Diary of a Demented Store Owner

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Niagara-on-the-Lake

Took an unplanned trip to this quaint little town on the weekend, sometimes known as the town that put Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw on the map. It's also a town where you can hardly find a place that serves Shaw's preferred beverage- Guinness. In any case I did see a couple of stained glass windows I thought I'd share with you.

Here at the Prince of Wales Hotel, a nice series of windows ...


Here's a detail shot of the figure...


... and below is a stunning ceiling skylight from The Queen's Landing, shamefully partially obscured by a tacky chandelier, apparently built by some firm called Fantasy In Glass...


Sunday, 27 June 2010

Damn Steve Jobs!

(not a professional model- no promotional fee paid)

Just made a beautiful fused and slumped holder for the iPhone 3G last month and now the iPhone 4 is coming out.
Good thing we've got a lot of molds. In anticipation of the iPhone 4 release in Canada next month (?) here's our latest in-house project- made with Spectrum Black overlaid with one of their very cool Spirits with the clear base up, so that the Apple logo in ghost white SP209 looks as if it's floating on top...

Friday, 25 June 2010

Do the Craft, Got the Button?

Do you do stained glass?
How about fusing?
Does anybody know you do? Your friends? Family? Parole Officer?
Then you better get one of Fantasy In Glass's official glass related buttons- a different one each week!
Only $2.88 each
Shipped anywhere in Canada for a lousy $5.44 (taxes included)!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Everything You Should Know About the G20 Summit

(click on pic to enlarge)

Baby Steps


We've rebuilt our website over the past ten months or so (oh, so many pretty pictures) including a
Supply Catalogue and Fusing Supplies Catalogue, but due to the volatility of the American/Canadian dollar and the U.S. surcharge policies of our OOCSGS it's been hard to commit to a pricelist to accompany this catalogue.
And we've heard about it.
A lot.
While we're not quite there yet, we do offer alternatives for you to get any pricing you may want from us- we have an on-line 'ask me' form for you to use (see it here), regular email (listed on almost every page of our website- fig@fantasyinglass.com) and a toll-free Canada wide telephone# (1-800-841-5758).
But we are slowly starting to add pricing, and new products pages.
Go here to check out over half a dozen pages on molds- ceramic, stainless steel, drop throughs, pod castings, even blanket or felt in several thicknesses (even rigidized too!) and here for our Coneart Kiln pricelist.

If you're having trouble with any of these links, all you need to do is refresh the page...

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Fusers Club All Finished

We had the last class of our latest Fusers' Club last week. While the class was 5 weeks, we stretched it out to seven only because everyone just kept showing up.
And boy do we have pictures to prove it.
Next session is scheduled for October and is suitable to anyone who has at least a rudimentary knowledge of fusing (such as our Intro Course).
Pics of the class, students and projects can be found here...

Coneart Kilns


I really don't know what else we can say about this kiln manufacturer, except I wish we could sell more of their kilns for them.
Frank, Ian and all the rest of the staff are simply too easy to get along with, are all very knowledgeable, and extremely accommodating and supportive whenever we call. They make a great kiln (six models specific to glass fusing- five of which we now carry in inventory)
This is a Canadian kiln manufacturer, which means CSA Approval comes on each kiln they sell. It also means that as they are local, you're paying only for the kiln and not also for shipping it from the U.S. (they'll even deliver direct to your door too!). This gives them more than a 25% price advantage over its American competitors. And if you need service, we can help you there too- no packing it up and shipping it off somewhere at great expense and risk!

All Coneart kiln pricing includes The Whole Works- that means our pricing includes a stand, shelf, kiln posts, lid prop, kilnwash, an extensive Fusing Technical Kit with handouts and disc and even Mikey's private telephone number in case you forget how to program your kiln when we're closed.

While our web page on kilns is woefully pathetic at this moment, we can stand proudly over our pricelist page as found here...

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The Spitzer Space Telescope crew have stitched together 800,000 frames of data into an enormous mosaic of our galaxy. This is just a tiny glimpse of the whole shebang, showing the Milky Way's violent stellar coming of age.
Of particular value is that it shows the location of Fantasy In Glass (in the centre)(of the universe)
'They should have called it The Mikey Way', says the very astute Gary Brown.
Of course ...

Saturday, 12 June 2010

And Yet Some More

A few More From Kokomo

Kokomo Glass

Priced a little higher than Spectrum but just unbeatable in quality of colour and cutability so it's therefore going to most likely be cheaper in the long run!
Actually it should be even less expensive.
Why?

Well, our one and only Canadian stained glass supplier (OOCSGS) has added a 4.9 % U.S. dollar surcharge. But... they got their Kokomo order in April when our Canadian Dollar was actually higher. Go figure.

North America's oldest glass manufacturer with documented sales to Louis Tiffany!
The only crappy thing about kokomo is their website. Don't believe me, take a look...
We just restocked so selection is amazing- here's some examples-


Thursday, 10 June 2010

We Revisit An Old Post

A couple of months ago Mikey wrote the following:

"Just doing a final check on some emails, while almost walking out the door for a quick vacation (store will still be ably run of course), and I got some news- one disturbing, the other almost as disturbing. Firstly, to Gary Brown, someone that gets picked on and teased mercilessly in this blog- not out of meanness, but out of my affection for him and Dot (how she puts up with him, I'll never understand)(do a quick search on Gary Brown, or any derivative of that name and see the onslaught of entries referencing him and you'll see what we mean). Over the weekend, his family were the victims of an unfortunate and devastating household mishap, that will affect them for months to come. We all sympathize".

Mr. Brown also happens to be a reasonably adequate blogger and is authoring one on his misfortune.
While it is obviously but a mere shadow of what Mikey achieves here, we do wish to encourage him to strive for something better.
For that reason we invite you to partake in Mr. Brown's musings here.

Fusing Overrated?


As just a lowly stained glass store owner who has tried to keep his finger on the pulse of this industry, we have seen a great change in the focus of our business over the past few years.
And that change has been towards fusing.
Again as a shopkeeper, we realize that promoting fusing so strongly can result in alienating our stained glass customers and this is crucial to avoid as while fusing is getting bigger, it will always remain a small percentage of sales.
So why this blog entry you ask?
Perhaps it's to apologize for the recent trend here on this blog, which was heavy on matters related to fusing and slumping rather than stained glass. Or perhaps to remind people that glass for fusing is also great glass you can use for stained glass. Or perhaps if we talk less about fusing we'll also hear less from Rev. Gary Brownburp.
But if you have any questions about fusing don't be afraid to ask.
Mikey was there before the beginning (not like in Egyptian times, but like in modern glass industry times- like before you could even buy fusible glass and we tested our own).
Yes, it does seem that Mikey somehow fluked his way into a trend that finally happened thirty years later.
Cleaning up the other day, Mikey tripped across one of his first fusing experiments- GNA strips laid on edge with a clear top and bottom cap done over thirty years ago. Pic above...

Keep Your Thoughts Pure and Your Glass Clean












Some helpful advice for fusers from Bullseye found here.
And yes, we do carry this product.
As a matter of fact we have it on sale until the end of June...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Fusers' Club Going Gangbusters!


Tomorrow and next week mark a two week extension on this ever increasingly popular course.
It's a fuser's workshop where more advanced techniques are discussed and attempted. The class has done fibre relief (see Zenia's above- she's into bones), pattern bars, powder wafers and freezes, plates and over the next two classes they'll be working deep (up to 8 glass layers) and who knows what else.
One of the participants, Kim S. has even done some great pot melts as seen below...
Interested?
We still have space if you'd like to jump in for one or two weeks. Thursdays from 7pm to 10 pm. Two weeks is only $45.00 and covers all firings too!

Calling Steve Jobs


How cool is this?
We call it the iFigFone mold from Slumpy.
It's mold #9305 at only $15.99 and is the perfect size to safely cradle your iPhone. See the one Zenia made using Spectrum's Aventurine Blue and Green and an Ivory.

Monday, 7 June 2010

So, because Figimodo wants to rub in the fact that he's traipsing all over Paris while we struggle here, by sending us pics of him enjoying himself, we've promised to publish these pics only if he sends along some sale ideas.
Here's today's...

All dichroic 1/4 sheets.............. 40% off!
All dichroic smaller than a 1/4 sheet...50% off!!!

... only until June 26 or while supplies last...

Figimodo Called From Paris

Figimodo took off for Paris this month and left us in a lurch as far as setting up some sale items- his only job here at FIG.
He did notice that we used the same picture of him that he sent, twice last week.
we did it on purpose because he's getting a little too cocky with this 'I have to find myself' in Paris thingie all while we fumble about trying to figure out some good sale ideas (I think we have too...Mikey).
If we publish a fresh picture of Figimodo, he's promised to come up with some good sale ideas. So here's a fresh pic. Let's see how he does.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Early Mornings At FIG


... are usually spent wondering who will arrive first- summer or Tina.
You see she's usually puttering around in her English Garden at 7a.m. and forgets that Mikey needs his Timmy's at 11 a.m.
Tina sent me this pic tonight.
Here's proof that sometimes they arrive at the same time...

Damn Figimodo!


As you might have read above, Figimodo, the official What's Going to be On Sale at FIG mascot has taken off to France for the summer, putting undue pressure on Mikey and the staff to come up with equally promising sales.

As he traipses around Paris, visiting his family at Notre Dame and generally carousing with all manner of sordid characters (hey, where's Gary Brown this month?) he leaves the FIG staff in disarray digging out of this Slumpy order or even posting some really good sales.

So...
Each week the FIG Staff are posting some hopefully amazing sale item.

This week (until June 10);

1) Taurus III Ringsaw..............$444.44!!!
and for fusers...
2) Bullseye kilnshelf paper....10 sheets/ $29.99
(sales no credit card, some limits may apply)

And, we've also added a Sales Table with continuously rotating stock all at some great discounts.

The Packing Slip, Part Two




The Packing Slip, Part One




Slumpy Mold Order Arrives

Just in and being competently(?) unpacked, priced and put out for sale, over 800 molds for slumping and fusing. And that includes lots of sushi plates which is something some of you have been screaming for (Margo the loudest). And we made sure to include a lot of these molds at under 13" for those of you who've bought one of Coneart's great 110 volt kilns!
This batch includes almost every mold they make and even a bunch in stainless steel preformed into circles and squares, weaves, floral formers, business card holders and more. And, because of their higher cost, Zenia will be setting up a mold rental registry to make it more affordable.
We've also brought in dams in various sizes, large drill bits for cutting the top opening for a lampshade (1 1/8"), the lamp fixture for draped pieces, and fibrefrax in several thicknesses including some presoaked with ridgidizer!
A copy of our packing slip to follow along with a new catalog page on our website.

And now for a quick news flash:

Toronto, ON: Fantasy in Glass has discovered that rats can be trained to help in the manufacture of their molds for glass slumping and fusing.
Apparently it's not just any rodents, but the "highly social, intelligent" figus- a small caviomorph rodent that is native to Toronto. And while they don't use tools in their natural habitats, they were taught by researchers as well as the staff of Fantasy In Glass to do so in captivity.
After several months of training and practice, researchers say, the figus can move a rake as smoothly and efficiently as croupiers in any Las Vegas casino- a handy skill when mixing the mud-like slurry that these molds for slumping glass are made of.
“This is first time rodents have been trained to wield tools”, said Gary Brownosley, a psydoscientist, who led the experiments at the Laboratory for Really Cool Science in Toronto. He elaborated about how they are so efficient and quality conscious that the Teamsters’ union has petitioned the mold manufacturer to either stop using these poor little helpless animals or to certify them to unionize the shop.
While these figus rodents are best at manufacturing molds 14” or smaller in diameter (a size that is easily accommodated by most of the kilns sold at FIG) scientists from the LRCS are considering training baboons in the manufacture of larger molds-1a specialty of Brownosley’s.
While it has long been thought that tool use is a hallmark of higher intelligence, Dr. Brownosley said, the brain structures that underlie such abilities may lie dormant in many animals with good hand-and-eye or paw-and-eye coordination. Training these figus to make molds in captivity provides insights into the plasticity of their brains, he said, and may even shed light on how early humans evolved tool use in the first place.
In separate studies, Dr. Brownosley notes they are examining gene expression in the brains of macaques and marmosets trained to check the coefficients of expansion in Bullseye glass.
To see the handiwork of these figus rodents, and the well over 1000 molds we have in inventory, keep a look out on this blog...