#Credit

You know who doesn’t get enough credit? Glen… as you all know I am on the social media band wagon and have been participating in the “Throw Back Thursdays” well this actually entails some research.  As I was going through my hard drive named Brutus (its from when I was in my early 20’s) and going through pictures when I came across my Seattle trip.

Things were not going well in life.  My grandparents both died, my dog died, my cousin died and we closed our retail space uptown.  Needless to say it was feeling of nothing.  No hope. No faith.  Just a bad attitude hosting her own pity party.

In a thoughtless moment, and only a moment I was just that low I put my hotshop up for sale on CraigsList.  I broke my parents heart, mostly my Dads I think.  He asked why of course and I just said its over – I felt like a failure.  Nothing was important anymore.  My heart was broken and I didn’t care.  Or so I thought.


That morning my dad said “You got your passport kid?” and that day my family took me to Seattle. They took me to the Tacoma Museum of Glass where it all came rushing back.  I sat in the hotshop and there was this guy that did a demo at school and he said “hey Toni!” I was home.  Not in Seattle but in the hotshop.  We spent the day looking at Glass, watching demos and walking around the city.

That is also where Vicki & I bought our first Coach purses… Memories.

Where was I? Yes.  My dad.  I’d be nothing without him, his love, his support, and his patience. And truth be told, 60% of my pieces wouldn’t be complete without his welding or woodworking skills.

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.

The happenings at TLG

Things are happening, there’s lots of movement and some intense energy around TLG lately – which we couldn’t be more grateful if we tried.  Vicki and I were conversing yesterday over breaky (which please note I, Toni Johnson made) about everything that is coming up, what we need to do to prepare, and well… we are busy.  And I get to blow some glass!
We are really excited about attending this years Nanaimo Professional Craft November 1 – 3 at Beban Park Center.  So that means we need to make a few things! And quickly too.
Vicki and I made a new friend Iona at the French Creek Collective, its a beautiful local boutique shop on Shoppers Row with home decor, supplies, lessons and now carries the newest edition to the Tidal Ball collection as well as the Air Plants from yours truly.  If you’re looking to treat yourself or looking for a gift check this shop out!

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.

Holy Tumblers Batman!

What a great time I have been having in the hot shop these past couple of months – with the upcoming garden shows I am doing I feel a little pressure now to complete some Tidal Balls and Sea Stars…. BUT! I made tumblers.
I love the thought of functional vs. things.  What is the purpose of a crystal glass that sits in the cabinet and collects dust? Please promise me, if you fall in love with one of my cups that you use it! Use it for your chocolate milk, juice, soda water… wine! Use it.  That is why I made it.  Maybe I’ll interview potential buyers and ask “and what is your intention with this handmade cup?”

I attended a Rock & Gem Show in Port Alberni a while ago and purchased some beautiful crystals – I wish glass was compatible with natural stones but it isn’t.  But I couldn’t get it out of my head, glass and crystals – the healings, the raw beauty.  So I experimented – yes I did.  I took time to relearn, learn, and let go and try something new.  And as most experiments go the first few tries are ugly but you see the idea, the potential and you keep at it.  For the first time in a very long time I got out my sketch book and I started scribbling ideas. Functional/healing – crystals. Something was there.  I used clear glass to really feature the crystal, the crystal of choice of course is amethyst, one of my favourites.  My thought is the person drawn to the cup is looking for the energy from the stone, whichever you’re attracted to whether it be amethyst, clear quartz, rose quartz, etc. you would get what you needed when you drink from the glass, and when your thumb makes connection with the stone.  Perhaps thats function on a whole new level?

I didn’t stop there – I have been playing with the chakra colours for a little over a year now and I thought how can I incorporate that into my functional tumblers – well.  I made murrini– its layers of colour pulled to create repeating patterns in glass.  Some glass blowers are pretty serious about their murrini and cane pulling but I am a little more laxadaisy (made up word?) and enough the organic look of glass vs. the perfect and disciplined.  Regardless, I made Chakra coloured murrini and had been experimenting with that and decided to start there – chakra murrini tumblers.  And maybe a crystal, a rose quartz crystal.  The color blew out and at first I was disappointed but now I love how the colors blend like they are painted with a brush.  They are soft and each are different.  These might be my favourites if I had to choose.

Continuing with the chakra colours I thought maybe the murrini isn’t saying what I am trying to show – so I poured the frit (glass colour) on my table in a line and rolled my pipe on top to pick up every colour of the chakra and continue that way.  Love.  Needless to say they turned out beautiful and am excited to make more.  

 

 

 

 

 

These guys will be on display among other new pieces yours truly and Vicki have come up with at our up coming show – where you ask? Why Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens Art & Bloom Festival of course! May 18, 19, & 20.  Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm and Monday 10am – 4pm.