Important news from Glass Gardens NW!

After 15 years of building and growing this business from a fledging garden glass exploration to what now keeps me running all year round. Blowing glass is very physically demanding, especially in the hot summer months. I have realized that it is now the time to be moving on to other pursuits. It has been 15 years of fun, meeting all of you and sharing your garden visions with you as well as seeing the final images of your gardens. Getting to know you has been so inspiring and I appreciate your support through the years.
Today I am announcing that it is time for me to hand over the reins of Glass Gardens NW to new owners. Katie and Patrick Matson are young glass artists who are extremely excited to be starting out with an existing business while making plans for new designs and ideas along the way. They hail from Alabama where they both graduated from the University of Alabama. Katie blows glass but she also lampworks so look for more new designs that only lampworkers can make. In addition to glass blowing, Patrick also welds metal so perhaps you will see more designs incorporating metal and glass in the future.
Rest assured that all of the designs that you have known and collected along the years will still be available to you in the future. I will be partnering and working with Katie and Patrick for a 6-12 month transition period to help them learn my tricks of the trade. This should make the transition seamless for you.
Glass Gardens NW will officially change ownership effective July 1st but I will still be in the studio and at some of the shows for a limited period of time. Again all my thanks for all your support over the years!
We will be having a last open house and seconds sale at the studio on June 25th from 10am to noon and I hope to see you there! Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Thank you.

Important news from Glass Gardens NW

I have spent the last 15 years of building and growing this business from a fledging garden glass exploration to what now keeps me running all year round. Blowing glass is very physically demanding, especially in the hot summer months. I have realized that it is now time to be moving on to other pursuits.  It has been 15 years of fun, meeting all of you and sharing your garden visions with you as well as seeing the final images of your gardens. Getting to know you has been so inspiring and I appreciate your support through the years.

Today I am announcing that it is time for me to hand over the reins of Glass Gardens NW to new owners.  Katie and Patrick Matson are young  glass artists who are extremely  excited to be starting out with an existing business while making plans for new designs and ideas along the way. They hail from Alabama where they both graduated from the University of Alabama.  Katie blows glass but she also lampworks  so look for more new designs that only lampworkers can make.  In addition to glass blowing, Patrick also welds metal so perhaps you will see more designs incorporating metal and glass in the future.

Rest assured that all of the designs that you have known and collected along the years will still be available to you in the future. I will be partnering and working with Katie and Patrick for a 6-12 month transition period to help them learn my tricks of the trade. This should make the transition seamless for you.

Glass Gardens NW will officially change ownership effective July 1st  but I will still be in the studio and at some of the shows for a limited period of time. Again all my thanks for all your support over the years!

I will be at the Edmonds Arts Festival this weekend and we will be having a last minute open house and seconds sale at the studio on June 25th from 10am to noon. I hope to see you there! Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Thank you.

Spring is on it’s way!

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It’s that time of the year again! Days are getting longer, temperatures (in some parts of the country) are getting warmer and we are packing up and preparing for the spring flower and garden shows!  Here is a list of shows where we will be over the next couple of months:

Northwest Flower & Garden Show – Booth #1105 – February 11-15th

Portland Yard, Garden & Patio Show –Booth #424 – February 27 – March 1st

San Francisco Flower & Garden Show – Booth #711 – March 18-22nd

We have been having fun in the studio over late fall and winter and we are excited to show some brand new hanging and tabletop sculptures that will be available at the Seattle show in a couple of weeks. I will post pictures of these sculptures as well as other photos of the show gardens on our Facebook fan page during the Seattle show.

In the meantime I made a commemorative double glass flower featuring the Seattle Seahawks colors this week, in the hopes that we will win the Superbowl this weekend. Hope to see you at a show in the near future!

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Garden Lover’s Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide – 2014!

I am blessed to have so many artistic and creative friends in my life.  I love buying art and gifts from my friends to give during the holidays or for housewarming presents. Here is a collection of some of my most favorite artists/creators who have lovely items for your Garden and who are offering great last minute gift ideas for your friends and family.

Karen Seymour of Seymour Stained Glass in Ballard, WA creates lovely solar powered lanterns for your deck or garden setting

karenlightKaren is offering a Solar lantern holiday special: $495 (other designs available at $595). These 4.5″ square, 12″ tall solar-powered stained glass lanterns are lit by 12 bright LEDs. They normally take her 2 months to make but she made a few ahead. If you are one of the next 4 people to order, and you place your order by December 17th, she will ship it priority mail the next day and the USPS promises to get it to you by December 24th (shipping is $30 to most locations in the US, ask about free delivery or pick-up in the Seattle area). If you want more info please see http://SeymourStainedGlass.com or phone 206-525-1577 to order.

Jandellyn and Johnathan Ward (Winfield Designs) live on Whidby Island and they collaborate to create fun and whimsical metal and glass garden art.
janmagnetsWinfield Designs’ Etsy store has items available for delivery by Christmas – if you check out their “SHIP NOW” section of the store you can see what is on hand for speedy delivery. Purchases that are made in the other areas of our site will still need to wait the standard 3 – 6 weeks until they are shipped or you have the option of purchasing the rush charge if you would like. Also please check out their website if you are interested in more custom designed pieces for your home and garden.

Annie Haven of San Juan Capistrano, CA (Manure Tea) creates Horse, Cow and Alfalfa teabags providing all organic fertilizer for your entire garden. These Premium soil conditioner teas are harvested, processed and ecologically packaged by hand from only Haven raised livestock. Her 100 % natural nutrients are safe for all garden, houseplants and soil types.

MooPooTea-Sampler-9pkSimply place one teabag in a 1 to 5 gallon container and let it steep for 1-3 days. Then you can use it all over your edible and ornamental plants throughout your garden. This fertilizer does wonders in creating strong healthy root systems and enabling healthy plant growth throughout the growing seasons. A great stocking stuffer and Annie will be including a free gift with free shipping on all orders through Dec. 22nd

Roxann VanWyk lives and creates in Mukilteo, WA. She makes everything from small copper stakes for your garden containers to large copper and wood trellis’ for larger vines in the garden. This year she is offering these cute stakes that make great stocking stuffers:

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These Cloisonne Hummingbird, Butterfly or Dragonfly Plant Embellishments are $25 each or $75 for a set of three, plus shipping. Each piece has different combinations of beading. They are a wonderful addition to any indoor plant and dresses them up when they aren’t blooming. To order please email Roxann (roxannvanwyk@comcast.net) or call her at (425)349-1296. The deadline for ordering for delivery before Christmas is Dec. 18th.

Here at Glass Gardens NW you can order any items before Dec. 18th for delivery before Christmas. And finally if you are running behind in the gift procurement department you can always purchase a gift certificate to be used sometime during the warmer months of the year.

Here’s wishing you all a safe and fun holiday time!

 

Spring Celebration Deal!

Each and every year I am so happy and excited to see the new signs of spring approaching. The longer days, the warmer temperatures, new growth on buds and flowers ~ I never tire of seeing these images as I walk through my garden.  Last year we introduced our Bee Preservers to gardeners to help our endangered pollinators get drinking water safely without drowning in deep water pools.  We have been so pleased to see the word of this new product spread across the country and we have also been able to donate more money to the Foundation for the Preservation of Honeybees.

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Photo credit Robin Haglund of Garden Mentors

With the beginning of this spring season we have decided to run a limited time promotion. We have partnered with our friend and fellow garden entrepreneur Annie Haven, of Authentic Haven Brand Manure Tea to give you a great opportunity to try her all natural fertilizer product for free! 

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Lovingly called Moo Poo Tea, Annie’s fertilizer is created from the highest quality manures from livestock that are raised on permanent, native grass pastures at her family ranch in California. It’s so simple to use, I add one of her Moo Poo tea packets to my watering cans or 5 gallon buckets in the garden and let them steep.

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I then use the tea to water all of my garden vegetables, flowers and even my garden seed starts. The results have been absolutely amazing and it’s so much more affordable than commercially made inorganic fertilizers!

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So here’s the deal for you….buy two Bee Preservers (any size and any colors) and you will receive a free three pack of Annie’s All Natural Brand Moo Poo Tea (a $12.95 savings) for your garden!  Now you can help grow wonderful plants and veggies and help save our endangered pollinators at the same time!

Here’s the fine print….offer limited to the first 12 orders of Bee Preservers through our storefront. All orders are limited to shipment to USA addresses. Offer valid until we run out of Moo Poo tea! Thanks for your support and feel free to share with friends and family.

Our glass cloches help you grow year round

We began making our garden cloches late last year as the fall winds and rain started to arrive. We rarely get prolonged freezing weather or accumulations of snow here in the Pacific Northwest. But every once in a while we do get snow and this year we had a period of very cold and frigid weather in early February. It was a great test of how our garden cloches weather the storm so to speak.

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My home vegetable garden includes a couple of 4′ round galvanized planters as well as some in ground raised planters, smaller containers and a greenhouse. I placed some of my cloches in one of these galvanized containers in early January and promptly forgot about them for a month. When I ventured out after our deep freeze I noticed a huge difference in the soil temperatures. The freezing temperatures had frozen my raised galvanized containers solid! 

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The soil was frozen solid about one inch below the surface in my containers

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The soil beneath one of my cloches was completely thawed and pliable

In the locations where I had placed my cloches during the freezing weather the soil was completely thawed and pliable while in the rest of the container the soil was completely frozen about an inch below the surface! The cloche warmed soil allowed me to sow early seeds of lettuce, spinach, radishes, kale and peas last week.

Another example of how to grow year round comes from Robin Haglund of Garden Mentors. The cloches kept her chive plants growing throughout our freezing temps and snowfall. You can also see that it traps moisture for your plants at the same time.

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We are making our cloches with a variety of hand blown decorative vegetables for handles. You can find more information and purchase them online them here

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New Art fresh from our kilns!

As a glass artist some of my best new ideas come from collaborations with friends and fellow gardeners. Such is the case with these new glass items. Last fall Robin Haglund of Garden Mentors told me she will be giving a talk this year at the Northwest Flower & Garden show this year about garden season extenders. She wanted to know if I had thought about making garden cloches. I explained to her that I wasn’t sure people would be interested in purchasing a hand blown glass cloche since they would cost more than the machine made ones from China. She asked if I would consider making some special ones for her talk and I agreed to try out some ideas.

So we are pleased to announce a brand new line of artistic glass cloches for you and your garden.

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These will debut at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show Feb. 5-9th at the Seattle Convention Center. This is your sneak peek now before the show. If you are interested in purchasing some please contact us and let us know what you would like prior to the show so we can arrange to have what you want to pick up at the show. All cloches are approximately 13-15″ tall and 6-8″ wide. The prices will range from $85 to $110 each. I am still working on more designs. I have also made some in transparent red for those who love starting their tomatoes in red cloches.

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I will also be putting these on our online webstore and Etsy storefronts in the next couple of weeks. Please feel free to let me know what you think and if you have any other new ideas to share! And just remember….spring is just around the corner!

Private Garden showcase

I was lucky to be invited to bring some of my glass to a private garden tour and plant sale last weekend. Creating art for the garden is wonderfully fulfilling but actually being able to decorate an beautiful existing garden with my art is the icing on the cake for me.

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Robin Haglund of Garden Mentors has a gorgeous city garden and she makes use of every square inch including both edibles and ornamentals, annuals and perennials.  Adding my glass “jewelry” to this already beautiful space was a dream. Here are some pictures of the glass in her garden:

Elise Haavick creates wonderful containers and I was able to add a little bit more bling to her already wonderful creations.

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These glass Flowers and Fiddlesticks add year round color to any part of the garden – without needing water or fertilizer!

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Robin hosts a couple of Honey Bee hives in her garden for Corky Luster of Ballard Bee Company. 

I started making Bee Preservers which are floating orbs with added texture so the bees can safely land on the orbs and crawl down the side to drink water without drowning. The Honey Bees also landed briefly on a garden visitor  (but no one was stung!).

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Our regular pond floats look wonderful floating in water or jazzing up gardens. Even one float in a small area can create huge impact.

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Here are some pictures of Robin’s garden – she does an incredible job of creating visually fun and decorative edible gardens.

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Near the end of the afternoon Lacia Bailey arrived with one of her newborn (6 day old!) doelings. We all had great cuddles and the dogs were very confused!

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All in all it was a wonderful day and we hope you enjoyed this virtual tour!

Introducing new Bee Preservers!

Last year Robin Haglund of Garden Mentors wrote a blog post about the bee hives in her garden. Bees rely on safe sources of water to stay hydrated throughout the summer months. Bees can drown if they fall in deep water without something to hold on to. Robin began noticing that her bees were using one of my floats as a landing pad in her water feature. The bees were able to crawl down the side of the float to safely get a drink of water without falling in the larger container.

Photo courtesy of Robin Haglund

Photo courtesy of Robin Haglund

In order to help educate others about the plight of the honey bees and to donate funds for honey bee preservation I have developed a new line of glass floats. They are designed specifically to help bees get to drinking water safely in larger water features by adding partially melted glass pieces on the outside surface of the float. These glass pieces give something for the bees to hold on to while traveling down to the water level. We will also donate $3 from the sale of each float to Bee Better to help with their plight. Here’s a link to our new line of Bee Preserver floats available in 12 different color combinations and three sizes. Prices range from $13.95 for the small size to $31.95 for the large size.

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Honey bees are vital to our food supply. Without bees, there’s less pollination. Without pollination, there’s a negative impact on the quality and quantity of our food supply. There are over 130 different crops that depend on the bees to pollinate in order to produce fruit for harvest. Having a local source of honey bees contributes greatly to local food security.  This has become an issue to farming because bees around the world have been dying off due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder.

Recently there are more reports of higher rates of bee deaths than in the past. There are also some signs that the FDA has not done their job in preventing toxic pesticides from being released in the marketplace which is resulting in higher bee deaths and more bee colonies collapsing. For more information about the decline of honey bees and the role of pesticides in their decline here is a link to a video report by Dan Rathers.

This news should make everyone ask…..”what can I do to help?” I know I asked that question of myself as well. In addition to purchasing Bee Preservers and donating to the Preservation of Honey Bees, here are some other ways that we can all help the Honeybees:

1. Plant a bee-friendly garden and buy native wildflower seeds to help the honeybees, native pollinators, and the environment.

2. Consider becoming a “backyard” beekeeper yourself. You will benefit from having lots of pollinators in your own garden and will help increase the population of honeybees in your area. If you are in the greater Seattle area you can contact Corky Luster of Ballard Bee Company for more information about hosting a hive or to purchase local honey.

3. Attend a local screening of the documentary Vanishing of The Bees or buy a DVD. Please also share this link and information with your friends and family so we can all work together to help these vital essential insects who need our help.

Thank you for your help in supporting the honeybees and remember that “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” (Vincent Van Gogh)

Kismet in the Studio

Kismet in the Studio

Kismet is defined as fate or destiny. It has taken years for me to realize there are times when I need to “listen” to the glass and see opportunities that otherwise would be clouded by blind focus on making “X” (whatever that may be).

Some of my favorite things to make are also the simplest….glass floats. They don’t take very long to make so seeing the final outcome is quick satisfaction. Floats are also great pieces for experimenting with combining and testing different color designs.  Since I am a self-professed color addict, I never tire of experimenting with colors and designs on smaller pieces.

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Sometime last year, one of my assistants starting creating cups for himself and he loved taking multicolored pieces of glass, melting them and swirling the colors together. It reminded me of some pieces I made years ago when I was still learning the art of glass blowing. After this reminder, I started creating swirly colored floats.

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Our customers seem to love them since despite the large number of glass floats available, these swirled designs are truly unique. The swirl patterns are mostly random and no two are exactly the same – almost like snowflakes.

This week I was working with my assistant David in the studio….creating floats for the upcoming San Francisco Flower & Garden show. One of the floats had a particularly pretty swirl pattern. The colors were  a mixture of red, orange and yellow. When glass is molten it takes on a glow that makes the colors even more vivid than when the glass is at room temperature. Just before I finished this float I said,  “I wish it would stay this bright when it’s cold”. David and I simultaneously had the same thought……let’s make swirly spheres and light them! This is our most current result of Kismet in the studio:

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I plan on making more of these low voltage spheres in the future and will let you know when they will be available. David has plans to use LED lights in his own spheres and will be creating lighted staffs for Burning Man this year. I hope you can take the time to slow down and see the potential opportunities in your life too!

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