It’s that time again. NaNoWriMo. You in?

While blogging has seemed to fall off of my radar (all of my profound thoughts have shifted to my Facebook feed) I am still here and still consumed with life and my art. Yes, they seem to be separate entities this day. Life, consisting of home and family, and art as something that I do between the non-negotiables. Sounds grim but, it is what it is. Multiple doses of yoga during the week help with balance, literally and figuratively.

On top of everything else, I have again ,taken on a life’s dream: writing a novel. I have wanted to do it forEVER. I have written plenty of magazine articles and how-to tutorials but have always been intimidated by the idea of writing a ‘real’ book. Some of the things I have taken on and completed in the last five years indicate to me that I can do just about anything I set my mind to. I know, I know, I’ve had people telling me that my whole life. The difference is, I finally believe it. My husband jokingly gifted me a book about releasing your inner Bad-Ass and I guess mine has decided it’s time to get it going on.

I have started to brainstorm novels multiple times. Should it be a memoir? At least I’d know my subject matter but for obvious reasons I don’t want to put that out there as I don’t feel it’s fair to talk about other people, especially if they can’t write their own book in response.

I have had multiple ideas for themes and plots I’d like to cover but never knew how. I have written notebooks full of automatic writing, both personal and exploratory but became overwhelmed thinking about how it could ever be massaged into something coherent. If I thought it was totally spectacular content I could see dumping it into and editors lap or a partner author and saying, hey, here’s some really cool stuff, can you do anything with it? But then, that wouldn’t be writing it, would it?

So, I did what I always do when something interests me. I start to research how to do it. I know that it’s a personal process, it’s art, but I like to know what works for others and always, I like to hear people’s stories. I’ve read about writing, how to write, how to make writing better, how to plan, structure, and wing it. I’ve read the advice of just sit down and write. (been there, done that, got nowhere). Along the way I’m taking bits and pieces and letting it work as it wants to work…a lot of planning but a lot of running around the page to get the pieces that I’m planning into place. It’s fun.

I suspect that me sitting here talking about my process is like telling people about the dream I had last night. No one cares. It doesn’t mean anything to them and it’s a yawn. If you’ve read this far, cool, maybe there is a little bit of something interesting here, and I thank you. I can share more of the process as I go along…good, bad, success and failure. Like, that time SEVEN years ago when I started NaNoWriMo and quit after about a week. (Holy Crap, I didn’t realize it was that long ago! I thought it was about four years ago). I am confident that planning ahead (having characters, a plot idea and some, if not all, of my scenes mapped out) is going to help my success rate. I have 15 of 60 scenes mapped and my handful of main characters breathing a few breaths.

Which reminds me…NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) sign-ups are this month and writing starts November 1st. It is a self-iimposed challenge to write 50,000 in 30 days and have a novel when you’re done. Lots of support, forums, help, prompts, local group organization, etc. Check it out and start planning.

New experience with the micromosaic faces

I was excited to get back to the micro mosaic faces and now, having made them off and on for a couple of years I’ve become more proficient and am having some additional successes with color combos.

lori greenberg glass micro mosaic

Because I am pretty comfortable with the technique and process I was able to work more freeform. That is, a strong foundation allows an artist to play (with more success). I didn’t have a plan like I usually do and started out making all of the more solid face components. Then I chose some color, and created a new one with a new scheme, which opened the door to even more options.

lori greenberg glass micromosaic

Something interesting happened along the way. Because there was no plan or template I started to let the glass chips do what they wanted. I started building areas of color and forming swirls and curves as I went. It was like I was painting with pixels, one at a time. Before I knew it, I had flames. I was not intending flames and I sure wasn’t intending a matching goatee. All I was thinking was that I wanted to match the orange in the nose and put some outline around the eyes. Working this way was really enjoyable. Like doodling but with minuscule little dots of glass. I felt like a painter; and I cannot paint, or draw.

lori greenberg glass micromosaic

The other ones, below, kind of happened that way too. I do wish that the color of the orange-ish/yellow section would have stayed the cool color that it was before it was fused in the kiln but, I still got a new color for my library and I will try again sometime with another combo to recreate the brighter yellow contrasted with the maroonish sangre color. It’s all good. (see that? I’m trying to appreciate what I’ve done rather than being so hard on myself).

lori greenberg glass micromosaic

I got really fast at making these because I eliminated some of the fine black outlining. But looking at the piece below you can see that that outlining does make a a big difference in the overall effect and feel of the piece. The fine black (as opposed to the thicker black lines above) are made with stringer about the thickness of a hair, if even that. It can get a little time consuming and tedious to say the least. I see that’s a necessary evil though. You might not realize it but the mouth murrini and eyes below are outlined in that black. If they weren’t they’d just kind of blend in. Gotta do it.

lori greenberg glass micro mosaic

Next step is designing a frame (in cardboard) to pass onto my silver-fabricating buddy, Chris Mode, for the next steps. I’m kind of itching to try the silver again but I’m not sure. We’ll see if I can do it in cardboard first!

Various stages of done-ness

It’s time to make more face pendants. Here are a few in varying stages of the process. One thing I like about the one below here is that yellowish color. It’s an attempt at blending multiple colors in this style rather than staying in the same family. I tried this when I first started doing the mosaics and didn’t like the results. In the last two years I have learned more about how colors work together (or not) in this technique. So much more to learn.

glass micro mosaic tile

The guy below has a cute little mouth murrine. I don’t remember who I got it from. Greg Chase and Jim Anspach have sent me face part murrini over the years but I also have some that I got from an artist’s studio close-out. I think this one is kind of cool except for the fact that it’s a chip that is very very thin on one edge. I hope it doesn’t get swallowed up by the rest of the design.

glass micro mosaic tile

Here’s one that has the mosaic part complete. See my little signature cane in there? I love that thing. It was the first stringer stack murrine I did. I’m excited about these because I’m going to try something new. I have showed a couple pieces where Chris Mode has done the silver work to make them into pendants. This time I have an idea an I’m going to build the prototype setting in cardboard and see if she will be able to fabricate it for me in silver. While I have some soldering skills, cardboard and glue is a lot less intimidating to me that sheets of silver and solder.

glass micro mosaic tileIf you can’t tell, I’m also messing around with a new photo set-up. I purchased the light boxes from Doug Baldwin. It’s hard adjusting to the look that I’m getting because I do like a little shiny glare on my pieces. I mean, they’re glass, and I’ve been liking my pictures for a long time. So, I’ve tried a could different things to rig them up to my liking. I’m not sure I’m there yet though.

Why did I change? It just looks like an easier set up than what I have. I don’t know though. When will I get it and be satisfied? Maybe if I ever get that macro lens and learn to use my ‘good’ camera?