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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.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fused glass roll-up

Fused-glass vase,  Dana Worley & Ryan Staub
Fused-glass vase,
Dana Worley & Ryan Staub
Fused glass is a versatile medium, but most fused glass artists long for our creations to have the smooth, glossy surface that comes only with a process where the glass does not touch a mold (or is cold-worked sufficiently so that the mold marks don't show). There are various techniques to achieve this this beautiful finish, including "drop vases" (see a previous blog post if you're interested), but these techniques are often limited in the shapes that can be achieved.

Another technique that can be used is called a "roll-up". A roll-up is made from a flat, fused glass panel. The problem is, rolls-ups require a glassblower and most of us don't count many of them among our friends. It's not that they are not friend-worthy, but glass blowers -- and ones who do roll-ups -- are hard to find! 

However, I was lucky enough to take Patty Gray's class at the Glass Craft and Bead Expo this year, and I had the opportunity to create a panel and have it turned into a beautiful vase. Patty often works with Ryan Staub for roll-ups, and Ryan offered to do roll-ups for the classes at the Expo at a special rate. I decided to take advantage of this opportunity, so I created a panel during the last day of Patty's class and left it for Ryan to take back to his studio in Seattle. 

I received the finished piece in the mail today and it is beautiful! Ryan is indeed a master glassblower, and he did a lovely job with my piece. I provided a quick hand-drawing of the shape and design I wanted, and he did an excellent job of creating what I had envisioned.

Here's the flat piece before it was fired in the kiln:

Roll-up panel prior to fusing
Roll-up panel prior to fusing

I fell in love with the beautiful aventurine green, fusers reserve glass that makes up the center strip. Fusers reserve is limited run glass, which helps to ensure that pieces created with the glass are one-of-a-kind. Glass labeled as "aventurine" from Spectrum glass has a lovely sparkle to it. It's normally produced only in solid colors, but here it is produced as a clear wispy. 

Completed fused glass roll-up
Completed fused glass roll-up

Here is the piece after Ryan worked his magic on it!
 If you are interested in how a roll-up is done, take a look at this Youtube video where Ryan does a roll-up on one of Patty's pieces (it's a little shaky at the start but gets a lot better). 

As you can see from the opening picture in the blog, the roll-up currently graces my dining table. It's just waiting for a bouquet of flowers... I'll be hitting the floral department as soon as I can!

Happy fusing!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Glass Craft and Bead Expo 2014

At the end of March I had the opportunity to attend the Glass Craft and Bead Expo in Las Vegas. There are very few things that will entice me to Sin City, but the chance to spend time with other glass people and take classes from some of the best instructors in glass, trumps my aversion to the ding-ding-ding of smoke-filled casinos.

Projects from Patty Gray's class
The projects: 10.5" bowl, three types of pattern bars, 
combing, mosaic, bas relief, and a cast box. Not shown: roll-up 
(roll-ups done by Ryan Staub Studios  in Seattle) 
I'm embarrassed to admit that, for the third time, I took Advanced Fused Glass Bowls with Patty Gray. The problem is, her classes are addictive. They are fast-paced, fun, and full of great information. In many of the classes at the expo, you focus on one technique and walk away with one (often disappointing) sample piece to show for it. In Patty's multiple-day classes, you learn many techniques and have the opportunity to apply those techniques to several different projects. This year, we worked on bowls, but also completed blanks for a roll-up, several types of pattern bars, bas relief, combing, mosaics, and a kiln-cast box. Patty's classes are well-supported by glass supply vendors, so there is ample equipment to learn cold-working with flat laps, tile saws, and wet-belt sanders. If you consider all the projects we completed, you'll also note there are ample kilns (along with Patty's kiln-loading prowess) to crank through all those firings! I've promised Patty that I won't take her class again (of course, I may have had my fingers crossed!). 

Kiln loaded to the max

Did I mention that Patty knows how to load a kiln? 

Small dish using Vitrigel
for design elements
Vitrigel demonstration
Michael demonstrating how to add 
frit before firing. This leaf, which 
turned out lovely, was done by
I also had the opportunity to take a class with Michael Dupille. Michael's class was on using his Vitrigel Medium to create three-dimensional design elements. Michael is a delightful instructor, and I enjoyed learning about Vitrigel. It is no reflection on Michael's teaching ability that my success with this medium needs a little work (pictured on the right). I did pick up some Vitrigel while I was there, and have some ideas on how to incorporate this into my work.

New toys purchased at the glass expo
New toys!

While I go for the classes, the "expo" part of the Glass Craft and Bead Expo is always fun to peruse, too. I did pick up a few things while I was there: Vitrigel, a new Toyo pistol grip cutter, Morton Safety Break system, some bevels, sepia slide decals, scrap dichroic glass, some fun aluminum cut-outs (that I'll color with alcohol inks and add to suncatchers), and a Glass  Goddess tshirt (not shown). Oh... and what's that kiln brochure doing there?! :) 
Freebies from glass vendors
Freebies from the generous glass vendors

As I mentioned above, Patty's class, as well as many others, are well-supported by the glass supply vendors. Many provided dichroic glass, glass rods, samples, and discounts to show attendees. 

Between my glass tools, notebooks, and catalogs; the supplies I picked up; and the projects I completed, you can imagine that my duffle bag--that was relatively light on the way to Vegas--was HEAVY on the way home. When a picked up my bag from the bellhop on the way to the airport, the person helping me suggested I grab a cart. When I slung the duffle over my shoulder, he looked at me in surprise and said, "Wow! You're a trooper!" (and I said, "No, I'm a backpacker.")

Vitrigel and the TSA
Vitrigel may have attracted
TSA's attention. 

I'm not certain if it was the weight of my bag; the exacto knives, glass tools, and box cutters; or the 1 pound bag of white powder in my luggage, but it seems my bag caught the attention of TSA on the way from Las Vegas to Salt Lake! 

All-in-all it was another successful year at the Glass Craft and Bead Expo. My four days there were filled with learning, spending time with other "glass people", and being immersed in this fused glass world that I find so fascinating. I'm already beginning to look forward to next year!

Happy fusing! Dana