Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vlog Post 3

What a wonderful day today was! I got to spend the whole day with my folks. I also gave a talk at the IMAGO Gallery in Warren, Rhode Island, along with seven other artists who won grants from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. I also met some spectacular paternal cousins, who further support my theory that everyone in Rhode Island is related somehow.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Snippets from two student interviews:

What influences you personally and how has that helped you develop your own personal style?

My maternal grandmother taught me how to sew when I was five years old and the first things I sewed were doll clothes. When I started to sew my own clothes, they looked like 1980s Barbie clothes. I was very informed by conventional high fashion when I was growing up because I had a subscription to Vogue magazine from the age of eight until I was eighteen. Also, I started promoting for raves in NYC in my middle teens, so colorful clubwear really had an effect on my aesthetics.

In your opinion, how is clothing an important factor in self expression?

There isn't enough time in the world to thoroughly meet every person. Clothing is potentially a way to communicate more information in less time. We can say who we are or who we want to be, what music we like, what causes are important to us; really anything.

Just for fun, what was the most unusual item you've incorporated into a design?

I don't think it's so unusual because it has a REALLY long history in just about every culture in the world, but human hair. A necklace and earrings of dreads that look like they're blended into the wearer's hair.

How did you get started doing lampworked beads?

When I was five my family took me to the Corning Museum of Glass, where I saw glassblowing for the first time. Two years later I saw a flameworker at a theme park in Southern California. When I was eighteen I ordered a kit in the mail from a catalog of art & craft books. It was called, "Everything You Need to Make Glass Beads for $99". Three months later I transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design to study glass.

Favorite artists and styles?

My favorite lampworkers are the traditional Japanese ones, who are currently doing the tightest and most technically challenging lampwork in the world, like Wakana Ogura and Nobuko Ikuta.
(My current favorite clothing designer is Paul Poiret, and I'm pretty excited about Laotian and Thai embroidery. My current favorite painters are Friedensreich Hundertwasser and Tamara de Lempicka. My current favorite band is The Slits. If you aren't familiar with any of these, please do look them up!)

Advice for those who are new to lampwork or want to start?

I suggest reading lampwork books & online forums, and watching tutorial videos so you can build up an understanding of vocabulary and how to apply techniques while you're not actually using the torch. Practice lampworking as often as possible. Also, a good teacher can help you learn more in less time. If you start making pieces that you want to anneal, rent kiln time at a studio or invest in a kiln.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I love teaching and learning and sharing skills, and I'm excited to be teaching and mentoring more lately. I also get a lot of emails from students around the world who interview me for school papers. I like how weird that is.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Becoming technophilic

Today we saw Avatar in 3-D for $6. How visually beautiful!

I feel fortunately overwhelmed with ideas lately. I'm always making lists of things to do, research, and make, but I think the most useful way to release my ideas will be to draw more, again.
In this way I can more carefully delineate, develop, and communicate my ideas, as well as translate them from electrical energy in my physical being to tangible images that I can digitally import for further processing. I can always carry around a book and a pen, but I don't have a laptop to always use a tablet.

It is a great privilege to be able to use the internet, let alone to own a computer and have internet access on demand. I used to go the library to use the internet. A little more than 2 years ago I saved up for a computer, and around that time my family gave me a digital camera. With these 2 resources I have been able to better (and more frequently) document my work, share it with more people, AND research and apply for grants, awards, and shows. With the money I won from the RISCA grant I've been able to attend the Fab Academy and I have learned so much in such a short amount of time.
Everybody deserves access to these basic resources, and it's frustrating to me when I see technophobes refuse to try to learn what this new electronic universe can potentially mean for them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another Sunday with the lasercutter

The lasercutter in action

Yesterday was pretty productive, but I haven't yet caught up with responding to emails. I did a bunch of organizing around the Fab Lab and I taught some on Saturday, Sunday, and today.
I think I'll be teaching a lasercut textile class at AS220 in April.

A lasercut textile

Hey Joey, thanks for the tablet! I use it a lot now to draw designs that I lasercut.
The separate pieces

Some more leaves to airbrush

Sunday, February 21, 2010


My original intention was specifically to not embellish this hoodie in the same ways that I decorated the previous one. Today I changed my mind and sewed this pom pom trim to the edge of the hood. The older hoodie is visible on the back of the chair on which I sit. These pom poms have a greater sheen, and a more velvety quality than the previous trim.
The numbers on the hood in the background are zip codes of places with personal significance. I used scissors to cut each number out of felt.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh, a keychain?

I made a "keychain."
I made these pom poms from Japanese Bunka cord and magatama beads.
I wrapped the keys in colored string to help identify them.
I lampworked these glass beads years ago and they're rather worn because
these cords and beads were suspended from my previous cell phone.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Early spring cleaning

Imagine spewing glitter when you laughed,
feathers when you coughed,
and bubbles when you hiccuped.

The studio is pretty clean in anticipation of an inspection from the fire marshall.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Creative Integrity

In my pieces I want to make every component myself, as much as (currently) possible. I don't mine metals or formulate my glass from scratch, but I do forge metals by hand and I flamework the glass. I hand- mix and pull certain colors of glass rods. I intend to raise and dye more fibers for textile work, but I like what I can do with found and re-purposed materials. Sometimes creating every little thing myself doesn't make a significant difference in the final work, and I'm learning to discern how to better manage my time and energy.

In the Fab Lab I often feel conflicted about using computers and machines to make things when I could do the same work by hand in less time. I do our assigned projects using the available machinery to know that I can; that I understand how to. Hindrances and unexpected problems are potentially the most useful for learning experiences, but if a little problem wastes twelve hours of work, it can be easy to lose patience with machines.

To be sure, I'm ecstatic to use these new tools! It is a privilege to have access to resources of digital fabrication, and I love employing them and experimenting. It amazes me to see the new possibilities every time I go to the lab. I find the most interesting results come from combining new techniques with my traditional craft practices and it's only been about four months since I began in the Fab Academy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

More of each

Tonight's opening was so fun! Three and a half hours passed like nothing, surrounded by so much good work, and so many wonderful people at the IMAGO Gallery in Warren.

I used the tablet from Joey to draw these leaves.

This is the lasercutter at work

and a finished piece of cut fabric.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

McQueen is dead. Long live McQueen.

"Wallflower Party" on display at Craftland until March 13th

The show that opens tomorrow at the Imago Gallery has already been reviewed by the Providence Phoenix!

"You may have seen Jenine Bressner wandering around Providence in one of her cascading necklaces of big rainbow-hued glass beads. If you have, you'll remember: the pieces are eye-popping collections of what look like miniature outer space cartoon party balloons. Here she offers a selection of glass jewelry, including one of the Party Neck Crowns, as well as a more demure Four Strand Glass Chain Necklace, which features tiny glass chain links that look like ice. Bressner excels at making flamboyant showstoppers. The most striking piece here is Red Drops Neck Crown. It's an alluring, luscious necklace of vivid red glass that resembles a colony of sea anemones — and seems similarly alive."

Red Drops Neck Crown (Red Bursting Collar)

Several Glass Chain Necklaces

Jade Floral Gradient Necklace

Floral Gradient Earrings

Pollenation Brooch

More lasercutting today, and a party at city hall.

Whoa, Craftland!

Aside from having work in a show that opens at Craftland tonight
(the Material Desires reception 5-8 PM and the exhibit runs until March 13th,)

I will be teaching "Textile Techniques for Jewelry" at Craftland on March 17th!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Leafy layers

I made this leafy bag more than eight years ago, and I've been using and repairing it consistently since then. It has fabrics from all over! The child's kimono fabric and plastic buckles on the front came from Japan. The heavy nylon for the outer shell was bought on the sidewalk of Canal Street in NY. I hand- cut the leaves in felts from Rhode Island, California, New York, and Japan.

The bicycle print lining came from Maine, and the metallic fabric came from an apparel show at RISD.

My folks dislike how tattered it is; my mom especially wants me to make a new one. I'm working on it!

This is a matching cell phone cozy that I made, not so long ago. It's not as worn because I haven't used it very much.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I have a lot of different types of supplies to keep organized, and there is always something else that needs to be put away. Here are a few of the ways that I store things.

Acrylic paints appropriately go in this paint tube- shaped bag. I've had this since high school.

I find these make up bags at thrift stores. They're the right length for pens and jewelry tools.

This recent thrift store score is just what I needed for seed beads.

I lampworked the spacer beads pictured at top. They're contained in a weekly pillbox that has enough compartments for my many colors. Rhinestones, mostly vintage, are in the other box.

My folks recently found these stacking trays. I can find supplies easily because they have clear sides. Above are sequins.

threads and yarns for embroidery

buttons, craft wire, pearls


Sunday, February 7, 2010


Gil wearing my rufflebeard and holding "Wallflower Party" at Craftland

Coinciding with my decision to cease selling at craft shows, I have work in two galleries. This was totally unplanned!
I have some really fun things going up at Craftland's gallery. The show, called "Material Desires," opens this Thursday, February 11th from 5-8. That show is up until March 13th.

The Imago Gallery
in Warren, Rhode Island is hosting an exhibition of work from RISCA grant winners. That show opens this Friday, February 12th from 6-9. I have a lot of labor- intensive jewelry pieces in this show; literally months and months of work.

Friday, February 5, 2010

From the Fab Lab

I did some more work on my Persistence of Vision toy. I stuffed the board a little bit more.

I learned a lot today about computer programming languages, and I'll be employing this information in writing the code for this microcontroller.

I designed a boombox in Sketchup and I milled it out on the Modela in hard wax, using a 1/16" bit. I like how the tool path left a fine pattern on the surface. This model radio measures 3.5" across, and it began as a block recycled from scrap bits of wax, hence the air bubbles and the stray chunk of wood on the upper right edge.

My year project will be a diorama of a mechanical dance party on a base, and the ceiling above the dance floor will be a functioning record player. The moving figures and the record player will all work on the same motor. I'll be casting these boomboxes in different materials to position around the diorama.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hold on a sec'

I brought my photo lights to California to illuminate my work at the show in Pasadena. The lights returned to the East Coast with Gil when he flew home, and both are still in New York. I've not been photographing new work without those lights, but he'll be in Providence this Wednesday so I'll again show you what I've been making!

Have you yet seen this funny picture of me and a tarsier in the Philippines?