Copyright, All Rights Reserved.

Copyright, All Rights Reserved. All content on this site is copyrighted, Dana Worley, as of the date of posting. Reuse or redistribution of this content is strictly prohibited without express written permission of the author.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Fused Glass Garden Stakes

Finished Garden Stakes
Finished Garden Stakes



The following is a tutorial for creating fused glass garden stakes. I had a few objectives for this project. First, I wanted to try out the new Fuse Master Easy Fire Gold Metallic enamel I'd purchased. I also wanted to try my idea for mounting glass on copper tubing (nothing particularly innovative, but I wanted to see if it would work), and lastly, well... I thought I might as well make something colorful for the garden as summer is winding down.

Following is a rough outline of the steps. I apologize in advance for the poor quality photos and the black background for most pictures -- this was a "snap 'em quick" as you go kind of project!



Materials

Yes, plain old silicone
Yes, plain old silicone
Fuse Master Metallic Gold
Fuse Master Metallic Gold
  • Glass: I used most of a 16x16" sheet of Wissmach luminescent, scrap clear, some scrap dichroic, and frit
  • 1/8" fiber paper
  • Fuse Master Easy Fire Gold Metallic enamel
  • Medium for enamel.* 
  • White Glue
  • 1/4" OD copper tubing (hardware store)
  • Copper tubing cutter (hardware store)
  • 10 ft roll of copper tubing and cutter
    10 ft roll of copper tubing
    and cutter
  • GE Silicone (hardware store)
*I used Colors for Earth that I had on hand. Fuse Master sells a medium specifically for their enamels. You could also use Unique Glass Color medium, or any medium you have on hand that will allow you to mix the enamels to a painting consistency.




Tutorial

Cut sheet glass
Cut sheet glass


Start by cutting the sheet glass into wavy shapes. I wasn't too particular -- this was a science project!

Pair off the wavy shapes and place them in pleasing arrangements. I overlapped the lower part of the glass pieces, but not the upper. I cut pieces of clear for the bottoms of each pair of shapes. 



Fiber paper capped with clear top view
Fiber paper capped with clear top view
Fiber paper capped with clear front view
Fiber paper capped with
clear front view
This clear and the single layer of base glass underneath it created the sandwich for two approximately 1/4" wide strips of fiber paper, stacked on top of each other. I glued the two pieces of fiber paper, then glued the stack to the bottom piece of base glass.



Add decorative paint
Add decorative paint
Paint helps hide the channel
Paint helps hide
the channel



Mix the gold metallic enamels with the medium to a painting consistency (about heavy cream) and get creative with your swirls of color. You can put some paint on the clear layer covering the fiber paper to help hide the channel once the stakes are fired.


Into the kiln and decorated with frit
Into the kiln and
decorated with frit
Place the pieces on a kiln-washed shelf in the kiln. Decorate the pieces with crushed clear glass, dichroic, and medium to coarse frit. Try to keep the frit away from the edges, so you have minimal clean up of sharp edges after firing. 

Fire these pieces to a contour fuse. The goal is to soften the frit and edges of glass so they are not sharp, while still maintaining texture.

Here's my firing schedule. You may need to adjust for your kiln.



Segment
Rate/Hr
Temp (F)
Hold
1
300
1100
30
2
100
1250
60
3
500
1430
10
4
AFAP
950
120
-
OFF



After firing, clean up any sharp edges using a diamond hand pad or grinder (with a grinder, it is harder to get into the narrow crevices where two pieces come together). Wash the pieces well, and remove the fiber paper. I used a metal "dental hook" kind of tool to carefully pull out the pieces of fiber paper (do this while the fiber paper is wet to avoid creating airborne fiber). I stress carefully here -- you don't want to crack your glass during the process!

The pieces of fiber paper should have created nice little channels. Use the copper tube cutting tool to cut the stakes on which your glass will be mounted. I cut my pieces of tubing roughly the same length as the glass was tall. Whatever length you choose, keep in mind that some of the tubing will be placed in the ground. You need enough extra so the tubing and glass sit firmly when installed. 

Crimp the tubing with channellocks
Crimp the tubing with
channellocks




Use a channellock wrench to flatten one end of each piece of copper tubing. The flattened area needs to be roughly the length of the glass channel created by the fiber paper.








Silicone and flattened copper tubing in the channel
Silicone and flattened copper
tubing in the channel


Squeeze GE Silicone into the glass channels, and insert the flattened end of the tubing. I used enough silicone to fill most of the void in the channel when the tubing was inserted. 

Set the stakes aside and let them dry, undisturbed, for 24 hours.

When placing your completed garden stakes in the ground, grasp the tubing and push it in -- do not push on the glass or you risk cracking the glass channels.


Close-up of finished piece
Close-up of finished piece

Bella performs quality control on the installation. This is her garden, afterall!
Bella performs quality control on the
installation. This is her garden, afterall!
I happily met my objectives with this project. I tested out the Easy Fire Gold Metallic enamel (which I love!), I tested my idea for mounting the glass onto the copper, and I added a little fall color to the garden. Bella, however, looks a little stern... maybe she doesn't approve of the color?



I hope this quick tutorial gives you the information you need to create some beautiful glass art for your own garden! 

Happy fusing,
Dana

Resources

Want to learn more about fused glass? Check out the following great resources:
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Celebrating Spring

Yellow, blue and green fused glass vase
Finished daffodil vase, 8.5" tall


When the snow begins to melt and robins begin to chirp, thoughts turn to spring. It's a sure sign that winter is on its way out and the spring daffodils and tulips will soon be bobbing in the breeze. To celebrate the return of spring (and to prepare for an upcoming show), I wanted to create a draped vase in the season's colors. In this post, I thought I would share information about how the vase was created. 




Materials

System 96 Glass
  • Yellow opal
  • Lagoon Opal Art
  • Sky blue transparent
  • Clear
Slumpy's Trumpeter stainless drape mold
Papyros shelf paper

Pattern Design

The first step was to create a pattern. I wanted to represent a garden design. I picked out the Lagoon Opal Art glass for the leaves of my design, to take advantage of the nice flow in the glass pattern. This glass has green, yellow, white, and some sky blue colors, so it set the palette for my design.

Trumpeter vase former
Trumpeter vase from Slumpy's


The trumpeter drape mold has a 3" bottom and is 8.5" tall. I cut a 17" clear circle to use as my base glass. This gave me 3" for the bottom of the vase and the remaining 7" on each side would allow for the glass to stretch when draped.  





A quarter of the design
Fold the paper in quarters to
draw part of the design, then
trace the remaining sections
using a light box.


For the pattern, I drew a 17" circle on white butcher paper, and then drew an 11" circle within it. This second circle was for reference as I designed my pattern. I then began to draw my design. I wanted the design to be symmetrical, so I folded my paper in quarters, and drew one quarter of the design. Using a light box, I traced my lines to the other three quarters. 








The full fused glass pattern
The full pattern, with colors
roughly sketched in.

To get a rough idea of colors, I used some markers to color the sections, and I began cutting glass. 

Note that I cut only the glass elements that you see colored in at the right. To fill in the clear border, I used my frit maker to crush clear and yellow glass to a coarse grade. I mixed the two frits together and used them to fill in the clear areas (to the edges) of the vase.

I often use CMC as glue. For this piece, I used a small paint brush to apply the CMC around the edges of the 17" circle before applying the frit. This helps keep the frit in place, up to the very edges of the glass.


The piece was fired using an appropriate schedule for the size and layup of the piece:


Seg
Rate
Target
Hold
1
200
1100
30
2
50
1250
60
3
300
1460
15
4
AFAP
950
120
5
100
700
00

Note the slow advance and long hold for a bubble squeeze in segment 2.

For the drape firing, I sprayed the vase former with ZYP boron nitride (BN), and placed a 3" circle of Papyros paper on the top (base) of the vase. Occasionally, I have seen hazing from BN spray on the bottoms of vases. The Papyros helps prevent that. I placed the vase on kiln dams in the kiln to elevate it, and placed the glass blank on top. I centered the blank carefully to help ensure a uniform drape. The vase was fired using the following schedule:

Seg
Rate
Target
Hold
1
100
1100
60
2
100
1225
*
3
AFAP
950
240
4
100
700
00
*Observe

Note two things about the schedule. First, with all of my firings, I include a long hold (30 to 60 minutes) at 1100 deg F. This accomplishes a few things. First, it allows the glass to equalize in temperature. For drapes and slumps, I also think this gets the glass "moving in the right direction" very slowly and evenly. With many pieces, the glass is close to being fully slumped after a 30 minute hold. For this piece, I continued up to 1225 for the final drape and observed carefully, skipping to the annealing segment when the drape was complete. I haven't provided a time for this hold because all kilns are different, and because I encourage you to look in your kiln (with proper eye protection) and observe how the glass is moving during the firing.

The Finished Vase

View from the top of the vase
The vase draped almost perfectly
symmetrical. 
My husband often gets frustrated with me when I show him a new piece from the kiln and then proceed to tell him all the things wrong with it (as the cliche' goes, we are our worst critic). The kiln was finally cool enough to open right before bedtime. After checking on the vase, I came upstairs and said, "You know that vase?" 

"Yeah, oh no, what?" he asked. 

"It's perfect."

(I think he almost fell over.)



Side view of vase
The design elements are evently
spaced around the vase. 



As you can see from the two photos on the left, the drape was very symmetrical, with four beautiful folds spaced evenly around the rim, and the design elements spaced evenly along the sides.








There are several reasons that led to the success of the drape. I won't go into those here, but if you are curious or want to learn more about draping, I recommend you check out Paul Tarlow's great ebook, "Creative Fused Glass Draping". The book includes 80 pages of how glass behaves in the kiln during a drape, ways to control the folds of a drape, and several project ideas. See the Resources section below for a link to the ebook site.

This piece will be heading to The Pioneer Theatre's Loge Gallery in May, for the Glass Art Guild of Utah's spring show and sale. Until then, I'm enjoying a little glimpse of spring as the vase sits on my dining room table!

Happy spring, 
Dana

Resources

Paul Tarlow, Fused Glass ebooks: http://fusedglassbooks.com/
Slumpy's Molds, https://www.slumpys.com/
I buy all my supplies (glass, molds, Papyros, etc.) from D&L Art Glass https://www.dlartglass.com/
Glass Art Guild of Utah, http://www.glassartguild.org/

For more information about fusing, click the banner below and check out Bullseye Glass's educational video series!
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online
















Sunday, February 25, 2018

Using Fiber Paper to Modify a Fused Glass Mold

Black and white fused glass butter dish
Black and white fused glass butter dish
I was recently asked to create a fused glass butter dish based on the design of a cheese platter I had made. When I designed the butter dish I decided to make it 4.25" x 7", which was one of the standard sizes I found when looking on-line at commercial dishes. While this may be a common size for a butter dish, it's not necessarily a common size for a fused glass mold. I did have a small sushi mold that was 5 x 7.75".

There's quite often no problem slumping into a mold larger than your piece of glass. However, I did have concerns about having the edge of the dish raised sufficiently so that the butter would not spill over the side of the dish if the butter melted. To get a better raised edge, I modified the mold with fiber paper. The short tutorial below shows how it was done.

Tutorial

Mold and glass piece to be slumped
Mold and glass piece to be slumped

At left you can see the fused glass mold that I used, along with the piece of glass to be slumped.







Side profile of mold
Side profile of mold


This shows a side profile of the mold. The raised edge would be fine if the glass were cut full-size. However, because the glass was smaller than the mold, I was concerned it would not be raised enough to keep melted butter from spilling over. 





Use a sharp blade the cut the fiber paper
Use a sharp blade the cut
the fiber paper

I used a sharp blade to cut a piece of 1/4" thick fiber paper to the size of the glass. I laid the glass and fiber paper on my cutting mat (long ago stolen from my sewing supplies!) and used the glass itself as a guide for cutting the fiber paper.

Tip: For a sharp blade, you can use an Exacto knife or small box cutter.




The glass and the fiber paper rim that will be placed on the mold
The glass and the fiber paper rim
that will be placed on the mold

After cutting the outside edge, I marked a 1/4" inside my fiber paper rectangle and cut it out with the blade.

Tip: Try to cut the inside border using one continuous cut, and avoid raising the blade from the fiber paper. This will result in the smoothest inside edge. 




Fiber paper rim placed on mold
Fiber paper rim placed on mold


This picture shows the rim of fiber paper that was cut, placed on the mold. 







Ready for firing
Ready for firing


The glass is placed on the fiber paper, and into the kiln it goes for the slump.  







Back of slumped glass
Back of slumped glass


Here is the back of the finished piece, which shows the raised edge of the dish. 






Profile of slumped glass
Profile of slumped glass

And finally, here is the profile of the slumped butter dish.





I hope this quick tutorial sparks ideas about how you might modify your favorite fused glass mold to create a new and interesting shape. If you have questions, leave a comment below!

Best, Dana

Want to learn more about fused glass? 

Check out Bullseye Glass's Educational Video Series! Click the Bullseye banner below for more information.

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