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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.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bullseye Reactive Glass

Table full of reactive samples
Table full of reactive samples
One of the advantages of being a member of the Glass Art Guild of Utah is the opportunity for learning new techniques or getting a better understanding of techniques you already know something about. This weekend we had our first Guild meeting of 2014, and we were fortunate enough to have Devon Willis from Bullseye glass give a presentation about Bullseye's reactive glass.

Glass is typically colored with  minerals. Some minerals, when they come in contact with other minerals, "react". This reaction often shows up as a fine-colored border where the glasses touch. This border is often brown, black, or reddish brown. There can also be a shift in overall color because of the reactions.

Copper, lead, and sulfur are the typical minerals that may cause a reaction. In addition, silver may cause a reaction and there are also clear glasses that are manufactured to be reactive. Devon provided a chart that explained the combinations that have the potential to react:
  • Copper + sulfur
  • Copper + reactive glass
  • Lead + sulfur
  • Copper + silver leaf
  • Reactive + silver leaf
  • Reactive + copper leaf
This chart also listed all of Bullseye's glass divided into categories -- lead-bearing, copper-bearing, sulfur-bearing, no lead/copper/sulfur, and reactive. As a learning exercise, Devon provided a hand-out that included photos of fired pieces and the glasses used in each. Our job was to analyze the samples and note the reactions occurring in the pieces.

It was an interesting exercise that really got me thinking about potential reactions, and in some instances, how to control a reaction by using clear glass or clear frit. Below are a few of the pieces we analyzed (I apologize for the quality of the photos -- they were taken with an Android tablet!).

Sulfur-bearing reds react with silver
Sulfur-bearing reds react with silver


Some of the more interesting reactions involved silver leaf. In the piece to the right, both of the red glasses used contain sulfur. The sulfur reacts with the silver leaf. In this instance, the leaf was capped with clear -- notice how the reaction travels along the edges of the cut glass.

Silver reaction
Silver reaction









The piece to the left is featured in a Bullseye tutorial, A Riot of Effects. In this piece, the silver leaf was not capped. Notice how the reaction from the silver produces a more haloed effect because of this.





River rock reaction
River rock reaction




This piece uses a technique in another of Bullseye's tutorials, River Rock Reaction. In this sample, the sulfur-bearing French Vanilla and the sulfur-bearing amber react with a lead-bearing cranberry pink powder.








Reactive cloud opal and silver foil
Reactive cloud opal and silver foil
The piece to the left is amazing. The base glass was Reactive Cloud Opal. Silver leaf was fused, uncapped, on top. In this sample, the silver foil runs horizontally. Clear stringers were placed vertically. Notice how the reaction "travels down" the clear glass stringers, even though they are not reactive themselves. As Devon noted, you have to be careful when firing with silver, as the silver can leach into the kiln shelf and affect pieces for several firings afterwards. It's best to dedicate a kiln shelf exclusively for silver firing, or control the reaction so it does not travel beyond the edges of the glass.

The sample below is an interesting piece. Copper-bearing Jade Green Powder was layered over a sulfur-bearing Sunflower yellow. A layer of clear glass powder was used in varying thicknesses to keep areas of the yellow and green from touching, and thus, avoiding the reaction. Where the two glasses do come in contact, you have a bronze-colored reaction. This technique produced an interesting gradient effect.

Copper-bearing jade reacts with sulfur-bearing yellow
Copper-bearing jade reacts with sulfur-bearing yellow



Sulfur bearing yellow and orange react with silver



The piece to the right also uses uncapped silver leaf. Both the orange and the yellow glasses (sorry for the bad color in the photo) contain sulfur, and both react with the silver leaf. (Obviously, I need to get some silver leaf, since I was so intrigued by these reactions!)






Copper leaf with reactive clear
Copper leaf with reactive clear







And finally, with this sample, copper leaf was placed on top of non-reactive powder blue glass. There is no reaction with these two elements, but the piece was capped with reactive clear, producing the dark color of the copper (normally, copper leaf will change color, but it changes anywhere from a bluish tint to a reddish tint).






Devon Willis, xplaining the reaction seen in one of the samples.
Devon Willis, explaining the
 reactions seen in the samples



It was an interesting afternoon and I'm sure I speak for the entire Guild when I say we really appreciate Devon's willingness to spend some time presenting this great information. While I use Spectrum's System 96 glass, this information is still valuable as the theory behind the reactions holds true regardless of the glass being used.





If you would like to learn more, check out Bullseye's web site, including:
and for video subscribers:
(the video lessons are great -- well worth the annual subscription)

And, for you System 96 fusers, you can find information on their reactive glasses on their web site (click here).

I hope you've found this information useful. Now go out and fire up a few reactions of your own!

Dana

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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

One man's trash...

One of the frequent questions I see on forums is, "What do I do with all these scraps?!" Well, we all know how the idiom above ends -- One man's trash is another man's treasure. I would argue that there really aren't any scraps with fused glass, there are only pieces waiting to be incorporated into wonderful treasures. To perhaps help spark a few ideas, following are some of the techniques I've learned.

Black, white & brown pot melt bowl
Black, white & brown pot melt bowl

Pot and Mesh Melts
Pot and mesh melts are high temperature firings where the glass is usually suspended and allowed to flow to the shelf below. Some really striking effects can be achieved with this technique, if you are careful about the colors you mix. Here are some resources for pot and mesh melts.

Steve Immerman, tutorials on mesh melts and pot melts: http://www.clearwaterglass.com/Tutorials/MeshMelt.html

Pot melt ready to load in the kiln
Pot melt ready to load in the kiln
Paul Tarlow has a nice calculator on his fusedglass.org web site: http://fusedglass.org/tools/pot_drop_calculator and check out his popular ebook titled, "Fused Glass Mesh and Trough Melts": http://fusedglassbooks.com/

You can make your own setup with purchased stainless screen as described in the resources above, or screen melt systems are commercially available. 


Necklace and earrings created from fused glass puddles
Necklace and earrings created
from fused glass puddles
Puddles
Fused glass puddles are Paul Tarlow's twist on pattern bars. It's a technique that doesn't require an expensive tool, such as a tile saw, like most pattern bars do. Check out Paul's tutorial on: http://fusedglass.org/learn/project_tutorials/fused_glass_puddles

I used puddles to create the jewelry set at the right. Puddles can also be incorporated into larger pieces as well. 




Scrap Box
Setting up the scrap box
Setting up the scrap box
Finished sushi platter using the scrap box technique
Finished sushi platter
The scrap box is a technique I learned in a class with Patty Gray at the Glass Craft & Bead Expo a few years ago. It's another twist on the familiar pattern bar technique. I love the depth that was created in the finished piece because of the use of clear glass. 


Fused glass scrap box platter
Fused glass scrap box platter

This platter was also done using the scrap box technique. However, after the first firing of the box, I liked the pattern so much I decided not to slice the pieces and use it as is. The pattern looks like waves.

Want to learn more about scrap boxes? Take a class with Patty (www.pattygray.com) -- this is only one of the techniques you'll learn in her action-packed, multi-day classes!




Gray, red & black fused glass bowl
Gray, red & black fused glass bowl
Design Elements
Those  bits and pieces can be tossed in the kiln with a full fuse to create design elements that can be used in other pieces. The berries in this lovely bowl were created with red glass bits (actually cut specifically for this project, but well... they could have been scrap!). This bowl was literally a show stopper at the holiday gift show I attended. Lots of people stopped to admire.

Smaller pieces from other projects were used to create a geometrical design for this fused glass candle holder:

Geometrical fused glass votive holder
Geometrical fused glass votive holder







Fused glass suncatcher/wall hanging
Fused glass suncatcher/wall hanging

Wall Hangings
This wall hanging uses the approximately 3" pieces of clear that were cut off the edge of another project. Add some design elements, glass frit (another use for scrap!), and you've got a cute gift piece that can be hung in a window or on a wall.


Fused glass mosaic
Fused glass mosaic


Mosaics
Just as stained glass leftovers can be used for grouted mosaics, fused glass pieces can be turned into mosaics. Frit is used for the "grout". I will admit, I don't have much patience for mosaics!




Fused glass pyramid paperweight
Fused glass pyramid paperweight

Glass casting molds
While most often casting is done with billets (thicker chunks of glass), there are many smaller casting molds that can be filled with fused glass scraps for very nice results. Bullseye Glass makes several of these molds -- check out their tutorial for their pyramid mold.  



More inspiration...
If you still need more inspiration, Paul Tarlow has a tutorial on his site for a scrap glass project: 
http://fusedglass.org/learn/project_tutorials/scrap_glass_project. And, if you check back at Paul's ebooks page, you'll also find his book, "Waste Not -- Fused Projects Using Scrap". 

Blue & green fused glass bowl
Blue & green fused glass bowl
Mauve hors d'oeuvres platter

These are just a couple of items I created after being inspired by some of the techniques in his book:





I hope you've found this post interesting and maybe even inspirational. Do you have a favorite technique for using up your "small treasures"? Leave a comment and let us know!

Happy scrapping!

Dana