Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New melts and a new piece for the spring show

I did a some more melts the past few days before it gets warmer.  I vent my kiln from the outside and so I’m reluctant to do pot melts during the summer since the temps will be much hotter.  It’s a snap to keep the control box as cool as a cucumber during the fall and winter.  Right now the melts are still thick blanks that I’ll need to thin out.  I’m pleased with how they turned out.





When I first got into glass fusing I had envisioned creating small glass tiles (2 – 3 inches in the side) and them connecting them together using the copper foil method. There was so much to learn and explore I put that ide off to the side for a bit.  But now I’ve re-visited the idea and put together this piece for the Lincoln Artists Guild spring show.



Well there it is.  Time to break a leg again…

Monday, April 7, 2014

Misc. Glass Shenanigans

First Shenanigan

So what do you do when you have several empty olive jars? 


You try fusing them together just for the hell of it.


Well not totally…I had visions of making a blank out of them and then slump it it into a mold for some kind of snack bowl.  I remember seeing a mold over at the Delphi Glass that looked like it would be the right size (about 6.5 X 9). The results of the fuse leave a bit to be desired.


It sort of looks cool but it suffered some major thermal shock on the cool down because of the uneven thickness of glass and a cooling schedule that was too aggressive.


I needed to use a more conservative cool down schedule plus I probably should have fused it longer at 1500 degrees to flatten it out a bit more.  I held for 15 minutes when I should have done 30.   It’s back in the kiln again to see if I can fix it.

Second Shenanigan


I talked about this melt in a blog post a couple of months ago.  I won’t rehash the details here but I’ve been trying to think of ways getting it back to the shape it was originally intended to be: round.  I decided to try a method I had been using on my other pot melts to expand the size of the melt and give it a little border.   When I do a pot melt I create a blank in a Slumpy’s 8 inch mini melt and then flatten it out by taking it up to 1500 for 45 minutes.  I end up with a melt that’s about 10.5 inches in diameter. I found I can expand it out to about 12 inches by cutting out a clear 11.5 inch circle of glass, putting the flattened melt on top and then fusing them together.  I end up with a melt about 12 inches  in diameter which fits perfectly in the 12 inch melt stand.


Anyway I decided to try this technique to get the oblong melt back into shape.


I traced around my piece with a marker and then cut it out.


I had to use some etch to get rid of some kiln wash that had stubbornly baked on the back of the glass.  Either it’s my wash that’s causing that problem or else it may be one of the downsides to melting directly into a form.


I then put the two pieces in a 12 inch ring casting mold; the clear glass on the bottom and the melt on top.  My thinking was that the mold would confine and glass and force it to fill out the circle.  It worked pretty darn good.  I still had do do some grinding but for the most part I ended up with something that was reasonably round.


Third Shenanigan

A touch of tragedy here. I had this decorative plate that I had made that I really didn’t care about.  It was kind of lopsided and just didn’t come out like I expected.


I had it in storage and there was another plate on top of it. They were separated by a couple of pieces of paper towel.  So it really didn’t break my heart when I found it had broken into two pieces when I checked on it.  I tried to salvage it by fusing it together again.  It came out “OK” (still wasn’t crazy about it). I put the blank back on the rack to slump it some other day.  The next day my wife was doing the laundry when she heard a CRACK followed by a CRASH.  The piece had split and half of it fell of the shelf and on to the floor.  I decided to cut it up and use some pieces in pendants but then I got the Idea that maybe I could resurrect some of it as a mosaic type thingy. So I took my cut up pieces, some additional clear glass and a large blob I got from a batch of blown glass scrap off of EBay. I figured the blob would make an interesting center to the piece. 


I’m not sure which I the more; this new incarnation or the original piece. You decide for yourself.


Unfortunately (or maybe hallelujah) this piece is no longer among the living.  you see on thing I didn’t take into account was that the massive piece of glass in the middle made the blank about  1.5 millimeters thicker than the edges and so my cooling schedule wasn’t conservative enough and this beastie was in two pieces again after 24 hours.  I tried fusing it back together again with a more conservative cool down schedule but it still wasn’t enough.  It was in two pieces again when I opened the kiln.  It’s now resting comfortably in file 13.

End of Shenanigans

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tiles and such…

I’m finally revisiting an idea I had when I first got into glass fusing. I had thought it would be really cool make little scenes or abstract patterns on 2 – 3 inch square tiles and then assemble them into a mosaic.  By using tiles I would not be restricted to the size of a monolithic piece of glass (typically 12 X 12 inches) or the size of my kiln.

My apologies for not having more pictures.  Once I get focused in on making something like this I space taking pictures off. Right now this piece is very much proof of concept.

This piece consists of 16 2 X 2 inch square tiles: 8 transparent and 8 opal white.


Here you seen them already foiled and soldered together in clumps.  I had imaged mounting these groupings on some kind of scaffolding and having them spaced out as you see here.  That idea didn’t work out to well. 

Anyway the groupings are re-enforced using a piece of 12 Ga copper wire soldered to the back.


I soldered the wire in a way that it would not bisect the transparent pieces.  Anyway I decided to solder all the groupings together in a more traditional mosaic format.  It turned out to be a bit of a challenge since I had already grouped some tiles together under the assumption that my original idea was going to work. Here’s one of the arrangements I came up with.


Well much weeping and gnashing of teeth (and one bottle of ruined patina…don’t ask me how) this is how it turned out.


Not too bad.  I won’t be submitting to the Spring art show. One of the tiles cracked during assembly.  I plan on making a bigger one with 32 tiles.  I promise I’ll be better at documenting this next time.  I might even shoot video of this process and put in on my YouTube channel.