Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Great Oaks, Tiny Acorns

Acorn commissioned by Roommate by David Landenwich
I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating: I hope all y'all have a friend like Roommate in your life. This Christmas, the only thing I asked for was "some kind of jewelry with an acorn on it" -- because of my blog symbol, because I knew I was getting ready to make a big life change, and I thought it would be a good reminder of why I chose the acorn as the symbol for this blog.

Side trip: Why the acorn, Lou?  I'm a literary nerd, to be sure. But one of my favorite sayings is one that I can't attribute to Shakespeare or Yeats or Whitman. In fact, it's tough to figure out where it came from.  But for years, I've had a little decorative dish that I bought at one of the Vanderbilt estates in Newport, and it says: "Great Oaks from Tiny Acorns Grow." That's Loueyville, the blog. Not quite a Great Oak yet. Neither am I. But hopefully we're getting there.

So, I asked Roommate for acorn jewelry, and he scoured our local stores to find me something.  And when he couldn't find the right piece-- this is where the BFF part comes in-- he commissioned a local artist to make me one.

Turns out this local artist is also a bartender at Roommate's (our) home-away-from-home, and Metromix's "Best Bar in Louisville," the Back Door.  David Landenwich has been working with glass for three years. When Roommate gave me the acorn necklace, I immediately said, "I've got to get Dave on the blog." So after a few text messages, I got his email; I asked him a few questions, and here was his response:

I'm glad you liked the pendant that [Roommate] asked me to make for you. I kind of got carried away and made about ten of them. My friend and co-worker Gail Oyler introduced me to "Soft glass." Soft glasshas a lower melting point than other glass. A lot of the glass earrings and necklace you see are of this variety. With the right amount of control you can do incredible things with soft glass. Unfortunately for me, soft glass melts too quickly and usually  ends up in a puddle in front of my torch.

After a while, I got into using borosilicate glass, more commonly known as Pyrex. It is considered to be a harder glass with  a higher melting point so it works a little slower. The colors you can develop with Boro can be very intense depending on  how you "Strike" the glass (working the glass with greater or lesser amounts of oxygen). I know, technical, smecknical.

Anyway... Gail and I do shows at art fairs and farmers' markets. She does all kinds for bead work. necklaces, ear rings, blown vessel, you name it. She has done many commission pieces for clients. I tend to do more pendant work. Like I said, I have only been working with glass for three years. I have a lot to learn. But that's the fun part.

Gail displays her work on I don't have a website or page, but you can reach me at

I can't tell you how many compliments I've gotten on my new acorn necklace. I wish Dave had a website or an ETSY shop, but I will keep in touch with him and let y'all know if that changes. In the meantime, Dave seems willing to try new things and work on commission (according to Roommate, when he brought the 10 or so acorn pendants to the Back Door to let Roommate choose one, he actually sold at least one more that night). So if you have a glass pendant need, hit him up at his email address. Or ask for him at the Back Door. 

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