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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.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Magless 2015 - Moab Man!


An Army of Moab Men
An Army of Moab Men
Our creativity is fueled by our experiences, and living in Northern Utah, there are many beautiful and inspiring areas to visit. We're within driving distance of the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, and other natural areas too numerous to mention.

I have been working with the crackle technique using glass powders the past several months, since taking a class with Bob Leatherbarrow in October. The results of the technique when using red, yellow, orange, and brown powders remind me of the red rock canyons of Southern Utah. My experiences while exploring Utah and the resemblance of crackle to redrock were my inspiration for this year's Warmglass Magless Exchange (www.warmglass.com).

The first step was to create a 12" square of crackle. On 1/16" fiber paper, I sifted a few spots of Chestnut Brown, then a layer of Sunflower, topped with a layer of Orange (I work with Spectrum's System 96 glass). As I worked, I sprayed the powders with water. One of the things I have found working with powders is that you can somewhat control where the powder will crack by dragging a design through it. In this instance, I used a wide tooth comb to create waves through the powder and then cracked the powder as usual. The piece was capped with clear, put into the kiln with several other crackle pieces, and fired based on a schedule I got from Bob.
Crackle in the kiln.
Crackle in the kiln.
You can see the results of dragging the comb through
the powder more prominently in the circle on the far right. 



Please note: I respect the rights of other artists and those who teach. Bob Leatherbarrow shares some very specific techniques for creating crackle during his classes. I do not share those techniques. However, in the Resources section below, I have provided a link to a crackle tutorial that is freely available.






After the first firing, I cleaned the fiber paper from the back, lightly ground the edges to remove any sharp points, and then cut the piece into 1.5" squares. Note that I scored the glass on the smooth (clear) side. The easiest way I found to run the long strips was to use the push block and button from the Morton Safety Break SB01. Once I had the 12" x 1.5" strips, I broke out the 1.5" squares with my regular Silberschnitt running pliers.

Kaiser paint on left / Glassline paint on right
Kaiser paint on left / Glassline paint on right
The next step was to paint the "pictographs" onto the squares. I fired several test pieces to decide whether to use Kaiser Glass paints or Glassline paints. I wanted to cure the paint and fire polish the edges in one firing. The Glassline paints require a much higher temperature to mature, and as I expected, at fire polish temps the results were grainy.

Both paints have their pros and cons. I like the fast drying time of the Glassline paints (Kaiser paints will take days to dry, unless you use a heat gun), but in general, Kaiser paints produce better results.

Painting the pictographs
Painting the pictographs

I used a brush to paint the body, and then used a toothpick to paint the arms, legs, and spear. My original intent was to paint on the yellow (rougher) side of the crackle to give the pieces a sandstone-like texture. However, I guess I am a shiny-object type of gal, because in the end, I chose to paint on the smoother orange side. I was not completely satisfied with the quality of the image on the rough side, and the black contrasted with the orange was more appealing than on the yellow.

I let the paint dry for several hours, and then sped up the process using a heat gun. One thing to note about Kaiser paints is that they will spread if you dry them with any forceful air, so a heat gun is preferable to a hair dryer. However, take care not to thermal shock the glass!

All of the little "Moab Men", as I call them, were lined up on a piece of Papyrus paper and fired using the following schedule:

Segment
Rate (deg F)
Target Temp
Hold
1
500
1100
15
2
500
1400
5
3
AFAP
950
15

While I call these guys Moab Men, the inspiration was taken from the petroglyphs and pictographs at Buckhorn Wash in San Rafael Swell. We stopped at the wash after a beautiful day of mountain bike riding on a circuitous drive to Moab, Utah. If you're curious about the area, and the difference between petroglyphs and pictographs, I've posted a few shots of interpretive signs below.

Moab Man Maglesses, front & back
Moab Man Maglesses, front & back


I'll be packing these up and shipping them off in the next day or two. I can't wait to get a box full of other entries some time in late April for this year's Magless Exchange. It is always a little like Christmas opening the box and seeing all the creations of the many talented glass artists who share their knowledge on the forum and take the time to share a small piece of their art with the other participants.

Happy fusing!

Dana


Buckhorn Wash
Buckhorn Wash

Buckhorn Wash
Buckhorn Wash - Click to Enlarge









Petroglyphs vs Pictographs
Petroglyphs vs Pictographs










Resources: 

Kaiser Glass Paints http://www.kaiserglass.com/
For a wealth of information on glass fusing, Bullseye Glass offers on-line educational videos (small annual fee, though worth it, I think!). 
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online

12 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I have an ebook on the crackle technique but your post helps a lot. I use Fuse Master enamels and sometimes Kaiser paints in screen printing and dry them in an oven. I set it for 230 degrees and when it reaches that temperature turn the oven off and put in my glass pieces. It typically takes about an hour to dry. Again, thanks.

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  2. Great tutorial! Since the class, I've been drying my Kaiser paints in my toaster oven for 10 min. Works great!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this, Dana! I'm sorry I won't be getting one of your gems this year! I was especially interested in reading it because my husband has suggested that we have 5th graders do cave art on glass for next year's school auction project. So I was really interested in hearing how you made your Moab Men! I really appreciate your generosity in sharing your technique. :) --Aviva

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    1. Aviva -- google Buckskin Wash. There are some fantastic petroglyphs/pictographs there -- great inspiration!

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  4. Thanks, All! I will try oven drying. I considered putting them in the kiln at 200, but I was a little worried, because I've had paints crack occasionally when drying. I did NOT want to paint all those little men again! :) Dana

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  5. while you point out the crackle tutorial named is avail on the internet there is a quote from that tutorial that I feel uncomfortable with
    "I had a friend who had done this process, but refused to share her knowledge with me."
    Teachers share their techniques with us and in ethical belief that while we are free to create and sell it would be bad ethics to publish the technique and potentially harm the potential of students taking the class directly from the teacher. In this case Bob created the Crackle technique. Having said that I have take the class from Bob Leatherbarrow and I would say the internet crackle is similar but is not the real thing. I can tell the minute I see a piece whether it was from the free info or if it was derived from taking a class with Bob. Anyway just my 2 cents

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    1. Hello Terry, Thanks for your comment. As I pointed out in another forum, my goal was to provide whatever information I could to help other artists, without compromising what I learned from Bob (who is a wonderful, sharing instructor).

      I can't judge the person who wrote the tutorial -- I have no basis for judgement. The person admits that her friend "didn't share the technique". Good for the friend! No, the tutorial is not perfect. In fact, I tried to do crackle from that tutorial a few years ago and found the outcome lacking. I decided I needed to learn from "the Master Mr. Crackle", so I took a class with Bob. But, as far as I know, the tutorial is the only free source of information on the crackle technique with powder available (I believe Barry Kaiser, Kaiser Glass, also has a free tutorial on a different crackle technique using paint).

      Bob is publishing a book, expected to be out sometime within the next year. I'm looking forward to it!

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  6. I bought recently an ebook from Lena Beckéus, "Glass Fusing Design Techniques with Powders on Fiber Paper" where she shows her techniques, based on what she learned from Bob Leatherbarrow. I find it interesting. You can find it online.

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    1. Nom -- I may be wrong, but I don't think (and I hope!) that the book Lena wrote is not based "on what she learned from Bob Leatherbarrow...".

      First, I have both taken a class from Bob and read Lena's book. While it is a nice book of ideas/inspiration related to using powders and creating crackle (and she even mentions Bob as the original creator of the "folding technique" as she calls it), her process to achieve the crackle is significantly different from what Bob teaches in his classes.

      Secondly, I would hope that the techniques Lena covers in her book are based from her own experiences and experimentation.In my opinion, it is a breach of ethics to take a class from an instructor and then proceed to profit from the techniques learned in that class.

      For these reasons, I don't think Lena's book is based on what she learned from taking a class with Bob.

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    2. I am sorry, if I didn't explain myself in a very good english, my english is not so good... Of course I was not saying that this author would take advantaged of others artist work. Of course her book is based on her experience and on her own development and work of her own technique and I didn't intend to say that her technique was Bob's and I, unfortunately don't know his technique and don't know if she knows it. To me, as an apprentice, they look very similar and I just wanted to say that I am having fun with her book. Again, I am sorry for the lack of accuracy in my comment.

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    3. No problem, Nom. Thank you for explaining further.

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  7. No, I didn´t take one of Bob´s classes. I have a FaceBook group called "Powder on Fiber Paper" (for people that bought the book) where one of the members showed her crackle (but also had taken one of Bob´s classes) and she said the mine and his techniques differs from each other. My book contains more than crackles, for example work with stencils, sgrafitto, higher temperature, scrap glass. An e-book is not as good as a class and I don´t think my e-book ever will compete with a real class. Regards Lena Beckéus

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