Any of who you read my Facebook will know that on last Saturday, I sprained my ankle. While it is now Tuedsay afternoon (around 1:30ish), and my ankle has gotten better, it is still healing and still a little weak. It is, for the time I've been off it, doing fantastically, and I want to thank everyone again for your well wishes!
However, I have something more serious to say before I post this interview. As of right now, I am out of Interviews! This one is the last response I have gotten, and it doesn't look like the second thread on the Zibbet forums is inspiring anyone new yet. I sent out quite a few questionnaires, and have not even heard back from half of the ones I sent out! I'll see about poking those folks on Thurdsay *adds to To Do List*. So you're stuck with my babble every week instead of every other week until I get in some new responses. That out of the way…
The artist I want to bring to you today responded in a very interesting manner – instead of answering my individual questions, she sent me a lovely narrative! So this week, I will be letting Zibbeter Jenny Sweeney, of Eye See Sage tell her story, and only interrupting to add photographs (Since you know me, I can't let an artist get away without sharing a sampling of what they have!) with my usual comments.
My name is Jenny Sweeney. I am a fused glass artist (but Very part-time). I work full-time as an occupational therapist.
I have always loved fused glass and blown glass necklaces when I saw them at craft fairs. Last year, I had the opportunity to try several different techniques with glass, including making fused glass pendants. I enjoyed the process so much that I decided to buy my own kiln in order to make and sell my own creations.
I quickly noticed that there are lots of people online selling glass pendants and decided that I needed to diversify my products in order to make any profit from my hobby. I learned how to make my own molds so that I can now make a variety of household items, such as soap dishes, candy bowls, and night lights.
Candy Dish, Fused Glass, Nut Bowl
I love the colors in this. This would look lovely as a focus piece on a coffee table.
Then again, anything filled with candy is ALWAYS the focus…
I have noticed when I sell in person that different venues seem to lead to different types of sales. For example, one venue I sold out of soap dishes. I quickly made more for a fair the following week, but only sold one that day. Pendants sold better that day than the previous week.
Soap dish, fused glass dish
I have purple flowers in my bathroom, but this would probably go very well in there… Hmmm….
Since I work full-time, I am only able to make new things at night or on the weekends. I love putting some glass in the kiln before going to bed and waking up to something new! Most of the time, I am pretty sure how things will look when they are done. I do have my fair share of "oops", however. One night, I must have put slightly too much glass on the mold, as the next morning, there were large drips of glass down the side. Since it was an upside-down mold, when it was cool, I flipped the glass over and now had a dish with projections going up in the air. It actually looked pretty cool. I displayed it at a craft fair, and while it did not sell, many people complimented it. If it doesn't sell this year, I will use it in my own house.
Baby nursery fused glass night light
I could not find the awesome "oops" in the online shop, but I was distracted by shiny. Purple and blue – you can't go wrong!
On the weekends, I spend time doing the grunt work-photographing the items and listing them on Zibbet. That is my least favorite part of the process.
For pricing, I have been setting a single price for a type of item (for example, all soap dishes are the same price). My profit varies, though, since different items have different costs associated with them for the raw materials. For my business, at this time, it is the easiest method and works for me.
Green drink coasters set, handmade fused glass
These caught my eye quickly, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's the Agate look. These must be added to my wish list…
My design process is pretty basic. I decide what type of item I will be making, then start with one piece of glass. All of my items use at least two layers of glass, so I have to look at the glass that I have and figure out a good design based on the final shape and the other colors I am using. Sometimes I will look for inspiration online or in books, but I never directly copy a design. All of my items are one of a kind, mainly because it would be too hard for me to completely duplicate them! Once I have the glass picked out, I layer it on top of my base glass then place it all in the kiln. What starts out as a piece of flat glass with two to three layers and straight edges comes out with one layer, smooth edges, and can be different shapes depending on the mold that I designed. It is so exciting to see the results since a lot of the magic happens in the kiln where I cannot see it (the kiln gets up to over 1450 degrees and usually is not opened while it is on). The "cooking" process takes close to 4 hours, plus a few more hours for the glass and kiln to cool down before you can look at how it turned out.
Purple fused glass necklace pendant
Ahh, pendants. I love glass pendants, and it was so hard to choose just one. This one is very odd and very eyecatching in particular, so here it is!
My biggest roadblock would have to be lack of space! My "workshop" or whatever one might call it, is a spare bedroom in my house. I have two tables that are covered with glass supplies and the cutting surface. I clean my glass in the bathroom across the hall, then bring it back to the bedroom for assembling. My kiln is downstairs in my front room, so I have to carry the glass on the kiln shelf downstairs and load it while hoping it doesn't move or fall off. It is quite a process!
Fused Glass Art Suncatcher Ornament Wall Art
No glass collection is complete without a suncatcher! This one is very bright with lots of colors to bring a splash of color to any room!
I am happy that I found this great hobby. I sell online on Zibbet, which currently is new designs and just a few pendants. I have a shop on Etsy which has most of my pendants but I am slowly switching over to all Zibbet :)
Regarding my business name...it was originally Eye See (meaning this is how I see things), a carryover from an old photography business name. I needed a slightly different name, so added "Sage", which is my son's name.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share.
You're most welcome, Jenny! Your work is fantastic, and it was very hard to choose just a few items to show here. So many people only see glass as window, mirror or dining material, but some glassworkers, like yourself, turn it into works of art that can be a touch here, a touch there, and bring completion to any room with just that little finishing touch!
Be sure to visit Jenny at her Zibbet shop, EyeSeeSage for more of her lovely work!
Until next week, thank you one and all for reading!