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Friday, September 9, 2016

Visiting Murano

Picturesque Murano, Italy
Picturesque Murano, Italy

This summer we had the opportunity to visit Italy. We spent a few days in Rome, toured the Tuscan countryside, and ended our trip in Venice.

For a glass artist, no trip to Italy would be complete without making a pilgrimage to Murano. And so on a beautiful July day, we hopped on one of the passenger boats to make the short journey from the Grand Canal to the island of Murano.

Just off the boat we found a shop with an artist working on-site. The artist was making items that were then sold in the shop, and of course, the intent of the "factory tour" was to eventually route you through the shop in case you were inspired to purchase glass. There were many, many shops in both Venice and Murano selling glass. I soon concluded that the items I could afford I could just as easily make myself (there were many fused platters similar to what I and many artists I know make). The items I loved were the ones I couldn't make myself but also couldn't afford!

In one of the squares in town, stands an impressive piece of work by Simone Cenedese.


Glass Sculpture in the distance.
By Simone Cenedese























Down one of the many cobbled streets on the island, we were lucky enough to stumble across one of the glass masters, Andrea Tagliapietra, hard at work in his hot shop. In the second picture below, Andrea is on the left, with an assistant on the right who is also the person in the bottom photo (I don't know the assistant's name). There was also a third gentlemen helping them. Watching their process was mesmerizing, as they moved methodically from the crucibles, to the torch, to the ovens, and back again, in what seemed to be a well-choreographed, and well-rehearsed, dance.

Andrea Tagliapietra glass artist

Andrea Tagliapietra glass artist

Andrea Tagliapietra glass artist














After my visit to Venice and Murano, as I thought of all the beautiful glass, I tried to decide what I liked about the pieces I was drawn to. I think some of the qualities that intrigued me were translucency, texture, and of course, the play of light on the pieces. I think texture is one of the qualities I am finding myself drawn most to, and I hope to find ways to include more of it into my work.

While I didn't leave Murano and Venice with a piece of "keepsake glass", I did bring home inspiration and ideas for further exploration in my own work. And that, as the cliche' goes, is priceless.

Happy glassing!
Dana

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hand-Painted Fused Glass Candle Shield

Fused glass candle shield
Fused glass candle shield
2016 has been a difficult year for the art glass industry, as glass manufacturers have been under scrutiny by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency. These manufacturers have been operating within the guidelines provided by the DEQ, and over the years have been tested regularly and found to be in compliance. However, it would seem that a "witch hunt" has ensued as the city of Portland tries to understand the source of pollution in their area, and the glass manufacturers have fallen victim to the hunt. Add this on top of the downturn in the industry because of the recession and the availability of cheaply made imported raw glass materials and finished goods, and glass manufacturers find themselves struggling to stay in business. One manufacturer has announced it will close its doors by mid-summer because of these factors, and others scramble to meet new regulations being imposed upon them daily.

These manufacturers have been forced to stop producing a significant amount of their colored glass. When glass artists ask, "How can we help?" one answer is to support these manufacturers by buying, and creating with, the manufacturers' clear glass. With this in mind, I am offering this tutorial -- a fused glass candle shield that uses clear glass, glass paints, and mica powder.

Materials

Colour de Verre's lamp panel former
  • Lamp bender mold, I used Colour de Verre's round lamp panel former
  • Two 8.5x4.25" pieces of clear glass (or other size to fit your mold)
  • Two ~8x5" pieces of clear glass
  • Unique Glass Color (UGC) Artisan paints in White Glo and Mystic Blue
  • UGG Medium
  • Colors for Earth (CFE) glass paints in Deep Cranberry and Sapphire Blue
  • CFE Medium
  • Sepp Aztec Gold Mica
  • Fuse Master Super Spray
  • Coarse Clear Frit
  • Sky Blue Coarse Frit (optional)
  • E6000 or your favorite glass glue

Directions

Instructions for mica-coated frit
Instructions for mica-coated frit


Pour some of the clear coarse frit in a small container and mix with Super Spray. You want enough liquid to wet the frit, but you don't want it dripping. 

Sprinkle a small amount of mica powder in the container and mix well.

Pour the mica-covered frit onto a paper towel and set aside to dry.






Measure the mold to  determine the size of glass
Measure the mold to
determine the size of glass


Use a tape measure to measure the size of glass for the mold. This mold is approximately 8.5" from one side, across the arc, and to the other side. I decided to cut my two pieces of glass for the candle shield to 8.5"x4.25".





Measure the base of the mold
Measure the base of the mold



Measure the bottom edge of the mold to determine the size of the candle shield base. This mold measures 4.5 inches, so I decided to make the width of my candle base 6.5".







Draw a template for the candle base
Draw a template for the candle base

Draw a template for the base of the candle shield. I find it useful to use graph paper. I used a compass to draw the arc for the shield, though you could also place the mold itself on the paper and use a ruler to draw marks approximately 0.75" around the mold (much like marking the sewing lines for a fabric pattern). Use this pattern for cutting out the two base pieces of glass. You can place your glass on top of the pattern and score the glass.




Plan your painted design
Plan your painted design

Even though I will be applying the paints in a freeform pattern, I like to draw out a general design. Again, the graph paper comes in handy.

Once you've drawn your design, place one of your candle shield rectangles on top of the pattern. Mix your paints as recommended by the manufacturers and begin painting.



Painted glass set aside to dry
Painted glass set aside to dry



Set aside the painted panel and let it dry completely.






Cap the painted piece with clear and decorate with frit
Cap the painted piece with clear
and decorate with frit


When the painted panel is dry, top it with the second sheet of clear. Sprinkle on the mica-coated clear frit. Don't cover the painted design completely; otherwise, you may hide the lovely bubbles you'll get from the Artisan paints. If you choose, add some additional colored frit. I've used a little sky blue coarse frit.






Ready for the first firing
Placed on Papyrus and ready for the first firing
(I hate empty space in the kiln -- I snuck in another piece!)
Place the pieces for the base and the shield in the kiln and fire to a tack fuse. I started with the schedule below, but based on observation, I skipped to the anneal when the kiln reached 1380 deg F in segment 2.


Seg
Rate
Target
Soak
1
300
1100
15
2
300
1420
10
3
1500
950
75
4
100
700
00




After the first fuse
After the first fuse


Once the first fuse is complete, you are ready to slump on the lamp mold. Center the piece on the mold and fire. I used the following schedule:



Centered on the mold for the slump
Centered on the mold for the slump


Seg

Rate

Target

Soak

1
250
1100
30
2
250
1225
20*
3
1500
950
75
4
100
700
00

*Watch your slump and adjust the hold time accordingly.

Candle base after grinding & hand- polishing the edges
Candle base after grinding & hand-
polishing the edges
If you would like, use a regular table-top grinder to cold-work the edges of the candle base. Start with a coarse grinder head and shape all edges of the base. Now, switch to a fine grinder head and go over what you shaped. Finally, if you have diamond hand-pads available, use them to further refine the edges. Start with the lowest number grit (coarse) and work your way to the highest number grit you have available. 

Notice from the picture that the edge of the base was smooth enough, that if I would have liked, I could have used it as it was. However, I decided to do a final fire polish, using the following schedule:

Seg

Rate

Target

Soak

1
250
1100
30
2
250
1350
5
3
1500
950
60
4
100
700
00

The bottom edge of my candle shield was very even and sat level on the base when I tested it, so I did not need to cold-work it further after fire-polishing. You may find you need to grind the bottom, so the shield sits nicely on the base. If you have taken care during the slump to place the glass evenly on the mold, minimal leveling of the base will be required. 

Back of the candle shield
Back of the candle shield


To complete the candle shield, run a bead of E6000 or other glass glue along the bottom edge of the shield and set it in place on the base. Follow the glue manufacturer's directions for curing the glue -- E6000 should be left undisturbed at least 24 hours.






Close-up of paints and mica frit
Close-up of paints and mica frit
Using paints and mica is a great way to turn a piece of clear glass into a colorful work of art. The ideas in this tutorial can be used with whatever type of clear glass you have available -- whether it is Bullseye, Uroboros, Spectrum, Wissmach, or even float glass. 

I hope this information will inspire you to pull out your paints and micas and get creative with clear glass while supporting our art glass manufacturers!

Happy fusing, Dana



Finished candle shield sits in a window
Finished candle shield sits in a window

Candle shield with candle
Candle shield with candle











Fused Glass Learning Resources

Want to learn more about fused glass? Check out Bullseye Glass's On-Line educational videos by clicking the banner below:

Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online


Friday, May 6, 2016

Fused Glass Fern Platter

Fused glass fern platter, Dana Worley
Fused glass fern platter, Dana Worley


Several months ago I made a fused glass fern platter. I had almost forgotten that I took pictures along the way, with the intent of creating a short tutorial. So without further delay, this post shows how I used Creative Paradise's Fern texture tile to create a hand-painted (yet simple) platter with a lot of appeal.




Supplies

Unique Glass Color NT Paints: Leaf green, dark green, and warm brown
Powdered frit: Clear, yellow, and dark green
Two 12 1/4 x 6 7/8" sheets of clear glass
DT11 Fern Tile (Creative Paradise)
GM85 mold (Creative Paradise)

Directions

Use the texture tile as a guide for applying paints
Use the texture tile as a guide for applying paints
Place the texture tile on your work surface, and then place one sheet of the clear glass on top of the tile. Using the texture tile as your guide, begin by painting the stem of the ferns with the warm brown Unique Glass Color paint (mixed as directed by UGC). Continue by painting some of the fern fronds with the dark green UGC paint, followed by painting the remaining fronds and the fiddleheads with the leaf green paint. Set aside to dry.


Set aside painted tile to dry
Set aside painted tile to dry


Close-up of painted fronds
Close-up of painted fronds



 







Use the texture tile again as a guide for powders
Use the texture tile again as a guide for powders

Place the second sheet of clear on top of the texture tile. Notice that I've put paper down on my work surface. I like to do this when working with powders so that I can more easily clean up (and recapture) any powder that doesn't end up on the glass.

Remember! Always wear a proper respirator when working with and cleaning up glass powders.

Use green powder as a background color for the fronds
Use green powder as a background color for the fronds


Use a sifter filled half-way with green powder to cover the areas where the ferns will be to provide a background for them. You can use a commercial sifter made for powders, but an individual serving-sized tea ball with a handle works great.








Be mindful of reactions when applying the yellow powder
Be mindful of reactions when applying the yellow powder
Cover the areas of the background with the yellow powder. Keep in mind the potential reactions that can occur when laying down the powders. Greens typically contain copper and yellows contain sulfur. You can potentially end up with a dark color you don't want where the two colors touch, especially if you put down heavy layers of opal powder. If you look closely at the picture, I've used clear powder to act as a barrier between the two colors to avoid these reactions. 




Layup: Texture tile, clear sheet with powder & painted clear
Layup: Texture tile, clear sheet with powder & painted clear

Place the clear glass with the painted ferns on top of the powder-covered clear base, which is on top of the texture tile, and you are ready to fire.

I quite often fire my texture tiles with a large mixed load of other fused glass pieces, though this kiln load was mostly filled with texture tiles. Following is the schedule that I used, which accommodated all of the pieces in the firing.


In the kiln and ready to fire
In the kiln and ready to fire

Seg
Rate
Target
Soak
1
300
1100
30
2
50
1250
60
3
500
1460
15
4
1500
950
90
5
100
700
00















After the first firing, I slumped the piece in Creative Paradise's GM85 Large Rectangular sushi mold. Check out the bottom of this post for additional pictures of the platter.

I hope this short tutorial has inspired you to consider how you can use a few simple supplies and texture tiles to create beautiful fused glass pieces.

Happy Fusing! 
Dana

Resources

Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online

Fused glass fern platter
Fused glass fern platter

Close-up, completed fern platter
Close-up, completed fern platter