Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The wait is finally over! Oktoberfest is here and so are the huge money savings discounts on 100% German Beer Steins.
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It is how beer steins come to be. They have always commemorated a significant moment in our history. From battles between armies to love affairs between royalty, beer steins were commissioned and have always been a great way to document our lives.
If we were to come up with special beer steins today, we most likely would come up with different events in our lives. We could commemorate our marriages, the birth of our children and their graduations. We could commemorate our team winning, or a memorial for a great loss in our lives.
But if I were to commission them for moments that have had an effect on us all, I would have to go quite a bit deeper than that. Of course in my way of thinking, there are issues that I would absolutely avoid. But, there are some great times to commemorate even in our world gone wild.
The first stein I would commission would be one to commemorate the invention of the cellphone. We might be looking at it now as if it's no big deal. But just like landlines of yesterday, the cellphone will one day be replaced by something more elaborate. That's when the memory of the cellphone will be much more significant.
The second stein I would commission would be to commemorate Chuck Norris, arguably the baddest man in history. It is said that death had a near Chuck Norris experience. If we don't commemorate Chuck Norris with a beer mug, we are wrong... and he'll come after us! No one wants that!
It might have been done, but I would commission one for beer pong. What these kids do these days with ping pong balls is simply amazing. But, sometimes beer pong experts forget that beer is a part of the game. They just like bouncing their balls around!
To follow up with the beer pong beer stein, I would commission the beer stein to commemorate beer battleship. In case you don't know, it's a game of battleship with shots of beer. By the time someone sinks your battleship, you've had a good bit to drink.
Not to say that I would stop commissioning beer steins, but for now I would stop at commemorating the act of belching the alphabet. Everyone who can belch the alphabet has a special skill that they can't use anywhere else. We might as well honor this special skill with its own beer stein.
If we can literally make a beer stein to commemorate anything, there are some really great moments to consider. If you have a loved one who just came home from the war, or if you have a friend who just graduated cosmetology, a million and one things in your life can fill your beer stein collection. That's the fun part about it!
Steinsandglassware.com is your ideal destination for getting beer steins, glasses and mugs. Make your collection luxurious by adding hand-made Oktoberfest steins. Special discount on account of Oktoberfest can be availed by every beer enthusiasts in America.
There are beer steins of all shapes and sizes. Traditionally, they tell the tales of historical events. But, steins have evolved just like everything else.
Bikers have steins made for bike rides they want to commemorate. Sports fanatics have them for their teams. Animal lovers have them for their favorite animals. There are all kinds now and there is no reason why a person can't have one personalized.
A person's name, military unit, membership, or website are all great ideas for a personalized beer stein. But, you might have to make it for yourself. It's not hard and there are several ways.
I remember sitting in the shop years ago with my mother making ceramics. I made myself a coffee cup and she made me an eagle lamp. She made so much more than that, but those were the only two things I wanted.
We ordered the molds from a catalog. So, that would be a beer stein in this case. For ceramics, you might get a beer mug that you have to add a lid to in order for it to become a beer stein. Any ceramic store should have a huge selection from which to choose.
In the day, we would scrape where the two sides were brought together. This would create a smooth seam never again to be visible to the naked eye. Then, the molds would be bisque fired for about three days. This hardens the mold so they are easier to handle, but allows them to stay porous for decorating.
Once the bisque firing is complete. You can decorate. Using glaze, you can spray, brush or sponge various colors and designs onto your beer stein. Stencils work awesome if you know how to handle them.
Allow your computer to do most of the work. For most of my image work, I use the free software GIMP because it has some very robust features in par with Photoshop. So, get the image you want and then use GIMP to do the rest.
It's a simple process of making a stencil. With GIMP, you can use a selection tool that allows you to select by color. Simply put your cursor on a color and select. Every pixel in the image that is that same color will be selected. If you can see where I'm going with this, you can see how easy using a stencil is going to be.
Paint your beer stein the color you want the background to be. Then, start on the stencil. Create multiple layers for your stencil using your computer and your printer. All you need to do is select each color of the image. You might have to do some freehand if you have a very detailed image. But, most unit badges, college mascots, membership icons can be easily finished in about three or four layers. Other more detailed images will take more layers.
Once you've selected a color on the image, use CTRL+X to delete that color from the base image. Open a new image so that it's blank. Fill it in with a color that contrasts with the color you've deleted from your first image. For instance, if you deleted all the white pixels from your base image, fill the new image in with black so that there is a visible contrast. Use CTRL+Z to paste the color onto the new image and save it as Stencil1.jpg.
Allow your base image to lose colors as you go. That way you can keep track of what layers you still need to create. Create a new layer for each color by selecting the layer as in the above steps, then delete it from the base image and transfer it to a new image. Save as Stencil2.jpg, Stencil3.jpg and so on until you have completely deleted all the colors from the base image and created a stencil for each one of them on an image of their own.
Print each stencil. For each image, focus on the color that stencil is representing. Cut it out with a sharp angle carving blade or something of similar quality that can handle precise detail. You are ready to paint.
Place the first layer on the stein and spray or brush the proper color glaze onto the ceramic. Allow to dry before applying the next layer. Make sure that you place the next layer in the same exact spot as the first. You might need to find a temporary way of marking where the stencil belongs. Scotch tape can provide a decent guide.
That's the way to do an image of a symbol or a crest that you would like on a stein. Of course, you can paint your stein freehand if you want. Stencils are only a way to make it as precise as your ability will allow.
Once you have glaze your entire ceramic stein, it needs to be fired again. This is called glaze firing and it cooks the glaze into the ceramic. You can have a glossy finish if you want and glaze firing makes it look absolutely professional.
So, if you can't find a stein that you like or if you have one in mind that doesn't seem to exist, making your own from ceramics is a great way to go. Ceramics are fun and a great way to get anything you want in the design that you want. I'd look around first because just about everything is on a stein these days.
The common material for making beer mugs before 1892 was stone, or stoneware. The 1892 Oktoberfest brought the introduction of the beer glass or the beer mug made of glass. Even though, the name Stein, the German abbreviation for stoneware, has been thought of to mean generally any robust vessel beer enthusiasts use to drink beer.
The unique history of the Stein begins with the lid, and it is in fact what actually differentiates the beer steins from the beer mug and any other beer drinking vessel for that matter. The beer mug doesn't have a lid. The Stein does, and it is commonly attributed to keeping the flies out of the mug, thus keeping them out of your beer. Only there is a deeper history than that because the actual flies that prompted the addition of the lid were bringing death, thus the lid was added because of a series of German laws put into place for public hygiene purposes.
The Black Death was a bubonic plague that originated around China and eventually spread to Western Europe in the fourteenth century. It has been said that the Black Death was carried by fleas on rats through the various trade routes famously known as the Silk Road, land and sea routes that connected merchants in the Asian and African countries to merchants in European countries. The Black Death resulted in thousands of people dying a day and to fend off as much death as possible, laws were put in place.
Invasions of small flies sweeping through Central Europe caused fear of the Black Death and successive possibilities of plagues due to the fact that flies can carry disease every bit as good as fleas can. Therefore, German laws called for covering food and beverages to protect consumers of restaurants and pubs. Thus, brings us back to the origin of the Stein.
But, Steins weren't just covered. They were covered in style! A Stein has a hinged lid with a thumb handle for ease of drinking. In one swift move, a beer enthusiast can lift the Stein, pop the lid off and take a drink. Who would want the hassle of having to do that in several steps?
Different materials for making Steins in the early days include pewter or silver for the rich, and wood was used among the poor. But, wood is very porous. Beer would soak into the wood and be very hard to clean. Can you imagine what skunk beer, days to even weeks old caught in the pores of wood smells like? Here's a hint. You don't want to know.
Therefore in the experimentation stages trying to find the materials that would make a cheap Stein the poor could afford, a new firing chamber was designed so that heat could get to higher temperatures. Additionally, clay is a very cheap material that can easily be found in the ground, thus the name earthenware often used for pottery of various sorts. Creating a furnace made completely of brick allowed for the perfect environment to raise temperatures high enough not only to completely dry the clay, but also melting it to stone-like. Much harder to break, it's often referred to as stoneware.
A simple Stein is basically a ceramic mug with a pewter lid hinged at the top. But, the science of creating Steins has developed since the 1500s to include an artistic appeal that often alludes to German legends. Raised-relief decorating brings the art to life in three-dimension that is raised from the surface of the Stein. However, etched decorations and decals can often be used as well. In fact, modern technology has allowed us to make decals that can easily be transferred to the Stein with ease and permanence.
Even though German legends have traditionally been the focus of Stein art, any parable can become the subject of a Stein from Biblical to political, mythological to historical. Today, a Stein can have the subject of last year's Superbowl or yesterday's NASCAR race, biking, Christmas, eagles and lighthouses. There is no subject not worthy of German beer steins artistry.
Beer glasses, bottles and cans have become the more popular drinking vessel of the beer enthusiast. That's because it's easy. That's the way most beers come. But, the Beer Stein will always make for an awesome beer enthusiast collection. As long as we have beer enthusiasts who like to collect stuff and we keep making stuff for them to collect, the Beer Stein will enjoy a long and prosperous life.
Steinsandglassware.com is your ideal destination for getting beer steins, glasses and mugs. Make your collection luxurious by adding hand-made Oktoberfest beer steins. Special discount on account of Oktoberfest can be availed by every beer enthusiasts in America.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013