More Fun with Bubbles

Completed kiln-carved piece with Unique Glass Color paints
Completed kiln-carved piece with Unique 
Glass Color paints
After the bubble pieces I did for the Warmglass magless exchange this year, I have been wanting to get back to experimenting more with bubbles. I had so much fun with the baking soda that I decided to purchase some Unique Glass Color artisan paints. UGC's artisan line is formulated to create bubbles when it is sandwiched between two pieces of glass. I thought it would be interesting to use the paint as my bubble medium, rather than baking soda like I did for the maglesses. The UGCs offer two advantages: they don't leave behind a residue which you have to camouflage (or live with) ...and... they come in colors! The fused glass piece on the left is the result of this round of experimentation, and following is a quick "how to".

I started with a simple kiln-carving with a beautiful piece of sea green transparent glass and a layer of clear. Kiln-carving is a technique using fiber paper to create a bas relief design in the glass. First I cut a piece of shelf paper large enough to accommodate the piece of glass I would be fusing (I like Spectrum's Papyros shelf paper). I then cut narrow strips of 1/8" fiber paper for the stems of my flower and oval shapes for the flowers themselves. I used white glue to secure the fiber pieces to the Papyros. The kiln-carving went into the kiln with several other pieces, and I brought it to a full-fuse. After firing, I removed the successfully carved piece from the kiln, and set it aside for several weeks (I wouldn't recommend this step!).
Paint applied to the back  side of the glass
Paint applied to the back 
side of the glass

I finally decided the time had come to do something with my lovely kiln-carving. I removed the 1/8" fiber paper and cleaned up the piece, and then I painted UGC's Mystic Blue in the recessed area of the kiln-carving. After the paint dried, I used a wipe-out tool to clean up the edges. The UGC cleaned up easily.

Next, it was time to combine the kiln-carved piece with other glass. I decided to offset the focal piece within a frame of apple-jade, turquoise blue, and a lovely light green fusers reserve. Unfortunately, in the finished picture the fusers reserve appears white. Also, most of this beautiful glass was covered by the transparent green. It was a tough decision, but I "sacrificed" it, because it was the perfect complementary background for the kiln-carved piece. The picture below does a better job of showing the glass. (It's the dilemma of every glass artist -- to use or to save!)

Lay-up of the frame
Lay-up of the frame
Into the kiln!
Into the kiln!
Finally, it was time to put the piece back into the kiln. Again, I just dropped it in a load with other full fuses. Note that the schedule was more conservative, since I was now working with several layers of glass. Also note that the piece was dammed, to keep the layers from spreading, which would cause the finished piece to not be square.

The picture below shows a close-up of the raised area that resulted from the kiln-carving combined with the UGC artisan paints. I love the 3-dimensional look achieved by using the UGCs and kiln-carving!

Close-up of the finished piece
Close-up of the finished piece
I hope this quick tutorial gives you ideas for using this technique in your own work. I'm looking forward to doing some more experiments creating bubbles!

Happy fusing! Dana

Want to learn more? Here are a few additional resources:
All glass used was Spectrum System 96
Firing schedules omitted intentionally -- there are many good resources on-line for schedules, including

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