Firing schedules are probably the single biggest source of confusion in kilnforming glass. Over the years (and a bunch of research, testing and listening to smarter-than-me glassists), I've developed strategies for schedule management; this series will share a bit. As always, this stuff is based on MY experience, with my designs, my technical considerations and my understanding. I don't promise [...]
It's all in the way you slice it. And the way you slice it is, apparently, profoundly affected by a good blade. Check any glassmaker's forum and you'll probably find someone with glass cutting issues, usually stemming from a tile saw that's more like a Cuisinart than a slicer. I don't claim any special expertise at this stuff, but I do have a decades-old, cheap, badly made, out-of-true tilesaw that reliably cuts amazingly thin murrini cane* slices. I do this a lot. So I must be doing something right...right?
If you mix frit colors--as all pate de verre and frit painting artists do with abandon--you quickly learn about reactivity between colored glasses. Try warming up the chill BE Salmon Pink with a little BE Medium Amber, and the resulting sludgy grey-brown will stick in your mind forever. Or so I thought. At a beginning casting workshop recently, one of my students complained that it was tough to simply remember what reacted with which. Or worse, when they combined glasses from two manufacturers, they couldn't find any reactivity info at all, which apparently resulted in some unpleasant surprises.
Got the sweetest email the other day, right on the heels of my, er, terms & conditions for the use of this blog. Don't know if one had anything to do with the other, but it sure tickled me to read this: Hi Cynthia I just wanted to send you a quick thanks for imparting your wonderful knowledge on the use of super glue with fusing.
Glass may be one of the most untouchable of artforms--its strong relationship with light and color makes it extremely visual anyway, and its fragility and razor-sharp fractures most likely reinforce the "eyes only" notion. But what if that's not an option? Why can't artists create glass that speaks to the visually impaired? This is something ELSE I'm learning from this little informal teaching stuff I've been doing. (I gotta wonder if the whole reason you teach is to be able to learn more.)
Fun little project, which started with my urgent need for about 600 glass cabochons for a craft fair. I began cutting up dozens of failed projects, roughly shaping and firing them into cabs ranging from about a quarter-inch to 3x3 inches. Sometimes the results were spectacular, sometimes not...but my absolute favorites came from failed boxcasting experiments. I decided to make [...]
Guess what I've been doing in my spare time? Everybody needs a goal, right? I decided mine was to make 600 glass cabochons for a project I have at the end of April. So for the last three or four weeks I've been chopping, shaping, grinding and firing dozens and dozens of those kilnformed murrini I've been writing about. And it's kinda like peanuts: I examine a fresh-from-the-kiln batch, wonder what would happen if I sawed the cane THIS way, or fired an extra 30 minutes, or stacked the glass THAT way...and off I go to try that.
When does a cane stop being murrini cane and start being pattern bar? Beats me. I can find only two differences. In fact, for many types of murrine you start with a huge pattern bar, then heat and stretch and compress it until it becomes...murrini cane. So... if I use the same techniques I use to make pattern bars, then experiment with ways to stretch and distort those bars in the kiln, and then cut "cane" bars from the resulting stack...I should have murrini, right?
I promised I'd show you what my two Fusing 101 students made in their first class, so here 'tis. Shelby made what's essentially a color map of her favorite place in Monet's beloved Giverny:
"I've been dreaming about this at night," Shelby told me excitedly, as we tripped down the stairs to my studio, "This is gonna be soooo coool!" Right then, the joy part of making glass hit me--whap--right in the head. If you want to renew your own sense of joy and discovery in art (or probably anything else), just teach someone else to love it, too.