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.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cutting Glass Circles

Kokopelli Bowl
Kokopelli Bowl
I quite often see the question asked of how to successfully cut circles. The glass manufacturer, Spectrum Glass, has an excellent tutorial on their web site featuring Patty Gray on how to cut rims and circles. Some people, however, still struggle with using this method, especially on opal glass. I'll admit that I'm a little squeamish about running my bare fingers along the back of a score line. It just seems like a Bad Idea and a sure road to Band-Aids. I am rarely successful running the score using the opposite end of my running pliers or cutter. I guess it is  my squeamishness and inability to use tools that led me to a slightly different method for cutting circles. 

First, start with a good circle cutter. I absolutely LOVE my Bohle Silberschnitt cutter. I joke with my husband (who's German), that every time I use it I want to kiss a German. You can certainly cut circles freehand, but to easily cut precision circles that require no clean-up of edges, a circle cutter is the way to go (and Silberschnitt makes some of the best). Also, I think my method of cutting circles works best with Ringstar running pliers, since you can put the little "bump" of the pliers directly under the score to run it, and, at any angle (I love my Silberschnitt running pliers, but for running circles, I prefer the Ringstars). 

Black & white fusers reserve bowl
Black & white fusers reserve bowl
Consider the size of the circle that you want to cut, and cut a square of glass that is approximately 0.5 to 1 inch larger than your circle on all four sides. If you want a 10 inch circle, cut the glass about 11 to 11.5 inches square. The trick to the size of the square is that you want the distance from the edge of the glass to the score line to be narrow enough that you can reach the score line with your running pliers, but not so narrow that the score runs to the outside edge of the glass when running the score (sounds complicated, but you'll get the idea once you cut a few). 

The old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's the step-by-step instructions, with a picture.
  1. Cut your glass square to size.
  2. Score the circle.
  3. Score and cut off all four corners (red lines). This is so when you begin to run the score, you'll be able to reach it with your running pliers all the way round the circle. 
  4. Start someplace on the circle and run the score using your running pliers. Use gentle pressure. You can see how far the score runs with each "squeeze" of the pliers. Start your next "squeeze" at the end of the score where it stopped running. Run all the way around the circle. 
  5. Now, make the relief scores (green lines) around the outside edge. Carefully run them from the outside edge to the edge of the circle. Again, use gentle pressure and watch the score line. Stop running just as it gets to the edge of the scored circle (you don't want to run so far/press so hard that the score runs into the glass and breaks the circle). 
  6. Work your way around the circle, running the relief scores. Often the glass will start falling away from the circle after you run the first couple of relief scores. Occasionally, however, you may need to use your grozers to grab the glass and break it away from the circle. 


When I was taking a glass class once, one of the instructor's assistants was watching me cut circles. She said, "That is not how  you cut circles!". I replied, "It may not be how you cut circles, but it is how I cut circles!" 

Now go cut some perfect circles!

Dana

Blue, white, and yellow strip construction bowl
Blue, white, and yellow strip
construction bowl
Confetti glass bowl
Confetti glass bowl
River rock reaction bowl
River rock reaction bowl











Resources

Spectrum's Circle & Rim Cutting Tutorial http://www.system96.com/pages/circledemo/circle1.html

Bullseye has a free tutorial on cutting glass http://www.bullseyeglass.com/education/glass-cutting.html

Bullseye River Rock reaction technique (the green & brown bowl uses an adaptation of this technique) http://www.bullseyeglass.com/methods-ideas/river-rock-reaction.html

Bullseye offers additional videos by subscription - check them out! (well worth the small annual fee, IMO) 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Beautiful Bowl Backs in Fused Glass

Fusers reserve glass with mica carved back
Fusers reserve glass with mica carved back
One of the questions that is often asked in the fused glass world is, "How do I get the back of my glass smooth?" When glass softens, it picks up the texture of whatever it's against. That texture might be from shelf paper or kiln wash, or even the texture of a smooth stainless steel mold. Thus, the qualities of glass that make it so versatile also cause some of its problems.

Rather than fight this problem, why not use it to your advantage? Paul Tarlow has published a great little ebook that teaches several methods for using texture in design of bowls. The book is called, "Beautiful Bowl Backs" and it can be found at http://fusedglassbooks.com/.

A few months back I had a chance to read the book and try out some of the methods. Here are some of the results of my "beautiful bowl backs". (The other problem glass artists face is photography, so please excuse the poor photos!)
Mica carved back
Mica carved back



The method used on this bowl back uses mica to create texture and shimmer. It's the back of the blue bowl pictured above:








Silver Lining fused glass art bowl
Silver Lining fused glass art bowl
Mica carved back
Mica carved back

I used a similar method on this bowl. Mica was also used on top of the bowl to give the piece a nice shimmer (I named it "Silver Lining" and it's currently residing in our local artists' co-op).



This bowl uses a method of kiln-carving for the back design. The piece was laid out in an 8" "Patty Gray Dam mold", which meant cold-working was minimal. I'm partial to the bold, clean design and strong contrasting colors, so this one is my favorite of the bowls. (I added small bump-ons to provide better stability.)

8" fused glass bowl
8" fused glass bowl

Kiln carved back
Kiln carved back












And finally, one more bowl using kiln-carved design. The bottom of this bowl was cold-worked so it will sit flatly. The top is a black fusers reserve (Spectrum System 96 glass) with Flexi-glass mica chips.

Kiln carved back
Kiln carved back
Black/white fusers reserve & mica chips
Black/white fusers reserve & mica chips











These are just a couple of the ideas covered in the Beautiful Bowl Backs ebook for using texture to your advantage in your fused glass art. Maybe it will get your ideas flowing on how you can work with the properties of glass to its full advantage.

Happy fusing!
Dana

Resources:
http://fusedglassbooks.com/



http://fusedglassbooks.com/








Bullseye Kiln-glass Education OnlineBullseye offers a great video on kiln-carving (subscription required)

Patty Gray Dam molds can be found at Creative Paradise https://creativeparadise.biz/glass-3/patty-gray-molds-for-glass

Flexi-glass can be found at Fusion Headquarters: http://www.fusionheadquarters.com/Flexi_Glass_s/255.htm