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Monday, February 6, 2017

Using Fiber Paper to Make Your Own Shallow Mold

Fused glass candle/soap dish
Fused glass candle/soap dish

Based on discussions I have seen on-line lately, I thought I would provide a quick tutorial on using fiber paper to create a shallow mold for fused glass. This project started when I had a leftover frit mixture from another project and thought I would create a quick candle or soap dish for a local Valentine auction. My plan was to slump it into a small square mold I have, but once fired, I felt like the piece needed something to spice it up. I decided to cut a unique shape from the glass and get creative with the slumping mold.
Fused glass project before firing
Fused glass project before firing



Since Valentine was the theme, I shaped my square glass blank into a tear-drop shape. I drew the shape onto the glass with a Sharpie pen, and used my mosaic cutters to roughly cut the tear-drop shape (I was lazy and didn't want to drag out my ring-saw). Next, I took the piece to my regular grinder, first grinding with a coarse bit and then further refining the edge with a fine bit. After that, I worked the edges with diamond hand pads until smooth.

Once I had my new shape, I following the steps below to create my fiber paper mold.

Use a sharp blade for cutting the shape
Use a sharp blade for cutting the shape


Lay out 1/8" fiber paper on top of a fabric cutting mat. Cut around the shape of the glass using a sharp, straight blade. I used a cheap plastic break-away blade that you can pick up at any hardware or "big-box" store. When cutting the fiber paper, try to cut in long, continuous cuts. You'll have a much smoother edge this way.





A continuous cut leaves a nice clean edge
A continuous cut leaves a nice clean
edge


At left is the cut piece.







Mark the inside cut with a sewing gauge
Mark the inside cut with a sewing gauge


I wanted a 2 cm edge for my dish, so I used a small sewing gauge as my guide for marking 2 cm all the way around my shape. (Strange how all my sewing tools have migrated into the glass shop!)







Cut out the center
Cut out the center


Next, cut the center out of the fiber paper, once again, trying to use continuous cuts.







Cut fiber pieces for a decorative edge
Cut fiber pieces for a decorative edge



I wanted a bit of a ruffled edge, so I cut some small squares.







Glue the pieces in place
Glue the pieces in place


I placed the squares around the edge of the fiber paper mold and used a few drops of white glue to hold each piece in place.







Fire to 1260 deg F; 10 minute hold
Fire to 1260 deg F; 10 minute hold


Into the kiln it goes! I placed my fiber mold on a kiln-washed shelf, and placed the glass on top. I fired to 1260 degrees F (hotter than I would normally slump) and held for 10 minutes.






Front of the finished candle/soap dish
Front of the finished candle/soap dish
Back of the finished candle/soap dish
Back of the finished candle/soap dish

Here's the finished piece, both front and back. The piece sits flatly on a table, but since it is intended as a soap or candle dish, I put rubber bump-ons on the bottom so it would not slide.

I hope you've found this write-up helpful. The process used here is basically the same as "kiln-carving" glass. If you want to learn more about kiln-carving, check out this tip sheet from Bullseye Glass, and also the links to the Educational Videos, below.

Happy fusing!
Dana

Resources: 

Bullseye Video: Kilncarving
Bullseye Video, Kilncarved Sconce Project

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Touring the Gallery with Peppermint the Elf!

Fun little compilation of images taken at the Artists Gallery, Cache Valley Center of the Arts today!


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Holiday Candle Dish


Finished candle plate in green Fusers Reserve
Finished candle plate in green Fusers Reserve
This time of year finds many of us in the studio looking for quick projects for holiday markets or gifts. I don't often work in "production mode", but in this instance I was looking for something that I could create multiple pieces of, for our local Winter Gift Market and for the artists' co-op I belong to. I decided on a candle plate in holiday colors.

Following is a quick tutorial on how to create this simple but beautiful holiday gift item. The size of this plate means it requires minimal materials, and it is created with a single firing. This means that you can offer this piece at a reasonable cost for holiday shoppers or give one to all of the people on your holiday gift list!


4" squares of Fusers Reserve green/red/white and clear
4" squares of Fusers Reserve green/red/white and clear

Candle Plate Materials

  • 4" square of colored glass (I've used Spectrum's Fuser Reserve in green/red/white and in red/white)
  • 4" square of clear glass
  • Clear coarse frit
  • Medium frit in complementary colors
  • Mica powder (I used bright gold)
  • SuperSpray
  • Rubber bump-ons


Directions

Mica-coated frit
Mica-coated frit




Put some clear coarse frit in a container. Add a small amount of SuperSpray and then sprinkle in some mica powder. Mix well and spread the mica-coated frit on a paper towel to dry.







Lay out squares of clear
Lay out squares of clear



Arrange the 4" squares on a sheet of craft paper. The craft paper catches the frit and makes clean-up easier.






Top squares of clear with colored glass
Top squares of clear with colored glass



Top the squares of clear glass with the squares of the colored glass.






Sprinkle with frit
Sprinkle with frit


Sprinkle on more clear coarse frit, and then the medium frits in complementary colors. Finally, sprinkle on some of the mica-coated frit. I tried to keep the centers of the candle plates relatively free of large frit pieces so that the candle will sit flatly in the middle.




Ready for firing
Ready for firing

The squares are now ready for firing.

Place the pieces on a kiln shelf prepared with kiln-wash or shelf paper, and fire to a contour fuse. I used the following schedule in my kiln; you may need to adjust for your kiln. Note that this kiln-load had a few larger pieces (8x12"). The bubble squeeze hold and longer annealing hold reflect this.


Firing schedule
















Add bump-ons and sign the back
Add bump-ons and sign the back
Close-up of the glass
Close-up of the glass

After the pieces were fired and cooled, I cleaned them and used a diamond hand-pad to smooth any stray frit from the edges. I finished them by signing and adding rubber bump-ons to the back.



Keep in mind when cleaning that some of the frit edges could be sharp! You can smooth any sharp points with a small diamond file or hand-pad, but be careful not to mar the finish of the plate.

Finished candle plate in red fusers reserve
Finished candle plate in red fusers reserve

For the Winter Gift Market and co-op gallery, I plan to wrap the plate along with a small candle, in clear cellophane to create a "grab and go" gift item for market shoppers.

I hope this short tutorial inspires your creativity for the holiday season. If you have questions or comments, leave a note in the comments below.

Happy Holidays!

Dana


Learn More!

Want to learn more about fusing? Check out Bullseye Glass Educational Videos (click on the banner below)
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online


Friday, November 25, 2016

Glass Craft & Bead Expo 2017 - Noteworthy Instructors

"Summer" from my Origins series of bowls.
This recent piece is a result of the culmination of
techniques I've learned from the great instructors below.
Class registration will open November 30 for one of the art glass industry's premiere exhibition and educational events, The Glass Craft and Bead Expo. Now in its 22nd year, the Expo will be held at the South Point hotel in Las Vegas, NV, March 29 through April 2, 2017.

I have attended the Expo for several years now, and have had the opportunity to take classes with some of the instructors on the 2017 roster. In case you are new to the Expo or unfamiliar with the instructors, I thought I would highlight my favorites (listed in alphabetical order).

Dennis Brady

Dennis is one of the old-timers gracing the halls of the Expo. A few years ago I took a mesh melt class with Dennis. While I learned a lot about high-temperature melts, I also learned many tips about glass fusing in general. Dennis has a wealth of knowledge and shares it generously. He teaches classes on high temperature melts, cold-working, and the "business of art".

Margot Clark and Dr. Saulius Jankauskas

Margot and "Dr. J" are the faces behind the Unique Glass Color line of fusible glass paints. They offer project-based classes where you learn a variety of techniques and tips for using UGC products. Many of the skills you learn in their class transfer to the use of other manufacturer's paints as well. Margot is an exceptional artist and a great instructor. If you want to learn more about the possibilities using glass paints, this is a great class to take.

Michael Dupille

Michael is one of the pioneers of the studio glass movement. He has created art for many public installations and has a wealth of knowledge which he shares during his classes. His expertise includes working with frits, glass powders, and glass medium to create glass masterpieces with visual depth and texture. Michael has a quirky sense of humor which complements his relaxed teaching style.

Patty Gray

If you are looking for a high-energy, multi-day class with so many ideas and techniques that your head will spin, Patty's class is the one to register for. You will make bowls and boxes, learn techniques for using paints, frits, strips, and micas, and get hands-on experience with a variety of cold-working equipment. Patty is well-organized and keeps the class moving at a fast pace. Her classes are a lot of fun and will give you a variety of skills to help you advance in your fused glass art.

Janine Stillman

Janine is the Master of Glass Combing at the Expo. Janine focuses on what I consider "glass combing with intention". Rather than just throwing glass strips together, combing with abandon, and hoping for the best, you will learn how to plan and execute your project to create visually appealing designs. Janine's combing classes are great to get you over the fear of manipulating hot glass in the kiln, while learning all the aspects of doing so safely. She covers color selection, and provides many ideas for finishing off combed pieces and using them as design elements in other bodies of work.

Lisa Vogt

Lisa is another fabulous teacher who is well-organized and has a wide range of techniques which she shares. A few years ago I took a design class from Lisa, which has been helpful when considering the design of my work. A class I took last year covered the aspects of several advanced fusing techniques. including creating larger vessels and ways to make your work unique. Lisa is a fun and engaging speaker. All of the classes I have taken with Lisa have been lecture-based, rather than project-based. As someone who has been fusing for several years, I am not necessarily focused on what great project I can make in a class, but what knowledge I can gain. I have found Lisa's classes very informative and just what I needed to advance my work. (Side note: The backdrop for this blog is a closeup of a piece I made after returning from one of Lisa's classes.)

11 and 14" bowls, using design,
combing, and coldworking techniques

Summary

Each of these instructors is kind, generous with their knowledge, and just all-around "good folks". If you are wondering who to take classes from, they would all be at the top of my list. Keep in mind that classes for these instructors fill up quickly, so don't delay in signing-up once registration is open.

If you can't travel to Las Vegas to take classes from these instructors, Dennis, Margot, Michael, and Lisa offer on-line webinars with Glass Pattern Quarterly, as well as videos for purchase. All of these instructors contribute to on-line forums and have free tutorials on their websites.

If you have questions about these instructors or other instructors, drop me a note. There are some whom I have taken classes from who aren't mentioned above. (Keep in mind that I will NOT respond about any "bad experiences" I might have had in a class in a public forum, but I will answer questions in a private exchange.)

See you at the Expo in March!

Dana

Resources

Instructor Web Sites:


Other Resources:


Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online





Sunday, November 13, 2016

Glass in the Garden

Flowers still in bloom at Red Butte Garden
Flowers still in bloom at Red Butte Garden
Now in its 14th year, the Glass Art Guild of Utah is holding its annual Glass In the Garden Art Show and Sale at Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City (http://www.redbuttegarden.org/glass-art-show).

The Guild held its artists' reception January 12th. Artists were on-hand to talk about their work with garden visitors and enjoy the lovely fall afternoon. The combination of nature, glass, and festivities made for an enjoyable afternoon!

The Guild's 2016 show runs through December 18th. I hope you'll have an opportunity to visit the glass exhibit and gardens, and perhaps take home a piece of one of a kind artwork. There's nothing better to add sparkle to the holiday season than glass! 

For a peek at the spectacular work available for sale during the show, enjoy this video taken at the Artists' reception, posted on YouTube: https://youtu.be/o5EYge8AwJY

I would like to thank Red Butte Garden for working with the Glass Art Guild of Utah for these many years to bring beautiful glass art to Salt Lake.

Dana

Want to learn about Glass Fusing? Check out these resources:


Glass Art Guild of Utah http://www.glassartguild.org/

Bullseye Glass Educational Videos
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online