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.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fused Glass Switch Plate Tutorial

Existing off center switch plate
Existing Off Center Switch Plate
This past summer, a person I met at an outdoor art show contacted me about creating a custom light switch for her home. She and her husband had recently gone through a kitchen remodel. She explained that the existing light switch was off-center (see photo, right), and she was looking for something to appear more balanced in the space and work well with her existing d├ęcor. Would I be interested? Well, sure, I thought. How hard can it be? That kind of statement always ends up falling into the “famous last words” category.

While there are commercial fusing molds available for various light switch configurations, they are, of course, all based on standard flip switches, rocker switches, and outlet sets. The challenge with this installation was that to balance the light switch visually on the wall, a commercial mold could not be used.   


Close-up of the existing switch plate
Close-up of the existing switch plate


I measured the wall and switches carefully, and along with the client I concluded that a 5x10” piece would be suitable for the 18” space. We also made the decision that she would replace the existing “old style” flip switch with a more modern (and easier to work with!) rocker switch.




After working with the client to choose the glass, it was time to get to work. She chose a lovely piece of Spectrum's fusers reserve with blue, amber, and white swirls on clear. I decided to use the flow of the glass to influence the design. I would use the swirls in the fusers reserve to represent water, and then create fused glass pebble embellishments. The base of the piece would be white. 

The first step was to carefully draw the outline of the plate on cardstock and cut the base glass, and then cut and assemble with the fusers reserve and clear on top. This layup was fired to a full fuse.

White base glass
White base glass
Layout of fusers reserve on base
Layout of fusers reserve on base









Into the kiln for a full fuse
Into the kiln for a full fuse
After fusing I checked the sizing of the switch and outlet openings with a plastic switch plate I picked up at the local big-box hardware store, and then later at a friend’s house who has double-rockers. I knew that the glass would move some and I would need to make adjustments – these were done with a small ¼” 100 grit diamond bit on my grinder.

Pebbles enhanced with reactive red
Some of the pebbles were enhanced
with reactive red
Prior to the second fusing I visited the client’s house to double check the fit. I had already done a test fuse on the “pebbles”with the initial firing, and brought a few of those along so she could get an idea of what I was thinking. She was excited with the design and loved the colors (which is always a relief!).

So that the switch plate would have an edge that rounded down and sit flush on the wall, I placed it on a piece of 1/8” fiber paper for the final firing. The fiber paper was cut just slightly smaller than the switch plate, and I did not cut out the fiber paper for the rocker switch holes. This firing was a tack fuse (almost a contour fuse), with a conservative annealing schedule. My "cry factor" on this piece was pretty high (I didn’t want to do this again!), so I annealed for two hours to ensure there would be no stress around the contour-fused pebbles. After this firing was completed, I used the plastic switch plate as a template for the screw holes. To drill the holes, I used a Dremel tool with a Flexi-shaft and a diamond bit.

Installed switch plate
Installed Switch Plate
For the installation I brought along my Dremel and my plastic dish pan that I use for submerging glass in water and drilling holes. While the piece fit before the tack fuse, the glass moved some (I was expecting that) and I wanted to be able to adjust the piece where necessary. In the end, I drilled the upper right screw hole a little larger, and slightly trimmed the right edge and top of the right rocker switch hole.

At this point the most difficult part was being able to see behind the plate well enough to secure the screws into the outlet hardware. I joked about how many educated adults it took to install a switch plate (turns out it’s three – one to hold the plate in place, one to handle the screwdriver, and another to look on in wonder, laugh, and hold the flashlight.) We were careful not to tighten the screws too tightly, so that no stress was put on the glass.

This was a high stress project. The fit had to be precise, and there were several points of risk in completing the design -- proper annealing, drilling the holes, and even the installation. The clients were very happy with the piece, and offered to act as a reference if I needed one. They even began talking about another custom piece to cover up the base of an overhead light fixture.

“Sure!” I said. “Just let me know when you are ready.”

Besides... How hard can it be?

Dana
Custom fused glass switch plate
Custom fused glass switch plate












Learn more about fusing!

Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online Bullseye Glass Offers a variety of free and subscription-based tutorials. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fused Glass Crackle Technique with Bob Leatherbarrow

Ganges Harbor, Salt Spring Island
When it comes to the crackle technique in fused glass, Bob Leatherbarrow is "The Man". For years he has worked to refined his techniques, and he produces some beautiful pieces of art as a result. Bob also shares his techniques during week-long classes held at his home studio and in other studios around the world. In October, I was lucky enough to travel to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia to attend a workshop entitled, "Powders: Colour, Components and Crackle" at Bob Leatherbarrow's studio.

I had been interested in learning more about working with powders, and specifically crackle, so I could incorporate it into my own work. Tutorials can be found on the internet for the crackle technique, and while I've read them, I've avoided experimenting. Partly because the tutorials are fairly rudimentary and partly because I felt if I were going to learn how to do crackle, I should learn how to do it right!

The week started off with a meet-n-greet on Sunday night at Bob and his wife/business partner Liesbeth's home. It turns out that the delicious carrot cake we enjoyed while getting to know everyone was just a precursor to the morning breakfast muffins and wonderful lunch-time meals that Liesbeth prepared each day. (I joked that I would take the class again just for the food!)

Crackle technique - powder wafers
Powder wafers
The class started with a discussion and demonstration on creating wafers. After learning about wafers we jumped right in to learning the basics of Bob's crackle technique. We then talked about what Bob refers to as back wafers. Once we had these basics down, we rolled up our sleeves and began creating crackle with glass powder and water. Here are a few photos of my "works in progress".



Cracking it up!
Cracking it up!
Assembling components on fused base
Assembling the components
on a pre-fused base

Capped wafer and crackle ready for the first firing
Capped wafer and crackle
ready for the first firing
Assembling wafers and back wafer on pre-fused crackle base
Assembling wafers and back wafer
on pre-fused crackle base

Cold worked and ready for slumping
Cold worked and ready for slumping

Bob Leatherbarrow
Bob, in action!
Over the course of the week, we created five 6" bowls using different variations of crackle and wafers, and one 9" square sushi dish. We practiced cold working, including the use of a grinder, flat lap, wet belt sander, and sand blaster (sandblasting was new to me -- there may be a sand blaster in my future). Bob also talked about making molds, firing schedules for optimum results when using his techniques, displaying your glass art, powder blending for custom colors, glass reactions, and photographing glass. On Friday we wrapped up with a full review of techniques, schedules, tips, and tricks (including the final exam!).





Veined crackle, 9" sushis
Veined crackle, 9" sushis


Kiln full of crackle bowls!
Kiln full of crackle bowls!
Wafers ready for firing
Wafers ready for firing


My finished bowls (6" blanks fired in Bullseye ball mold):


My Favorite!


Bob is a great instructor who is very generous with his knowledge, and he and Liesbeth were fantastic hosts. In addition to this workshop, Bob also offers "Further Studies in Powder". I wasn't able to stay for this workshop that was offered the following week, but I have a feeling I'll be back to visit Bob, Liesbeth, and Salt Spring Island again some day!

Well, time to get cracking!

Dana

Learn  more

Workshop information: Powders: Colour, Components, and Crackle
Coldworking: Bullseye Educational Videos


Leatherbarrow Glass
Leatherbarrow Glass


Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Artists' Gallery (an artists' co-op)


artist, Andi Jorgenson
cropped/closeup - artist, Andi Jorgenson
With this post, I'm taking a departure from my usual ramblings about glass to write about a new artists' co-op in downtown Logan -- The Artists' Gallery. Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to work with a group of amazing artists, along with staff at the Cache Valley Center for the Arts, to pull together a new gallery on the first floor of the Bullen Center. It's been stressful, it's been a lot of hard work, and there were  several times when I thought, "There's no way we'll be ready on our target date of October 10!". But yesterday, on October 10 at noon, the ribbon was cut and the doors were opened!

We choose our opening date to coincide with downtown Logan's bi-monthly Gallery Walk. Last night, a steady stream of gallery walkers came through our doors. Many of the 26 residing artists were there to greet them and talk about the gallery, their work, and the work of their peers. The response from the community was overwhelming, and our opening night was a success.

Currently, the gallery's hours of operation are Wednesday through Friday, 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM, and Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM. We'll also be opened for many of the special events held during evening hours at the Bullen Center. (Gallery hours may change as we better understand our traffic flow, so call ahead if in doubt.)

Below is just a sampling of items available in the gallery. The next time you're in downtown Logan, stop by and take a look around!


artist - John Westonskow
artist - John Westonskow
artist - Chris Yancey
artist - Chris Yancey

artist - Sharon Ohlhorst
artist - Sharon Ohlhorst

artist - Lucy Peterson Watkins
artist - Lucy Peterson Watkins
artist - Scot Weaver
cropped/close-up, artist - Scot Weaver


artist - Daniel Bialkowski
artist - Daniel Bialkowski



artist - April Felker
artist - April Felker



artist - Linda Morse
cropped/close-up, artist - Linda Morse





Until next time,

Dana

All work copyrighted by artist as listed. Please respect the rights of our artists and help protect their copyright!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Images on Glass

Screen-printing with mica, fired
Screen-printing with mica, fired
This past weekend I had an opportunity to take a two-day class with Barry Kaiser -- Images on Glass, Screen Printing for Jewelry and Computer Masks to Create Painting Masterpieces. The class was held in the home studio of Kerry Collett (Celt Craft Designs), and while most of the students were from the Glass Art Guild of Utah, we had three visitors from Texas, California, and Oregon. If you have ever taken a class from Barry and his lovely assistant Vanna... I mean Sharon... then you'll know that Barry's classes are full of information and new techniques. This class was no exception.

The focus of the class was the screen printing techniques that Barry uses to create many of his lovely jewelry pieces. Barry uses a special screen that comes prepared with emulsion. An image is placed on top of the screen and the screen is exposed under UV lighting. The screen is washed out with water, and then glass paint (enamel) is applied and the piece is fired. This process is the basis for the many techniques that were covered, including multi-level images, tapestry, Barry's "crackle", and using mica. 

While we all had a few challenges the first day (mainly with washing out the screens to get a good image without completely washing out the design), by the second day we all were creating near-perfect screens and lovely designs. Here are a few photos from the class.

Barry Kaiser, teaching the class
Barry, explaining the techniques.
Sharon, as always, is in motion!
Curing the screens after exposure and wash-out
Curing the screens after exposure
and wash-out









Applying the enamel
Applying the enamel

Lined up and ready for the kiln
Lined up and ready for the kiln








Barry, explaining the results of the previous day's firing
Barry, explaining the results of the previous day's firing

Screen printing with mica, before firing
Screen printing with mica, before firing
While I don't create many jewelry pieces, the techniques I learned in Barry's class are easily transferable to larger pieces. My favorite technique was screen printing with mica. The results of this technique (which you'll have to ask Barry about -- I try not to give away the secrets of an instructor's unique processes), resulted in the best application of mica I have seen that actually sticks to the surface of the glass (if you've worked with mica, you know that most of it washes away after firing unless capped). The uncapped fired piece lost very little mica, as you can see by comparing the image to the right with the finished piece at the top. The screen-printed mica can also be capped. 

Most of the group continued for a second two-day class held Monday and Tuesday. Unfortunately, my day job called and I was unable to join the others. But it was still a fun-filled weekend and I added a few more techniques to my "bag of tricks". Thanks, Barry and Sharon!

Happy fusing,

Dana
Finished fused glass pieces
My finished pieces from the class

For more information, check out these sites!

Barry & Sharon Kaiser, for classes, enamels, micas, screens, and other supplies: http://kaiserglass.com

Kerry Collett, Celt Craft Designs: http://www.celtcraftdesigns.com/

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

Bullseye On-line Educational Videos, for general glass fusing education http://www.bullseyeglass.com/education/

Barry Kaiser class photo
Happy Class!





Saturday, July 26, 2014

More Fun with Bubbles

Completed kiln-carved piece with Unique Glass Color paints
Completed kiln-carved piece with Unique 
Glass Color paints
After the bubble pieces I did for the Warmglass magless exchange this year, I have been wanting to get back to experimenting more with bubbles. I had so much fun with the baking soda that I decided to purchase some Unique Glass Color artisan paints. UGC's artisan line is formulated to create bubbles when it is sandwiched between two pieces of glass. I thought it would be interesting to use the paint as my bubble medium, rather than baking soda like I did for the maglesses. The UGCs offer two advantages: they don't leave behind a residue which you have to camouflage (or live with) ...and... they come in colors! The fused glass piece on the left is the result of this round of experimentation, and following is a quick "how to".

I started with a simple kiln-carving with a beautiful piece of sea green transparent glass and a layer of clear. Kiln-carving is a technique using fiber paper to create a bas relief design in the glass. First I cut a piece of shelf paper large enough to accommodate the piece of glass I would be fusing (I like Spectrum's Papyros shelf paper). I then cut narrow strips of 1/8" fiber paper for the stems of my flower and oval shapes for the flowers themselves. I used white glue to secure the fiber pieces to the Papyros. The kiln-carving went into the kiln with several other pieces, and I brought it to a full-fuse. After firing, I removed the successfully carved piece from the kiln, and set it aside for several weeks (I wouldn't recommend this step!).
Paint applied to the back  side of the glass
Paint applied to the back 
side of the glass

I finally decided the time had come to do something with my lovely kiln-carving. I removed the 1/8" fiber paper and cleaned up the piece, and then I painted UGC's Mystic Blue in the recessed area of the kiln-carving. After the paint dried, I used a wipe-out tool to clean up the edges. The UGC cleaned up easily.

Next, it was time to combine the kiln-carved piece with other glass. I decided to offset the focal piece within a frame of apple-jade, turquoise blue, and a lovely light green fusers reserve. Unfortunately, in the finished picture the fusers reserve appears white. Also, most of this beautiful glass was covered by the transparent green. It was a tough decision, but I "sacrificed" it, because it was the perfect complementary background for the kiln-carved piece. The picture below does a better job of showing the glass. (It's the dilemma of every glass artist -- to use or to save!)

Lay-up of the frame
Lay-up of the frame
Into the kiln!
Into the kiln!
Finally, it was time to put the piece back into the kiln. Again, I just dropped it in a load with other full fuses. Note that the schedule was more conservative, since I was now working with several layers of glass. Also note that the piece was dammed, to keep the layers from spreading, which would cause the finished piece to not be square.


The picture below shows a close-up of the raised area that resulted from the kiln-carving combined with the UGC artisan paints. I love the 3-dimensional look achieved by using the UGCs and kiln-carving!

Close-up of the finished piece
Close-up of the finished piece
I hope this quick tutorial gives you ideas for using this technique in your own work. I'm looking forward to doing some more experiments creating bubbles!

Happy fusing! Dana

Want to learn more? Here are a few additional resources:
All glass used was Spectrum System 96
Firing schedules omitted intentionally -- there are many good resources on-line for schedules, including Fusedglass.org

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Inspired! Irid Dragonfly Intention Plaque

Iridescent dragonfly intention plaque
Iridescent dragonfly intention plaque
While at the Glass Craft and Bead Expo this past spring, I stopped by the booth of Jubilee Creative and picked up some word decals. I don't normally work with a lot of decals, but I had an idea in mind for what I wanted to call "intention plaques" (or affirmation plaques), and since my handwriting leans toward illegible at times, I thought decals would work well.

I created several of these plaques. First, I prefused the words on 1x2" squares of white or cream. Then I shuffled the words, picked one at random, and tried to create a piece that reflected the word. It was a fun challenge, and hopefully a boost to my creativity!

While doing this, I also happened to watch a video from the Bullseye Glass Education collection showing a technique for using clear powder on iridescent glass to create images in the glass. I decided to try out this technique on one of the intention plaques, along with another fun thing I saw in a demo at the Inspirational Metal Art booth while at the expo -- using alcohol inks to color aluminum cut outs (which were purchased at the booth).

So... new techniques and supplies in hand, I set to work. I used the aluminum dragonfly cut out as my stencil for applying the clear powder to the irid glass (see the video for full info). I did not apply the irid evenly across the glass as they did in the video, because I wanted a gradient irid effect. I then placed the prefused word on the irid, and placed the irid on top of a blank of clear with a couple of "U's" of high temp wire sandwiched in between so I would have some way to later hang the glass. I followed a typical full-fuse schedule for System 96 glass.

The technique for applying the alcohol inks to the aluminum is fairly complicated. You drip it on in various random patterns . If you don't like the effect, just rinse it off and try again! Once I was satisfied with the design, I set it aside to dry. Once dry, I set the ink with some Krylon clear matte sealant (found at any store where you can get spray paint -- local hardware, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.). Rustoleum brand makes a version, too. The clear matte coating ensures the inks are colorfast.
View slightly angled to better show the shadow image
View slightly angled to better
show the shadow image.
The word for this plaque
is Inspire.

I placed the decorated metal cut out somewhat offset from the image on the glass to provide a shadow-image effect. The cut out was glued to a narrow strip of 1/4" glass just a bit thinner than the body to act as a stand-off, and that was glued to the fused glass (I used E6000 glue).

I really like how this piece turned out. It's always satisfying when a few simple design techniques turn into a striking fused glass creation!

Side view, showing stand-off
Side view, showing stand-off

Happy fusing!


Dana




Resources:
Jubilee Creative
Inspirational Metal Art
Bullseye Educational Video: Clear Powder on Iridescent Sheet  Glass

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