What is YouthInkwell Cooking Now?

Tico Tech Art Glass Teams Up with YouthInkwell’s Youthful Writers

– LeAnne Bagnall – January 12, 2007

The kids from YouthInkwell Publishing’s How to Cook with a Pencil anthology series are brewing up their newest books for you to feast your eyes on—literally.  Local glass artisans, Rafael and Janet Calvo of Tico Tech Custom Leaded Art Glass have painstakingly contributed their own time to help design the cover of Ashley Bae and Victor Hsieh’s latest book, The Painted Tea Set, a story of a man in search of meaning in his life who finds it only when he travels back in time through a teleporting refrigerator.

Two middle school students, Ashley and Victor spent months working on their children’s story.  Although the story is intended for a young audience, the book will surprise readers of all ages.  The tale of time travel contains issues that deal with family, financial struggle, personal strength, and most importantly, self-discovery.

When Rafael and Janet Calvo heard about the two writers’ project, they jumped right on board by offering their artistic endeavors for the book’s graphic elements.  A large window is being made in Tico Tech’s own style, resembling the structure of a stain-glassed window but lined with strong lead to give the glass a more dimensional appearance.  The window contains the magic refrigerator, holding the soon-to-be tea set that the main character will create, and the path of broken glass that led him to his destiny.

The Calvos hand-selected each piece of colored glass that is going into the design, even using a patterned mirror to construct the stainless steel refrigerator door that author Victor Hsieh specifically describes in the story.  The path of broken glass is literally made of tiny pieces of colored glass fused onto the window, creating frit as is becomes smaller and smaller into the distance to give the path a sense of depth.  The dimensional illusion is not a simple process.  Janet and Rafael must first break a sheet of glass into smaller pieces (less than half a centimeter in length) and then sift out the grainy pieces for the path as it stretches into the distance.  After the frit is placed and adjusted to the desirable location of the path, the Calvos then place the path pieces into a kiln oven that bakes the glass in temperatures around 1300 degrees Fahrenheit.  The pieces must remain in the kiln for about eight hours before they can be removed.

Eventually, all of this creativity in the workshop will manifest into the cover of The Painted Tea Set, which will appear for sale by summertime.  This Sunday, January 14th, Rafael and Janet will be paying YouthInkwell a special visit by conducting a hands-on workshop for glass making, allowing the young writers to participate in the creation of their actual book.  The final product will be photographed for the book and framed to hang in at YouthInkwell Publishing’s office.  The public is welcome to stop by to see the glass-making seminar and to get a sneak peak at the next YouthInkwell Publishing release.

YouthInkwell Publishing is run by Executive Director Jennifer Sarja, but she will tell you that it’s really the kids who run the show.  YouthInkwell kids have appeared all over town for city council meetings, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, book festivals, local book readings and signings.  The nonprofit publishing company offers members of the community to get involved in their “Water Well Project,” a book sales project that builds water wells in Ethiopia and Uganda next to public schools using one hundred percent of book profits collected.  To learn more about this event, YouthInkwell Publishing and its young writers and illustrators, contact Exec. Dir. Jennifer Sarja.

Tico Tech is run by husband and wife Rafael and Janet Calvo who personally design hand crafted glass art.  Their work ranges from lawn ornaments all the way to beautifully crafted glass doors and windows.  Their innovative inventions extend beyond the modern approaches to stained glass and plastics and simply stand as remarkable artwork.  You can see their work online at www.ticotech.com.