’re aware out there but there is a bit of glass crisis… Spectrum 96 cullet is a thing of the past.  What is Spectrum 96 cullet you ask? Spectrum is a glass brand, 96 is the coefficient rate of expansion… its the science behind melting glass and cullet is the glass chunks you melt down in the furnace to blow with.  I have a full furnace of clear glass melting right now – like I said the last of the clear.

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday I will be using the rest of the precious clear glass and then charging the furnace with the recycled ugly glass until I can solve my glass dilemma.

If you have been in contact about memorial orbs this weekend is the weekend to make it happen – after I use the recycled glass, the glass will no longer be clear it will be a transparent steel blue in color and not idea for memorial pieces.

I plan on making urchins, sea stars and maybe a few other things… I am looking forward to the this weekend, the warmth, and just being home.  Stay tuned for pictures!