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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Signs of Spring, Fused Glass Ikebana Bowl

Footed, fused glass Ikebana bowl
Footed, fused glass Ikebana bowl
A few days ago the temperatures dropped 40 degrees in three hours as a low pressure system passed through, and the next thing we knew, we were covered in a blanket of snow several inches deep. Today, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the flowers are beginning to bloom.

One of the first signs of spring that comes to our yard are the delicate miniature irises that grow along our rock retaining wall. To bring some of that spring beauty indoors, this morning I headed out with scissors in hand. When I came inside with my prize of three white and purple irises, I found the perfect bowl to put them in -- a footed, fused glass bowl that, with the addition of a pin frog to hold the flowers upright, became the perfect Ikebana bowl.

Two weeks ago, I attended the Glass Craft and Bead Expo in Las Vegas. One of the classes I took at the Expo was a mold-making class with Petra Kaiser, using Kaiser-Lee board. Kaiser-Lee Board (KLB) is a material that is easily cut and carved with "tools" like a putty knife or a spoon. In Petra's classes, she teaches how to carve the KLB into building blocks that can be used to create a variety of different molds for glass fusing.
The iridized glass reflects the colors of the rainbow.
The iridized glass reflects the colors of the rainbow.

The bowl has a base of clear iridized glass. The irid glass's metallic coating gives a rainbow sheen to the finished piece, which is decorated with chips of colored glass, glass frit, and vitrigraph stringers. I think the simple, organic design is very complementary to the irises.

I don't typically sell any of the fused glass pieces that I make when taking classes, so this bowl has a home, at least for now, on our dining room table. However, I do plan to make more of these lovely bowls!

Happy spring!

Dana

Resources: 

Update! 6/29/15 - Petra now offers an ebook that includes how to make the mold for this bowl, as well as other projects. http://fuseit1.estoreadvanced.biz/education/e-book-multi-tasking-molds-with-klb/

To find out more about Kaiser-Lee Board, classes with Petra Kaiser, and free tutorials using KLB, check Petra's web site: http://www.kaiserlee.com/

The best place I have found for pin frogs is Aftosa, on line: http://www.aftosa.com/

What in the world is Ikebana? Check wikipedia! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikebana

Want to learn more about glass fusing? Bullseye's Educational Videos are a great way to learn, Click the banner:
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online
























Monday, April 13, 2015

Glass Craft & Bead Expo 2015 - Making Waves with Unique Glass Colors

The Wave - fused glass with Unique Glass Colors
The Wave - fused glass with Unique Glass Colors
The month of April marks the beginning of Spring, and it also brings around the annual Glass Craft and Bead Expo in Las Vegas. The expo offers several days of classes in fused and stained glass, metal clay, and lamp working, along with an exhibition hall brimming with the latest and greatest in the glass and bead world.

One of the classes I took at the expo was a half-day class with Margo Clark and Saulius Jankauskas, who are two of the owners and artists behind the Unique Glass Color paints (UGCs) that are used in glass fusing. I purchased some of the UGC Artisan paints a few months ago (the artisan line is used to create bubbles of color between glass), and I wanted to learn more about them and their NT line of colors which are lead-free opaque colors.

The project for the class was to create a fused glass Wave. The finished piece is shown above. Margo generously offered that I could share the techniques I learned in the class, so below you'll find information on making this lovely piece.

Sorry, but this post has been edited at the request of Margo Clark from UGC, and the tutorial has been removed. I misunderstood our conversation at the Expo regarding what could be shared. I offered to let Margo review the post before it was published, but review was declined. In hindsight, I should have insisted it be reviewed. 

My personal guideline for blog posts is that I never reveal the "secrets" shared by instructors whom I have taken a class with, nor what I've read in purchased books. I fully respect the rights of all artists who make their living teaching others and try to provide only information which is available freely on the Internet. I should have kept to my personal guideline, and sincerely apologize to any who have been harmed by this sharing of information.  

There is much information freely available on the use of UGCs, including YouTube videos (link below). I also plan to create a different tutorial of my own design using UGCs. I have several ideas in mind, so stay tuned. 

Each of us in the class was provided with two half circles of float glass, a pattern, some float frit, a container of white Mud, UGC paint medium, and 10 bottles (yes, 10!) of UGC paints in shades of blue, green, and white.

********CONTENT REMOVED********

As you can see from the fired piece at the top of the page, the UGC colors are very rich and provide good coverage. They are compatible with all types of glass -- COE 90, COE 96, and float. I'll be incorporating more of the paints into my work in the future, and I have some ideas for projects using Mud. AND, I also have enough paint and mud left over from the class for several more projects!

UGC products can be ordered from the Unique Glass Color web site, and they are also carried at AAE Glass. Margo has created several YouTube videos that demonstrate how to use the paints and mud, and more projects are available on their web site. There's also a Facebook group for discussing all things UGC. 

I hope this post has been informative, and maybe will inspire you to create your own waves!

Dana

Resources:
Unique Glass Colors web site http://uniqueglasscolors.com/index.php

In addition to these resources, Bullseye Glass offers general education videos covering many aspects of glass fusing (subscription required, but I think it is worth the small annual fee)