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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Drop Vase

The past two weeks I've been finishing up some last minute pieces. This beautiful drop vase required cold-working, plus firing on its own, so its one of the things I just completed this weekend. Purple is my favorite color, and I love of the flow of the glass in this piece.

It's available for sale this holiday season. Come see me and some amazing local artists at Logan's Winter Gift at the Bullen Center!

Dana
The vase will stand on its own,
but I think it'll last longer in the stand!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

River Rock Bowl

Our Cache Valley Winter Gift Market is just around the corner, and I have been busy getting pieces ready for the event. The past several months I have been trying to work "thicker" with some of my pieces (more layers of glass) to achieve depth and interest, as well as making them more substantial. I currently have one of my pieces on display at the Logan Fine Art Gallery's 2012 Salon d'Automne. (Note that my piece is not shown on the web site since it was not one of the "winners", but I was excited to be accepted into the gallery exhibit, which runs through January 2.)

One of the latest pieces pulled from the kiln is what I call my River Rock Bowl. I love the depth and texture of the piece, and of course, the pieces I create that are representative of nature are the ones that most speak to my heart.
The base of the bowl is a sage green
opal glass (I use System 96 glass). 
I began by cutting two layers of clear topped with a coarse sage frit for the "rocks". Dark green and bronze fine frits were sprinkled over the rocks and some of the clear. This base piece was fired, and then flipped and fired a second time with another piece of clear and the sage base. The "flip and fire" technique resulted in very distinct definition of the rocks, and the layers of clear gave the piece depth that makes it appear as if the rocks are underwater. After the second firing the edges were cold worked on a lapidary grinder (first with a 120 grit and then with a 400 grit). After lapping, I further refined the edges with a 400 grit diamond hand pad, and then fired it a third time to slump it to the shape of a mold. Each time the piece was in the kiln, it was fired for 12 to 14 hours, plus additional hours of cool down time once the kiln was off to keep the bowl from cracking due to thermal shock.

The River Rock Bowl, as well as sushi platters, small soap and candle dishes, Christmas ornaments, vases, jewelry, and wall hangings will be available for sale at the Winter Gift market, which runs Friday December 7 from 6 to 9 PM and Saturday, December 8 from 10 AM to 6 PM at the Bullen Center in Logan. Friday night's event coincides with Cache Valley's Center for the Arts Downtown Gallery Walk.

The gift market features many talented local artists, including potters, soap makers, jewelry designers, textile artists, wood workers, and artisan foods (honey and jam, yum!). Stop by and enjoy the art and live music, and support your local artists while checking off items on your holiday shopping list!

Dana

Resources:
The bowl in this post included techniques from Bullseye Glass Educational videos.

Learn more about Bullseye Glass Educational Videos!
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online

Thursday, August 9, 2012

More on Reactive Glass

In March, I wrote about my experiences with reactive red glass powder and a particular project that I was salvaging from a previous "learning experience" (see Positive Reactions). The reaction between the compounds in two pieces of glass (for instance, sulfur and copper) cause a distinct outline where the two pieces meet. The reaction adds a lot of depth and dimension to the glass that is hard to achieve using other methods.

Both of the two major fused glass suppliers publish information on their reactive glasses. You can find Bullseye Glass's reactive chart here and Spectrum's System 96 reactive red chart here.

While you're visiting these sites, don't forget to take a look around. Both manufacturers generously provide a wealth of information on their web sites, including firing schedules, kiln forming and cold working techniques, and project ideas.

Happy fusing!

Dana


Learn more!
Bullseye Glass Educational Videos
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Glass Craft and Bead Expo 2012

10" bowl -- my "prize creation" for the week
The end of March found me in Las Vegas at the Glass Craft and Bead Expo for the second year in a row. The classes I took this year were as inspiring as last year. Following is a quick write-up of my trip.

I talked a friend into going with me this year, and our flight arrived in Vegas in time to check into the room, get a quick lunch, and attend our first class. It was a screen melt class taught by Dennis Brady of Victorian Art Glass in Victoria, Canada (http://www.vicartglass.com). A screen melt is where glass is piled on top of a stainless steel screen, suspended above the kiln shelf, and the glass is fired to a high enough temperature so that it flows through the screen and onto the kiln shelf below. The technique results in unique and interesting glass that can be used in another project. We made a small 6" round melt. After the melts were constructed and ready for the kiln, Dennis shared a lot of glass fusing "tidbits". I came away with a few pages of useful notes and a screen melt that I plan to work into a small bowl or tray.
Screen melt, before firing



Screen melt, after firing









Thursday's class was a full day of learning new techniques using various materials. The class, called Functional Art Glass Using Frit, Scrap, and Paint, was conducted by Rosalind Stanton (if you have a Facebook account, search for Rosalind there) and assisted by Debbie Patana. "Roz" is an enthusiastic and entertaining instructor, who, in what seemed like a matter of minutes, created a stunning mountain landscape with pine trees blanketed in snow, by brushing on Glassline paints, sprinkling frit, and adding accents of glass cut with tile nippers. Our main project used this technique, and we also did sample squares using mica powders; brass, copper screen, and copper foil; and iridized glass. It was a fun day of "creating with abandon" that gave me a new appreciation for using Glassline paints and frit in fused glass work.
Creations from Roz's class
Thursday was the only evening class I signed up for. It was a class that incorporated glass into bronze clay. I was disappointed in the results of firing a glass cab with bronze clay and with the teaching style of the instructor (thank goodness I'd worked with metal clay before, or I would have been lost!). However, at least I learned that I don't want to work with either in the future!

All created in one class (plus the bowl!)
Friday and Saturday I attended a two-day class with Patty Gray (http://www.pattygray.com). Patty's class was the highlight of the week. Her classes fill up quickly, and for good reason. She is a great teacher and an inspiring glass artist. I was astounded at the number of projects we created in the class (and also the number of kilns required to pull it off!).

The class was entitled Advanced Fused Glass Bowls. A 10" fused glass bowl was the main project, but we also constructed a 6" square combing, a fused glass mosaic, two different pattern bars, a small pyramid, a fused glass box, and a small piece with Glassline paints using fiber paper for relief. Patty demonstrated all these techniques, along with frit painting, use of mica powders, strip cutting, circle cutting, and cutting circular borders. Flat laps, grinders, and diamond hand pads were demonstrated and used for finishing the edges of the 10" bowl prior to its second firing to slump it. On Sunday, when I went to retrieve my bowl and a few other projects that had fired overnight, the bowl was so beautiful that I almost cried ;). The bowl,  my "prize creation", is shown at the top of this post.

Before firing and combing



After firing and combing --  one of my favorite pieces
Lest you think that the week was all work and no play, a group of us did get a chance to actually leave the casino/hotel, and share a wonderful meal at Bootleggers Bistro. Dinner was followed by a mandatory trip to the Bellagio to see the chocolate fountain (and buy chocolate, of course), the indoor gardens, the spectacular outdoor water fountain show set to music, and of course, the stunning glass artwork designed by Dale Chihuly.

Once the pyramid is cold-worked (shined up),
it will rival the Luxor! (ha!)
As with last year, I walked away with a head full of ideas and new techniques, and I'm excited to get in the studio and get to work. Hopefully, as I experiment with some of the things I've learned, I'll get a chance to write them up and share them here.

Dana

Monday, March 19, 2012

Positive Reactions: New Life for an Old Piece

Close up of the reaction
A fused glass forum that I participate in has a monthly challenge, where members post a picture of their work that was completed during the month. At the end of the month, voting takes place to choose the "best of the best". Occasionally there is a theme for the challenge such as a particular color palette, holiday, or activity. This month's challenge was to take a piece that didn't quite turn out as you would have like and rework it into a new creation.

Earlier this week I headed into my spare-bedroom-turned-glass-studio, and sat in the floor and stared at my box of rejects. I failed to come up with any brilliant ideas to meet the challenge, so I finally decided to work on something different.

When I purchased the frit I used in my maglesses I picked up some Uroboros reactive red. Reactive glass is glass that when fused with a particular color reacts in such a way that there is a halo where the two glasses meet. Reactive reds react with glass colors that contain copper -- usually blues and greens. Uroboros has a nice chart on their web site that shows reactions between their reactive red and various blues and greens. However, I didn't find a lot of additional information where other glass fusers had used this frit in their work, so I thought I would do some test pieces and write up notes for the blog. I pulled out some glass pieces with blues and greens and began cutting.

Later the next afternoon while doing something completely different, I had a flash of creativity (I recently read an article about that), and realized that I had the perfect piece in my reject box to both create something for the monthly challenge and experiment with the reactive red.

The piece was a small sky blue sushi dish that I had tried tack fusing and slumping in the same firing. A 5" square was cut of solid sky blue opal, and I topped it with a coarse sky blue translucent frit. Unfortunately, I crashed cooled the kiln a little too aggressively when trying to maintain the shape of my tack fuse, and the piece cracked in half.

Chunks of glass placed on a ground of white
Back in my studio, I put the dish in two zip lock baggies and headed out to the garage with a hammer (the fun part!) to make some new chunky frit. Once crushed, I placed the frit around the edges of a piece of white, stacked on a piece of clear. I then sprinkled the red reactive on the blue chunks, and cleaned up any stray frit and chunks by sweeping them off with a small paint brush.

I took the piece to a full fuse, and then did a second firing to slump it into a 7 inch square "Hanna" mold.

I really like the look of the two complementary frits and the brownish/red outline created around the blues because of the reaction. The white background glass sets it off. I still have a couple of more glass pieces cut that I'll experiment further with the reactive red. One is a light grey (Spectrum calls it stone), and I'm wondering if there is enough copper in the grey to produce a reaction. The other is a blue/green/white Spirit glass (also Spectrum). I'll try to get some pictures of those posted as well.

Below are the Before and After pictures of the piece. Unfortunately, the slumping mold is gently fluted, so it was difficult to capture details of the reaction and get a good picture of the shape of the piece. I decided to just shoot "from the top", even though that view flattens out the dish.


In a little more than a week, I'll be taking classes at the Glass Craft and Bead Expo in Las Vegas. With any luck, I'll have some fun things to report when I return!

Dana

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 Magless Exchange

A finished magless
One of the on-line forums I participate in (www.warmglass.com) has had a "magless" exchange for the past 10 years. A magless is a small magnet that...uh...doesn't include the actual magnet. The rules for the magless exchange are simple: the piece must be made of glass, it can use any technique, and it should be a minimum size of 1"x1" but no larger than 2"x2". When finished, you package your creations and send them to a central coordinator, who then mails one of each magless to every participant. (The omission of the magnet helps to keep the weight/shipping costs down.)

When thinking about what to create for the exchange, I had three goals in mind. I wanted to try a new technique, I wanted an opportunity to use an Inland Swaptop hobby saw I recently purchased, and I wanted to create something that was representative of Utah. I decided to create my maglesses using a technique that I've been calling a "frit sandwich", incorporating the colors of the Utah desert landscape. My idea was to create a slab and cut it into appropriately-sized pieces for the maglesses. The frit sandwich (or sand painting with frit) is by no means a new technique -- you can find instructions by various people on-line -- but it is a technique that allowed me to accomplish my three goals.

Binder clips hold the glass securely and act as a stand
I decided to create two slabs so that I could test the technique and firing schedule with the first slab and adjust as necessary. I also knew a smaller slab would be easier to cut. I started with a 12" square piece of clear Spectrum System 96 glass and cut it in half. I then cut four narrow strips of clear (approx. 1/4"). Three narrow clear strips were glued along three edges of one of the 6x12" pieces with Elmers glue and then topped with the other 6x12" piece. It was all held in place along the three glued edges with binder clips and allowed to dry. The binder clips came in handy -- not only did they keep the glass sandwich securely together, but they also provided a nice way to stand the glass on edge when I was ready to fill it with frit. 

Colorful frit & card stock "funnel"
I drew lines approximately 1.25" apart horizontally on the glass sandwich with a marker to indicate the height of each cab. In keeping with the desert landscape theme, I choose Uroboros System 96 fine frits in Bronze, Cherry Red, Orange, Yellow, and Sapphire. (In hindsight, the Sapphire was more subtle than I had in mind -- I was hoping for a "bluer blue".)




A piece of floral wire is used to manipulate the frit
 I spooned frit onto a piece of card stock folded in half to act as a funnel for pouring the layers of frit into the glass. After I poured a layer of each of the colors, I used a piece of floral wire to manipulate the frit.I did this layer by layer until the sandwich was filled. I then capped it off with the remaining piece of narrow clear glued in place and allowed to dry. 







Ready to cap and fuse
I used a fairly standard full fuse firing schedule for the slab (in degrees F):

500/hr to 1100; hold for 30
250/hr to 1425; hold until "done" (approx 20)
AFAP to 950; hold for 45
Cool down

Note that my kiln heats/cools conservatively (especially cooling). This schedule works well for most two-layer pieces I do. You may need to adjust.

Once fired, I used a ruler and 90 degree angle to mark horizontal and vertical lines on the slab with a permanent marker, to represent the approx 1.25 x 1.5" squares (give or take ;)). I smeared the lines with Vaseline to keep them from washing off while sawing. I then went to work sawing the squares. Once I had successfully sawed all the squares on the first slab, I repeated the process for a second slab (I needed at least 57 pieces for the exchange.)

In the kiln and ready to fire polish
Often as the cut got near the final edge of a square, it would shear off. Thus, I used a grinder to clean up the edges of any of the squares that were a little rough. To finish up the squares I placed them in the kiln on a piece of Bullseye Thinfire and fire polished. The schedule was:

400/hr to 1100; hold 30
800/hr to 1440, no hold
AFAP (venting to about 1150) to 950, hold 45
Cool down


Fire polished pieces
I love the look of the frit fired between the layers of the glass. I did get weary of sawing up those little squares, but the second slab went quicker than the first, and it did provide the practice I was seeking. I'm looking forward to using this technique for other pieces, and I hope that my magless experience might inspire someone else who's never tried the technique to give it a whirl!

Dana



62 shiny pieces ready to be packaged and shipped!