Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Great Scot: Glass Artist Fiona Macneil October 24, 2008

Floral Glass Pendant by Fiona Macneil

Floral Glass Pendant by Fiona Macneil

By Louise Sleigh, excerpted from her Catwalk Threads blog

Fiona Macneil: Glass Artist

What is your earliest fashion memory?
Wearing the clothes which the band the ‘Bay City Rollers’ made famous in the ’70s.  This involved wearing white flared trousers with tartan up the side, a lilac (yuck) jumper with tartan on the front, and yes a tartan scarf.  Even for a Scots lassie, this was too much tartan.  I haven’t worn tartan since.

What are some of the best things about living in Glasgow?
The museums, art galleries, shops, restaurants, markets, night life but most of all the Glasgow people, they’re unique.

Describe your business:
My business is new and I would describe myself as being a self-employed glass artist.  At the moment I sell fused glass jewellery in my Etsy shop but in the future I hope to be using all the glass skills I learned at college to branch out into other ‘glassy’ areas such as glass panel making, fusing and mosaic work.  I plan to do commissioned work and I would also like to showcase my ‘arty ‘ type glass via exhibitions.

Star Pendant

Did you study arts? What was your course, where did you study and for how long?
I studied design, fine art and architectural and decorative glass at the Glasgow Metropolitan College.  I studied for four years, the last two years were spent learning all about glass.

Did you have any work experience in arts and crafts prior to setting up in business?

I’ve always loved art but I didn’t get interested in crafts until I was married though I had been taught how to crochet by my Granny when I was a little girl.  I enjoyed teaching myself various crafts and got really into salt dough modelling and used to sell my creations at craft fairs.  More recently I’ve been working at the local youth club teaching the children arts and crafts.

When did you set up in business and what inspired to you do that?
I set up my business this year after completing my glass course.  The course was geared to teaching students how to set up their own business because of the nature of the work they do.

What advice would you give someone who was thinking about setting up in your type of business?
My advice would be to first of all learn all you can about running a business and research whether there is a market for your glass work or service.  Decide whether you are dedicated enough to cope with the business side of things (and all which that entails) and not just the ‘creating’ side as this could make or break your business.  If you apply all you have learned thoroughly then your business has got a good chance of succeeding.

Leaf Earrings

Where do you get your design inspiration from?
Design inspiration for my jewellery comes from my interest in abstract forms which involves looking at shape, texture and colour. I am also inspired by nature.

Approximately how long does it take to design and make one of your glass pendants?
It depends on which type of pendant I am making.  Cutting the glass and placing abstract pieces is a fairly quick process.  This can take from 10-30 minutes.  The glass has then to go into the kiln to be fired.  With my kiln the process takes approximately one hour.  If I am painting the pendant, waiting for the paint to cure then baking it again this can take a further day and a half.  Further time is spent putting on the bail and making the necklace, this takes one day due to curing time.  So really a pendant can take from 1 -3 days to make.


You are a supporter of work HANDMADE IN SCOTLAND.  Is there a website for this?  How can readers find out more about it?

You know the internet is a big place and Scotland is a very small country.  Small, yet talented. Like all other small countries in the world including our neighbours within the UK …. England, Ireland and Wales I feel strongly that our arts and crafts should be promoted to the rest of the world.

Abstract Fused Glass Pendant by Fiona Macneil

If you are interested in supporting small countries then I suggest using search engines for specific crafting areas which interest you within the country of your choice.  There is also a facility within Etsy which allows you to shop “locally.”  Again, just type in the country of your choice.

Although I do not work for the ‘Scottish Tourist Information’ service … lol … their website can be found on-line at http://www.visitscotland.com/

I am also a member of the only ‘Scottish Team ‘ on Etsy.  It’s called McEtsy … great name!  If you want to find work from Scotland from this group of ladies then just type McEtsy into your search whilst on the Etsy site.

Glass Pendant by Fiona Macneil

Purchase Fiona’s products at http://www.fionamacneil.etsy.com.

 

Street Fashion It-Girl Suzie Kondi October 23, 2008

Suzi Kondi dress, far right, goes iconic in New York magazine slideshow.

Suzi Kondi dress, far right, goes iconic in a New York magazine street fashion history slideshow.

Media-magnet, designer Suzie Kondi is having another it-girl moment with her featured item in a New York magazine 40-year history of street fashion. Get this: the history begins in 1968 with a really, really mini dress and ends 40 years and much fashion meandering later with Suzie’s really, really mini dress. So she’s not just another page in fashion history—she’s the last page.
See the fashion slideshow here.

P.S. Check out Suzie’s adorably, effortlessly hip line here.


 

Crazy for Kitschy October 22, 2008

Peter Max "Love" Bowl

Peter Max

You may not know it to look at me or my home, but I adore vintage kitsch. I store my jewelry in state souvenir tumblers, and have a collection of 1950s plastic sunglasses without the lens and tiny Frankhoma boots, just to give you a hint of how deep this fetish goes. EyeforModern.com is just the place to indulge your urges to connect with a kitschy past, with home items from mid- to late-century. Check out this Peter Max “Love” bowl from the 1970s—just what I need to remind me of my Love cereal-eating childhood. That’s what kids today are missing: a little snap-crackle-pop culture in the morning like a Peter Max-decorated cereal box. Get your classy kitsch here.

 

Pin-Up Dream Come True October 20, 2008

If you think you’ve missed your calling as a 1940s pinup girl, a 1930s moll, or a 1920s silent screen star, it’s not late to play dress up and have your pic taken as one. Maybe I’m the last to discover the vintage Hollywood glamour photography scene, but Time Machine Studios Photography does just that. If, like me, you’ve always been a little disappointed by the 21st century, this is a chance to do a little time travel to a more stylishly suitable era. Choose your glam shots here.

 

Bold rings, necklaces and bracelets are big this year

Posted by Marjorie Cunningham of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry

Everywhere you look in 2008, you’ll see bigger, bolder jewelry.  While the trend is to wear less jewelry, the jewelry that is being worn is large and more unique.  Celebrities and fashion designers are wearing more statement pieces and large, colorful show stoppers. I’ve picked a few of my favorites to give you some ideas on where you can start with accessorizing jewelry.

One of the biggest trends is chunky cocktail rings.  Look at the size of this ring on Angelina Jolie—and what a gorgeous color!

I particularly like this beautiful coin charm bracelet by Pianegonda, a sterling silver Italian jewelry line. This piece is stunning and yet simple.

Another designer of this year’s big, bold jewelry look is Stephen Webster.   Christina Aguilera is shown here wearing his jewelry.

 

Move over paper dolls October 19, 2008

Filed under: Fashionista Files — rebmas03 @ 1:45 am
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In the 1940s, my mom had paper dolls. In the 1970s, I had this awesome game with a sticky board and sticky cutouts of wardrobe pieces. It was like my own plastic version of paper dolls where I could mix and match to create outfits. Move over paper and plastic dolls, now we have Polyvore. You can mix and match web fashion images to create your own fashion sets and share with your other similarly style-minded Polyvore friends. This could be truly endlessly entertaining, if you are the sort who can never get enough of making outfits. See you on Polyvore.

 

The Easiest Holiday Cookies Ever! Part One October 18, 2008

By Julia Pantoga

I don’t get what people love so much about decorating holiday cookies; everyone but me seems to think it’s fun. The benefit to you of my disdain for decorating holiday cookies is that I’ve thought about how to make every step simpler and less excruciating. (By the way, I did not decorate the cookies in the photo above; an artist friend of mine did.)

Okay, there are three parts to making decorated holiday cookies:
1.    Making the dough
2.    Rolling out and baking the cookies
3.    Decorating the cookies.

I like the first two steps; it’s the third step that gets me.


Make the dough now and freeze it.  When it comes time to make cookies in December, you will be really pleased you have that done.  Wait to roll and bake the cookies; however, because baked cookies are very delicate and likely to break before you have a chance to decorate them. (Although broken cookies are magnificent crumbled up and served over fruit.) Here’s the recipe I use. It works when you freeze it and roll it out later, and it tastes great. I divide it into three batches that I freeze.

Sugar Cookie Dough
1 cup butter (I like salted butter for this recipe)
½ cup sugar
1 egg (don’t forget to bring it to room temperature by putting it in a bowl of hot water)
3 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
½ tsp baking powder

1.    Cream butter and sugar.
2.    Add egg and vanilla, beat well.
3.    Measure and mix in flour and baking powder. (I mix the two together before putting them in the dough).
4.    Divide dough in three batches, label and freeze.

If you must know…  For 1/8” cookies, bake 5 min. @ 400 degrees.

You should begin shopping for decorating supplies now.  Go to a store that specializes in cake/cookie decorating.  There, you will find exactly you need.  The store will have the most interesting assortment of cookie cutters, colors of food dye and specialty icing spatulas.  The sales clerks will be knowledgeable and helpful about cookie decorating
The easiest cookie cutters to use are those with the fewest “appendages”.  For example, a bell shaped cookie cutter will make cookies that are much easier to handle than a fussy angel-shaped cookie cutter.  If you have young children, or if any of you are easily frustrated, easy cookie cutters are a must.
While you are at the decorating store, buy:  a small angled and tapered spatula that is designed especially for icing cookies, fantastic green, red, yellow and blue food dyes (they will be so much better and more complex than what you can buy at the grocery store), decorating paintbrushes (I’ve tried dime store paintbrushes, but the bristles fall out, which is unacceptable when you are making food.). Don’t buy anything that won’t “dry”.  “Gel” decorating products look great; but the next day, the cookies are still sticky. Make sure that everything you buy for decorating will eventually harden.  At a decorating store, the clerk will know what hardens and what doesn’t.

I’ll tell you what I know about rolling and baking cookies in Part 2 of this series and give you some ideas for decorating in Part 3.  Keep in mind though, that I don’t like decorating; so my decorating tips will be along the lines of easy-and-quick (but fabulous).