Art Jewelry Inspiration – Spring Blooms in the Desert

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Desert Inspiration – Spring Cactus Blooms

Everything seems to be blooming a little earlier this year here in Tucson probably because we have had lots of rain.  So my art jewelry inspiration in the form of cactus blooms is just beginning.  This hedgehog plant with it’s majestic magenta blooms just started blooming in my yard.  Hedgehogs are the first cactus to bloom every spring.  And like many other cactus flowers, these blooms are really short lived – lasting for only a day or two.  Luckily the plant has many blooms that seem to take turns showing off so I can enjoy them for about a week.  

I really need to try to create this color in glass.  But I have found that difficult.  There is one glass that comes close called rubino but it is difficult to work in the flame and sometimes you end up with a nasty scum on the glass.  Did you know that glass is “colored” by adding minerals and metals.  Some of which are not too healthy to breathe while working in the flame.  Pink and red glass gets it color by adding gold metals.  So it’s really expensive too.

Another technique I have used to get this color is to fume 24K gold onto clear glass.  You end up with a vibrant pink color with a metallic sheen.  Thank goodness for my ventilation system in the studio as breathing gold fumes can lead to heavy metal poisoning.  I also wear a respirator.

creating the desert in glass and metal


Desert Inspiration

Desert Inspiration at my house

I love early spring in the desert.  Cool evenings, warm days (but not too hot).  And life begins to bloom….  Just wanted to share some images

Another Beautiful Day

Beautiful day


It’s another glorious day here in the Southwest.  I got up extra early this morning as I forget to close the blind all the way; so Homer and I went for our morning walk at 5:30am.  The sun wasn’t quite up over Pusch Ridge so the lighting was glorious, the birds were welcoming the new day, and the rabbits all scattered as I walked down the driveway.  And the sky was that glorious blue.  People think it’s always hot in the desert, but even though it is getting up to 90 in the day, the mornings are still cool and crisp.

This time in May is a little hard for me.  My Mom passed away two years ago this week.  She did not like that we had moved to the desert and brought her here with us.  But all that is another story for another day.  Today is just to perfect to be sad.

I am having 2 friends over today for a little beading workshop.  And I am preparing for the annual “vacation” to Milwaukee, WI to attend the Bead and Button Show where I take a few classes, shop, and visit with lots of friends.

This ocotillo is blooming in my side yard.  Most of them have lost their blooms and some of the ocotillos have even dropped their leaves, but this one just doesn’t want to quit.  It gives me inspiration.

I hope all of you are having a wonderful day.

What’s blooming in my yard

Hedgehog CactusThe purple to magenta flowers and usually four well-armed central spines help to identify this common desert cactus.  Also known as saint’s cactus, strawberry cactus, strawberry hedgehog cactus, and purple torch. Protected in Arizona and Nevada. Englemann’s is one of the most common hedgehog cacti found in the southwestern deserts. The edible fruit is said to taste like strawberries, lending it one of its common names.

Another source of my inspiration.  I am trying to reproduce this color in glass….  not easy.

Party Gal

Party gal by Deb Harclerode

I worked at my cooperative gallery last Saturday.  January is a slow month so I had lots of time to acquaint myself with the other artist’s work in the gallery.  It’s nice to match the work of an artist to the person.

I was really smitten with this piece.  So I purchased a small print of the original and am off to take it to the framer today.  The artist is Deb Harclerode and you can see more of her work on the Desert Artisan’ website.

It’s called Party Gal