Slumpin at the Hot Shop

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Back in March I heard a rumor (actually I read it in a legitimate newspaper) that a blown glass studio was coming to our town. I quickly became a groupie and started stalking the start of this marvelous adventure. The hubs and I recently celebrated our nine year anniversary and we decided to forgo the usual dinner and movie and spend it at Hot Shop Valpo. Hot Shop Valpo is a father, son and friend team that create beautiful blown glass vessels, but what makes this team really special is that they are wonderful teachers who are sharing their passion and knowledge with anyone who wants to give it a go! Of course being a glass mosaic artists I was desperate to give this a try.

The first introduction class is usually a group of two with two instructors. You are given the choice of a paperweight or a flower. We opted for the paperweights, a a fail proof, guaranteed to at least hold down paper and likely wind up looking really cool. Brandon gave us a quick tour of the colorant options and we made quick work of selecting our textures and colors. Since I had more experience working with glass and was more comfortable with it in general, my chivalrous husband let me go first. Winter was the perfect time to give this a try. The “honey pot” is heated to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit 24 hours a day. It was so hot the buttons on my jeans were burning my skin! NOTE: Do not leave your car keys in your pocket while gathering glass at this furnace.

Back and forth to the furnace, rolling color onto the clear glass, adding another layer of clear molten glass, shaping, reshaping, almost but not quite burning my hand, one final dip into the honeypot and 40 minutes later we had to get this sticky blob of reacting glass and chemicals off the steel rod. Some high tech usage of water droplets and one strong whack, boom, finished piece is ready for the cooling furnace.

The final result? Some wicked paperweights that will be a conversation piece for years to come and a perfect memory from our nine year anniversary date.

Wicked cool finished project

Wicked cool finished project

First Element of the Tattoo is Complete

I’ve been chipping away at the first element of the House Tattoo. Here it is! A happy dance may or may not have been danced after taking this photo.

The first element of the house tattoo in blue.

The first element of the house tattoo in blue.

It is turning out exactly as I hoped and seems to be withstanding the rain so far. Next up is the mirror element on the right of this blue one. I’m only able to squirrel away 20 minute chunks of time which equate to about 6 inches of progress each time, but it is coming along. I’m still on the hunt for an orange glass that makes me say “YES!”. At this rate I should be done in a couple of years.

Halloween Treats for our Furry Friends

We have some pretty awesome and generous neighbors in our subdivision. Many of them are empty nesters or never had kids, yet they treat all the kidlets in the neighborhood with a generous helping of neighborly kindness. Most of our neighbors have dogs, so our family thought, why not do something special for our furry neighbors! My oldest has been dutifully bringing home his snack size Pringle cans since the start of school. Tonight we added some colored paper and used our fine drawing skills to decorate. Viola! A Halloween treat container was born. Add in some Milkbone dog treats (about 9 each) and we have a one of a kind Halloween treat to say thanks to all of our neighbors for being so awesome to our kids. Did I mention many of our neighbors hand out full size candy bars and host Halloween movie viewing parties in their driveways during Trick-or-Treat.

What I love about this little craft project is it allows me to upcycle an item that would otherwise just be trash, plus I get to spend some time with my kid which is always cool, AND we’ll bring a few smiles to some neighbors.

While a very simple project, here are the directions and supplies. I’ve learned from some new girlfriends that crafting isn’t easy for everyone and many people have not grown up with crafting being a part of everyday life. So to help some of these novice crafters out, I will always explain my handicrafts in the most basic ways.

Supplies needed:Pringles Upcycle
Empty Pringles cans
Paper cutter
Transparent tape
Colored copy paper in a “seasonal color”
Stickers, markers, or if you are feeling adventurous and open to cleaning a mess glitter and glue
Your choice of dog or cat treats

Cut the copy paper into strips about 3.25″ x 11″
Use transparent tape to secure start of strip to can
Wrap the strip around the can and secure with tape
Decorate the can as much or as little as you want
Fill with the treats of your choice
Deliver to your four legged neighbors while Trick-or-Treating with the kiddos
NOTE: I had originally wanted to use these cute containers to put treats for the kids in, but as I thought about all of the food allergies out there, I thought it was best not to risk contaminating treats for kids with the residue of the Pringles can.

Giving the House a Tattoo

I am excited to share that I am finally working on a new mosaic after being stuck in a rut (also known as finishing my degree, moving house and having a baby) for about four years! We recently moved into our new home and it was a builder show home so many of the color choices are everyone’s favorite shades of neutral. After using the front door for awhile now, I kept noticing a beautifully blank canvas, pictured below. With a little brainstorming and consulting with the hubs, a design was born. I’ve dubbed it “House Tattoo” as it is about a 1′ x 3′ mosaic on the lower portion of the front of the house where the house shows just enough skin. I haven’t made much progress yet, but it sure did feel good to get started. I’ve missed the sound of glass cutting and the grit it puts on your hands. More progress photos to come. Hopefully I’ll have it done before it starts to snow!


PS. I’ve already deviated from the design, but not by much…yet!

PPS. All images and design concepts are property of the artist, Leslie A Curry.

Pig in a Blanket

Customized piggy bank for Brooklyn

Customized piggy bank for Brooklyn

Jacen Bank

Customized piggy bank for Jacen

I love to give handmade baby blankets as gifts to my friends and co-workers. To add an extra special touch, I sometimes make a personalized piggy bank. I get a quiet kick out of wrapping the ceramic piggy bank in the blanket and giving a “pig in a blanket”. I’ll blame it on my polish heritage.

To make the personalized piggy bank is quite simple and I’m sure I probably saw it on Pinterest first. Around Christmas time, Menard’s usually sells a decent size bank for $5. The stickers I use are just scrapbooking stickers. I like to use stickers with both capitals and lower case letters. This allows me to avoid having to have the letters perfectly even which can be tricky on such a spherical object. Anyone who has ever walked into a Michael’s or other crafting store knows, the availability of letter stickers is practically limitless.

The only preparations I make to the surface of the ceramic bank is to make sure it is free of dust and moisture. I usually use an old credit card to help apply pressure to the stickers after I’ve placed them to ensure that the entire sticker has, well, stuck to the surface.

Have fun with the placement of the letters. As you can see in the pictures above, I intentionally did not make them perfect. One or two of the letters are “artistically” crooked. I combined font styles with my goal being visual pleasantness.

The Jacen piggy bank went with a custom John Deere inspired granny square blanket. His mom was doing a farm themed room so I added the tractor and farm stickers for additional personalization. For one final touch of “out of the ordinary”, when I gift a piggy bank I usually put in a cash gift of dollar coins and $2 bills. It’s a fun way to give a gift of cash, but to make it stand out and be memorable.

Chicago Bears Inspired Crocheted Toddler Blanket


Over the past few years I have been perfecting my toddler baby blanket with a basic granny square. This Chicago Bears inspired version is one of my favorites. I love the bright orange and to super dark navy blue.  Growing up with a dad who loved the Bears this blanket reminds me of him. I hope it will find a new home with a family who will bond and create many great memories with it!

This blanket is the perfect size for a baby a toddler. Measuring 33 inches by 33 inches, this crocheted granny square is ideal for naps or as a “lovey” blanket. The edging is white and the main body is a deep navy blue. The orange is a very vibrant almost neon orange. I use Impeccable brand yarns. These blankets can be machine washed on gentle.

The sports theme is perfect for helping babies and toddlers bond with the sports enthusiasts in their lives. Share your love of the Chicago Bears with this unique afghan that is sure to keep your little one warm during NFL football games!

Mosaics and Other Art

Welcome to my world of art! Throughout these pages you will find a representation of my artwork and inspiration. My passion is stained glass mosaic, a craft I had been exposed to during my years as an art teacher’s assistant at the Chesterton Art Center in Chesterton, Indiana.

The puzzle like nature of the craft had me engrossed from the beginning. Vases are my favorite to create as they require more problem solving to work around the bends in the glass and allow for the colors to mix with each other in a different way than flat pieces. I love to hear the rhythmic snip as I cut each individual piece.

Finding a specific place for each uniquely shaped piece that was once part of the same whole makes me think about how we as human beings all come from the same fabric, each with our own roles to play and places to be to make a beautiful picture for all of humanity to enjoy and be a part of. I love that you can take anything and make it beautiful using mosaics, just by investing some time and creativity. No one piece is exactly the same, nor could they ever be.

While my focus is mosaic, I love to create. My work will not be limited to just stained glass, sometimes I will share my crochet or painting.

I am available to do commission work starting in March of 2013. We can work within your budget to create a truly original piece that your recipient will cherish for a lifetime.

Can’t wait to share my sculpture with you!

Leslie A. Curry