January 2013

A Fused Glass Chemical Reaction

Preparing the glass in the kiln.

Heidi’s glass piece before firing.

In order to get different colors of glass minerals are added. During the firing process sometimes these minerals create a chemical reaction. My studio partner Heidi decided to experiment with these reactions during her recent studio visit.

Lately I have been creating “hot fire” slabs of glass. The glass is heated to 1700 degrees and held for a couple of hours. At this temperature the glass is more fluid resulting in interesting movement within the piece. After a few disasters, I have stabilized the firing schedule for my kiln. I discovered (by accident) that you get more movement if the kiln is unlevel because gravity is helping the glass move.

Fused Glass

Heidi’s piece after firing.

As Heidi prepared the kiln for her first hot fire piece she worked with copper bearing colors (blues and greens) and sulfur bearing (creams). To make things interesting she threw in some pink/coral which is lead bearing. As you can see from the pictures the chemical reaction formed the dark charcoal brown color. I love the outcome.



Fused Glass Art Fused Glass Art

Heidi will be back in the studio next week. We’ll see what she eventually does with the fused glass. Whatever it is I’m sure it will be fabulous. It never ceases to amaze me how different our approach is to working with glass utilizing the same techniques.


Glass Bubbles, Craters and Camouflage

Hand cut glass slab.

Custom glass slab tediously cut by hand for the Seahorses.

Well, 2013 is here and the 2012 Boat Parade has come and gone. With all the hustle and bustle of December I haven’t had a chance to post information about the trophies.

All glass projects can have issues that arise…it’s the nature of glass, firing schedules, weather or simple kiln goblins. The boat parade trophies in the last week had some major obstacles to overcome……why is that always the case?

I was feeling pretty good about the progress of the project before I left for my trip to Florida in early December. The background glass was done. The custom glass slab I created for the seahorses was done and looking good. The only thing left to do was cut out the seahorses and glass for the final firing.

So I loaded the kiln, set the schedule and was feeling pretty proud of myself for managing my procrastination, I had six days until the event. Well, I opened the kiln the next morning to huge bubbles. Yikes I haven’t had huge mountainous bubbles like this in years. I was stunned for the first hour and trying not to let the tears fall. I had to get this fixed ASAP….nothing like a deadline to help you hold yourself together.

Huge Glass Bubbles

Yikes….huge glass bubbles…not good!

After a quick consultation with my local “glass doctor” I drilled holes in the bubbles and re-fired with a new schedule. I was feeling good about the project I still had 4.5 days to go. I was glad I had built in some extra “just in case” time.

The next morning I cruised into the studio thinking I’m done and can move on to slumping the trophies in their molds followed by sand blasting the lettering. My heart sank when I open the kiln lid. My bubbles were now hideous craters. Yikes what now? I only had time for one more firing. Slumping was out for sure.

I added more glass to cover the craters, re-fired and hoped that the final trophies would be A-OK. I was a little bummed out about not being able to add the slumping curve that would make the final pieces rest in their holders a bit better…..oh well that’s how it goes with glass sometimes. This firing was success…..thank goodness.

Glass Trophies

Trophies on display and ready for their winners.

Next up the trophies needed to be sand blasted….I was down to 1.5 days until delivery. Of course I encountered some unexpected computer file issues. I was starting to feel a little cursed. The final sand blasting actually goes quite quickly, but the prep can be very time consuming. I finally finished up at 9 PM with hours to spare before the noon delivery the next day. Boy that was cutting it way too close for my comfort.

The event person arranged the trophies and dressed them up nicely. I was finally Done, Done, DONE!!! With Christmas a week away I could now focus on getting my tree up and the house decorated before our holiday guests arrived.