Saturday, March 28, 2009

Trip to Italy - Murano - The Island of Glass

This was just published but because I saved it as a draft it came out under March 17, 2009. So scroll down a couple articles and you'll see the Murano article!


Friday, March 20, 2009

The Annual Dexter Pioneer Arts Fair

Saturday, March 21, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is the annual Dexter (MI) Arts Fair. It is being held at a new venue - the Atrium of the United Methodist Church at 7643 Huron River Drive, Dexter, Michigan. Beaver Island Jewelry will be there with beaded necklaces, bracelets, glass buttons, Pandora beads, bottle stoppers, etc. We will show how to do the Japanese braiding Kumihimo. This site is "around the corner" from the Dexter Cidar Mill if you know that area.

50 vendors will be demonstrating and selling their art. This is a nice show and it is fun to see how people do fly tying, make bamboo fishing rods, knit, spin yard from their own sheep, rug hook, etc.

Dexter show last year 2008. That is my Kumihimo loom in the foreground.

Dog bead and then some examples of beaded jewelry.



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fitness - getting lean

I have been trying to get fit this winter season. Here are some great tips by Shaun Hadsell, owner of Fitness Together here in Ann Arbor. I know this isn't glass bead/jewelry related but we all want to be fit. These tips work!


10 Commandments Of Get Lean In 12

There are many other tricks that can potentially double and even triple the results of this information BUT, follow these steps consistently and you can program your metabolism to become a fat burning machine.
1. Thou Shall Lift Weights.
Sounds simple, but resistance training is the number one way to burn more fat and calories. It has a two fold effect. First, by producing more lean muscle tissue, your body will burn more calories at rest even while lying on the couch.
Second, research shows that when done correctly, a weight training workout (a personal trainer can show you an effective yet efficient weight training workout) can speed up your metabolism up to 12 hours longer than a “normal” cardiovascular session!

2. Thou Shall Be a Grazer Not a Binger.
You must eat five to six meals a day! People who eat only 1 to 3 meals a day are programming their bodies to be fat storing machines! By eating frequently, with smaller portions, you give your body a constant supply of nutrients throughout the day while managing your blood sugar.
Eating five to six meals a day is the easiest way to skyrocket your metabolism and energy levels to reprogram your body’s ability to metabolize calories and fat. There are dozens of studies and tons of research showing that eating five to six meals a day will possibly allow your body to burn more fat, have more energy and mental clarity, lower bad cholesterol, control your appetite, and manage your blood sugar.
Enough said. Eat five to six small meals a day, period!

3. Thou Shall Combine Lean Protein and Fibrous Carbs in Every Meal.
That’s right! Combining carbohydrates (the fibrous kind) with protein allows your body to be in a fat burning environment all day long.
As long as portion sizes are managed correctly, insulin levels will stay stable allowing your body to potentially use body fat as fuel.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, research shows that out of 50 million people who start on “diets” (such as low carb) each year, 47.5 million regain all or more of the weight they lost dieting.
Bottom line, for long term vitality, health, and energy, learn to balance your meals with protein and clean quality carbohydrates.

4. Thou Shall Detoxify Consistently & Drink an Adequate Amount of Water Everyday.
We brush our teeth and wash our hair everyday, why don’t we do the same for our cellular health?Because we lack education and awareness of environmental toxins. Many of the toxins we eat, drink, and breath on a daily basis are invisible. Out of site, out of mind.
What many people don’t understand the power of detoxifying and removing heavy metals can have on their over all health. In fact, doctors now know that 85% or more of all disease and disease states are linked to toxins.
Detoxifying with a scientifically proven mineral can increase mental clarity, balance pH, strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and potentially prevent many diseases or illnesses later in life.
Also, water works in synergy with detoxifying and plays a major role in our health. Many people overlook this simple yet essential component.
Water is responsible for the delivery and transport of all processes that take place in the body (fat burning, recovery, digestion, etc…). Without adequate water, our body’s ability to burn fat will come to a screeching halt.
Not only will healthy hydration possibly help your body burn more fat, it can also give you more energy, boost your immune system and provide a ton of other benefits. Make sure to drink 8 to 12 eight ounce glasses of water or more per day.

5. Thou Shall Eat More “Clean” Protein.
Eating more protein will curb your cravings for refined carbohydrates and in return you will have more energy and allow your body to reach its fat metabolizing potential.
Protein also provides the building blocks of muscle and provides our body with essential nutrients needed for hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and neurotransmitters.
Also, consuming more protein has a greater thermic effect allowing your body to consistently burn more calories.
In other words your body burns more calories digesting a chicken breast than it burns digesting carbohydrates or fat, so eat more “clean” protein.

6. Thou Shall Do Cardio First Thing After Waking Up.
Not only is this a great way to start your day, it will rev up your metabolism to be a fat burning furnace.
In fact, the right type of cardiovascular training (to learn an efficient yet effective progressive cardio routine, will not only burn 142% more calories than normal cardio, your metabolism may be increased for up to 48 hours after!
You could actually speed up your metabolism for a full two days after a cardio session if done correctly. And cut your workout time down significantly at the same time.

7. Thou Shall Avoid All “Dirty” Carbohydrates.
We have to avoid refined carbohydrates especially the white ones. The only way to live a healthy lifestyle is to eat balanced meals with clean fibrous carbohydrates, clean proteins, and small amounts of friendly fats.
Our bodies do continuously need carbohydrates for fuel for our brains, body, and muscles. However, if we continue to consume refined white or sugary carbs, we will program our bodies to store more fat, have less energy, and increase our risk of getting type II diabetes.
We must eat the right type of carbohydrates! By avoiding “dirty” carbs, as I like to call them, and eating “clean” carbs we will continuously have more energy and allow our bodies to readily access fat as fuel for the long term.
Seek guidance from a fitness expert who walks their talk in order to get information on reliable sources of nutrition.

8. Thou Shall Get More Rest and Consume Liquid Vitamins.Working out and eating “clean” foods are only the stimuli for your goals. The results occur while you rest.When you train hard and eat “clean” foods you put stress on your body that causes you to need more rest, and also deplete you of nutrients needed to recover.
Strong research also shows you body will absorb op to 98% of a liquid vitamin product while only absorbing up to 20% of vitamins in pill or capsule forms.
By getting enough sleep for recuperation and taking a scientifically proven liquid multi-vitamin with anti-oxidants to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients, you will allow your body to fill in the missing gap of the nutrition and fat loss equation.

9. Thou Shall Consume 30 Grams Of Fiber Daily and Avoid Starchy Carbs My Last 2 Meals Of The Day.
The key to having consistent energy and keeping your body in a fat burning environment is balancing your meals.
Early in the day, carbs are used for energy for the brain and body, but when you eat carbs later in the evening after your metabolism has slowed, you need less energy for daily activities such as your family, career, and workouts. Your body is less likely to use these unwanted carbohydrates and as a result you can possibly store them as ugly body fat.
Try avoiding carbs for your last 1 or 2 meals of the day and making it mostly “clean” protein with small amounts of vegetables and friendly fats.

10. Thou Shall Be Consistent Not Perfect.Let’s face it. If you follow these steps consistently, you will burn more fat, A LOT MORE!
But, we are all human and we will fall off probably more than once a week. The key to achieving great results is knowing that when you do fall off, you get right back on track instead of giving up completely.
Giving yourself a “free day” or “dirty day” once a week is an awesome way to reward your hard work and stay on course throughout the week. This gives you something to focus on during the week and is also a fantastic “calorie shock” for your body.
I have found over the years that accountability with consistency, not perfection of the basics described here, will give your body the programming it needs to be in a fat burning environment “naturally” all day, every day!
Do you overlook these basics or think they are too difficult to actually follow?
I know the majority of these things are very basic and simple, but I think that is half the problem with getting results from our efforts is that we overcomplicate what is really very simple!

Currently, 75% of Americans are exercising. Yet, 65% of Americans are considered overweight. Well, if 75% of Americans are exercising and 65% are overweight, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out current exercise programs in this country are NOT working!
I know that the number one reason people don’t exercise is because they don’t have time and the second reason is because they don’t have accountability to see any results to keep them motivated. Get Lean In 12 takes the guess work out of both of these problems.
Remember; “Nothing tastes as good, as being in great shape feels!” & “Half of getting what you want out of life is understanding what you have to give up to get it!

Shaun HadsallCreator of Get Lean In 12
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Murano Italy - The Island of Glass


Nancy Peterson
Beaver Island Jewelry

Last year I was offered an opportunity to take a glassmaking class from a master artisan, Lucio Bubucco, on the island of Murano, Italy, which is the “heart” of glassmaking. I thought about it for about a day and then decided what an opportunity to work with the maestro of glass control and expand my horizons, both professionally and personally. The class consisted of 8 other American beadmakers from around the country. As many of you know, I am a glass beadmaker, creating flameworked beads from a rod of glass that comes from Murano, Italy and then selling the beads individually or designing them into jewelry which I sell on my website,, or at Livingstone Studio,

Murano is a group of islands lying about .6 of a mile off the northern side of the island of Venice. Several interesting islands hide in the shallow Venetian lagoon which is part of the Adriatic Sea. The shallow waters and treacherous sandbars made Venezia safe from attack by land or water; no city wall was needed!

Lampwork Primer

First, will be a short primer on the art of making flameworked beads. Glass rods that I use are called “soft glass” as they contain high soda content and have a bright color palette. They are in the form of about 13 inch rods of glass which are then melted with a focused source of heat: a torch flame. Most of my glass rods actually come from the Moretti factory on the island of Murano, through an American supplier. Glass can then be formed into any composition. It is a process of both science and art. Everything is done to a bead while it is molten hot; no poking with your fingers! A variety of metal tools are utilized to poke, form, or pull the molten glass to create your little piece of art. After a bead is formed, either on the mandrel, or off the mandrel, it goes into a kiln set at 940 degrees for annealing or hardening. This temperature is ramped down over about 6 hours. Here you can see me making a bead with my kiln in the background. Notice that there is a ventilation system to draw the fumes outside and I have on didyium glasses so I can see the work without the flare from the soda glass. This process of making glass beads with a flame is called lampwork. The “lamp” is a gas-fed flame that is used to soften and model canes of colored glass into articles of various kinds. In the 15th century, the flame was supplied by oil lamps and was permitted in Venice after furnace glassmakers were banned to Murano.

History of Glassmaking in Venice and Murano

The earliest evidence of glassmaking in Venice is from AD 982. Fragments of Murano-made glass date from the 13th century. In 1291 the demolition of all glass kilns in Venice was ordered due to the risk of fire with all the wood buildings. From then on, Murano was the main center of glass manufacture in the Venetian Empire. Being on a separate island protected the buildings of Venice plus the secrets of glassmaking. Originally mosaic glass was made on Murano, developing then to glass vases, goblets, sculptures and beads. The glass of Murano from the 19th and 20th centuries was embellished with filigree and adventurine, dragons, swans, serpents, storks and flowers, in a distinctive style. At the end of this series I will list some good references on Murano Glass and the island of Murano.

Lucio Bubacco Class

My class was six days long with Lucio Bubacco who makes artistic compositions of glass – not beads but whole structures which can sell upwards of $1500. As his website ( says: Lucio Bubacco's sensuous works combine the anatomic perfection of Greek sculpture with the Byzantine gothic architecture of his native Venice. Seductive themes, metamorphosis and transformation, forms emerging from the void, echo themes from our mythological past when sexuality was spiritual, not political. Lucio is really a glass maestro. He only uses a rod of glass, a marver and the torch and people and figures just dance out of the flame! It is amazing and inspiring to watch him work. Here’s a photo of a mermaid he made in our class and a glass structure that he had for sale:

Some more photos from class:

Making a centaur.

A speciality - the ladies.

A little froggy that was suppose to go home with me--but he must have been lost in the studio!

Lucio working at his bench.

Leaf lady: Lucio made this in about 10 minutes. I bought it at the end of class.

Me working in class.

A Glimpse into Life in Murano

Everything goes by water in Murano and Venice; it reminded me of Beaver Island. Most people who visit Venice only go over to Murano for a few hours, with their eye on the clock and the timetable for the vaporettos back to Venice. I was living on Murano for about three weeks, with a little side trip to Florence and Tuscany, which gave me a glimpse into the rhythm of Murano (yes, I will go back!). There is an invisible side of Murano with furnaces that the public cannot visit, the people that you usually don’t meet and some little shops that you may not have time to visit. Glassmaking on Murano is more than a job; it is a passion that absorbs the glassmaker’s lives.

Early in the morning my roommate and I got up in our ground floor apartment, opened the window to the canal and made some café latte in our little gas percolator. We did have a washing machine (tiny) but no dryer (that is a clothesline outside). On Sunday walking around I saw lots of laundry hanging outside to dry. Of course, there are no vehicles. You walk everywhere or take a boat or ride a bicycle. The vaporreto is the means of transportation everywhere – from different parts of Murano to Venice or to the airport or other islands such as Burano. The locals have a pass that allows them to hop on any boat. We usually bought a one way ticket for 6.50 euro or a 12 or 24-hour pass such as on the weekend.

Fresh vegetables are sold from a boat and in Venice I saw the fish market boat! There is a very nice grocery store (actually two) on Murano, called “The Coop”. We fixed a lot of fresh pasta, very delicious sweet sausage, cheeses, fresh bread, and of course, wine! In the morning I would see unloading of cargo, the DHL boat, the dump boat, the veggie man along with people waiting for the vaporetto.

Everything closed up on Murano about 7 p.m. The trattorias or restaurants take turns being open on the island in the evening. One night we stumbled upon the one open restaurant where we enjoyed some wine, café and sweets. Walking around at night you could hear and see the furnaces charging their furnaces for the next day’s glassmaking. A few people would be out walking their dogs. Speaking about dogs, you had to be careful about where you stepped on the cobblestone walks as the dogs had no grass to do their duties. Italians seem to love their dogs and it is a very dog-friendly country. Dogs were on the trains, in stores, in the trattorias, on the boats, in the airport, everywhere!

Following are some photos showing life in Murano, Italy. Next time I will show you some of the special access we received behind the scenes of glass furnaces, mosaic makers and others.

The dog at our lunch restaurant. Foggy morn in Murano.

Our caffe pot. Delivery via boats.
The dump boat. See blue "street art - Murano Glass" in the background.

Glass abacus street art on Murano.

Here's the bus!
The Faro lighthouse

Maximillon glass vases.

Murano doorway.