Mind the Gap!

How close should your glass pieces be?

They should be close enough so that you are comfortable with how heavy a solder line you will end up with.

To help prevent uneven spaces, here are some hints:

  • Use push pins or jigs to hold your glass in place while building and checking the fit. That way, you won’t get one piece fitting perfectly as you are pushing another one out.
  • Make sure you have not flipped any glass over. Label your pieces to avoid this.

Before you say “good enough,” think about any holes or uneven spaces you are filling with solder. When your piece is held up to the light, those places will not let light through. They will become part of the design.

Another problem is overheating the glass due to reworking it with a hot soldering iron. You don’t want to crack your glass with thermal shock because you are adding so much solder to fill the gap. Often when you are doing this, one side looks good and then you turn the piece over and there is a gob of solder. So you fuss with that, going back and forth, heating and heating, and then you hear the dreaded tink—the sound of glass cracking and your heart breaking!

The best fix—sorry to say—is to recut.

Be patient with yourself. This is a skill—so practice and don’t give up.

Photo courtesy of Inland.

 

Bottle Club

FUSING GLASS BOTTLES OR “HIDING THE EVIDENCE”

Don’t you just hate to throw out those wine and liquor bottles?  They are quite nice with the graceful shapes and the beautiful colors.   Make them into fused art!

First (and most important) step is to clean them.  The labels and any glue must be completely removed to be sure that no residue is fused onto the glass.  Use very hot water with ½ cup baking soda and 1 tablespoon of dish soap.  Submerge them in the water and let them soak for 10 minutes then add 2 cups of white wine vinegar.  Roll your bottles around so the vinegar mixes in.  Let them soak until you can get the labels off.

Once the bottles are clean you have some options.  You can just lay it in the kiln and full fuse it.  This one just has a little decorative wiring and some etching.  You could add a decorative knife and have a nice little gift.

Another option is to use a bottle mold.  There are all types available.  See the full collection here.

There are textured molds.  The one above has a lovely Tree of Life motif.

Drop molds, such as the one above, make an interesting shape.

You also can use a textured flat mold, such as the one below, and then slump it into a bottle mold.

You may get devitrification with some bottles.  To prevent it, spay with a divit spray like Spray A.

 

 

No Bad Luck Here!

BROKEN MIRROR!!?

 

 

Don’t think of it as seven years bad luck, think of it as an opportunity to be creative.  If you are worried about the seven years of bad luck you can bury a piece in the garden and that will stop it. (so I have heard). Here are some ideas for broken mirrors, most of which I got from Fusing 101:  Any and Everything You Wanted to know but Were Afraid to Ask.

This from Jane Wimbury.  How sweet is that!

Another idea is to get Styrofoam balls and make garden balls.  Or use an old bowling ball:

Frame the irregular shapes for eclectic mirrors:

Just put it back together roughly for a high interest look.  Many of these ideas from dyi.

I can see this done with wine corks, as well!

Try  your own designs – Good Luck!

Tiffany Aventurine – A Celebration!

How beautiful is this VASE!?  (I FEEL LIKE I COULD JUST POST THE PICTURE AND IT WOULD BE ENOUGH!)

This vase was made c. 1910.  It is Aventurine Lava Blown Glass by Tiffany Studios.  This is currently on display in the new exhibition at the Morse Museum called “Iridescence—A Celebration”.

This vase was among Tiffany’s treasured A-Coll (Artist Collection) pieces exhibited at Laurelton Hall.  It is a striking vase and was made by draping lava like aventurine glass over iridescent gold glass.  The name aventurine references the quartz-like glass with sparkling particles developed in Murano, Italy around 1910 when this was made.

You can use aventurine glass for your treasures also.  Available from Bullseye and Oceanside in flat glass and frit.   Usually available in black, blue or green.  It has been a little tough to get lately but we have some.  Click here to order.

 

 

Glass Fusing Q&A

 

Q: When I fuse my projects, sometimes I get medium to small bubbles. What causes them and how can I prevent them?

A: Bubbles can be caused by many different things. First, uneven stacking of glass can result in air trapped between layers. To prevent this from occurring, check the placement of all the glass pieces and insure they are sitting properly on the base. Since the edges of the glass fuse before the center of the glass, cut your base glass 1/8” larger than the top layer to allow air to escape. Second, check the glass prior to fusing. Some glass may already have contained bubbles inside the glass, which may or may not affect the outcome.

Q: After I fuse my pendants, I get uneven areas around the edges. What’s happening with the glass?

A: You did not fire it long enough or to a high enough temperature for a full fuse. Try firing for a little longer time.

Q: Sometimes my glass pieces look like a porcupine with spiky edges. What causes the glass to spike?

A: Spiky edges can be caused by over-firing your piece. The spiked edges are caused by the glass grabbing as it is trying to shrink.

Q: What caused my layered glass pieces to flatten?

A: If the glass piece has flattened out too much, you have over fired the piece. To prevent this from happening, reduce your power and shorten your time. After your first firing, open the microwave and using Fireworks Hot Mitts™; carefully lift the lid to inspect the fuse piece. If the desired results have not been achieved, continue firing in 30 seconds intervals.

Q: I tried to make a 1 inch pendant with embellishments, however after I finished fusing, the glass shrunk. How can I prevent this from happening the next time?

A: Glass naturally wants to be ¼ inch thick when heated. Your glass will shrink or expand to obtain this depth. A good tip to remember is that if your piece is less than ¼ inch when you start, it will shrink up to reach this depth. If your piece is larger than ¼ inch when you start, it will want to flatten out to reach this depth.

Q: What causes two pieces of dichroic or iridized glass to blow apart in the kiln?

A: Repelling glass will occur with dichroic and iridized coatings. The coatings can’t be placed together for fusing purposes, because they repel each other. The only way to avoid this is to encase the coated glass with a non-coated glass, such as clear. This will cause the coated glass to be encased and sealed.

Q:  Yuck, this film appeared on my fused glass. What is it and how can I prevent this from happening?

A: This dull white crystalline substance on the surface of your glass is known as devitrification. This is one of the most talked about glass fusing problems around. It can occur when your glass remains in a temperature range 1000ºF-1300ºF too long. You need to minimize the time spent in this temperature range.

Gray or Scummy Edges – Gray or scummy edges can occur on pieces that have been fired once and then cold worked before refiring. Cold working involves using either a grinder or glass saw on a piece of glass. These can be avoided by thoroughly cleaning the glass before refiring the piece. Keep a bowl of clean water near your work area and soak the glass right after doing the cold work procedure. This will keep the edges damp and allow the piece to be cleaned easier. Scrub completely and let dry before proceeding with the refiring process.

Q:  My glass cracked! What happened?

A: Cracking glass either during or after firing can be caused by a several things: thermal shock, heating up the glass too fast and compatibility.

Thermal shock occurs either by taking the piece out of the kiln too soon, or by opening the kiln and exposing the hot glass to cool air.

If the glass cracked in the kiln and it has an “S” shaped crack, the piece has heated too quickly. Slow down!

Finally, if the crack occurs along the line where the two pieces of glass meet, then the two touching pieces are not compatible. Make sure the glass you are using have the same COE (coefficient of expansion).

Q: How can I prevent my glass from shattering?

A: Glass Shattering in pieces over 1” with more than 1 layer may sometimes shatter. To prevent this from occurring, reduce the power. This will allow the glass to heat slower and will be less likely to shatter. Next, make sure your glass is clean and dry before firing.

Q: My fusing instructions say to clean my glass before firing, can I use a glass cleaning spray or detergent?

A: We don’t recommend it. Detergents, dish soaps, multi-purpose cleaners, some window cleaners, ammonia and even denatured alcohol should NOT be used to clean glass. These can actually promote devitrification. We suggest diluted white vinegar or rinsing your glass with distilled water.

Q: Every time I put my fuse glass project together, the pieces roll off before I can get it to the microwave. What can I do to prevent this from happening?

A: To hold your fusing project together, mix one drop of glue.   Apply a very thin amount on the back of the glass using a brush and allow the glue to dry thoroughly before firing.

Always Need More

So, so true! And mostly it is glass.  You just can’t stop.  Sometimes it is for a project, sometimes because it is a basic color that you always use, and sometimes it is just because it is too beautiful or unusual to resist.

Thank you for that. You keep the industry going!

We have a great stock of heads and tails in for our annual Invite Night sale April 6th. They will be available to one and all after the sale.

STAINLESS STEEL MOLD PREP

This was fun!  A customer came in with a stainless bowl that she had slump a thick piece of glass over.  It stuck! She broke the ruined bowl off, but a very thin layer of glass remained on the mold.  That prompted a discussion on how to get the rest of the glass off the mold and why it stuck anyway.

First to get it off.  She was first going to try fusing it off and if that did not work, she was going to sandblast the stainless.  One or the other should work.

Then she said she posted a picture of it on a facebook fusing group and prompted a discussion about prep of the stainless.  Here is the surprise!  Some people do not prep it AT ALL!

I went to Facebooks Fusing 101: Any and Everything you Wanted to Know But Where Afraid to Ask. I said “Recently I heard that some people do not kiln wash stainless molds.  I would be interested to hear what people think of this.”

There were some differences of opinion to be sure..

  • Cover with fiber paper or ZYP
  • Spray with Boron Nitride (ZYP)
  • If you use ZYP you rarely have to do it again
  • I don’t use anything on stainless steel. As long as the glass is NOT an opal glass in contact with stainless steel and it is good quality, it is fine.  You get a real shiny finish on the surface in contact with the stainless steel.
  • It is minimal work to use a barrier. I would rather be sure instead of concerned.

My own fusing teacher was emphatic about using something.  She suggested Slide because it is cheaper than most boron nitride products and it is easier than kiln washing.

https://www.stainedglassexpress.com/boron-nitride-hi-temp-spray-coating.html?category_id=571

More inexpensive, but more labor, is to use kiln wash.  The problem is that it slides off the mold easily.  Here is the trick.  Wash the mold with alcohol and then heat it in your kiln to 1200 degrees F  for about ½ hour.  Cool it.  Then heat again to just under 500 degrees F and brush or spray on the wash in thin even coats.  Allow the coating to dry completely between each application.  Coat it until covered.  After the first time this is done (and it does last a long time) we will just coat it put it on top of a hot kiln.  Seems to work fine.

NEW PRODUCT – Modeling Glass!

Modeling glass is a very exciting new product!  It is a two-part kit consisting of a powdered binder and liquid medium that you combine with water and powder or fit.  The result is the like clay and is easy to manipulate.  Use it like you would clay.  Coil it, flatten it, make shapes, press it into silicone molds.

When you tack fire it, it will hold a lot of texture.  Before firing, and after it is dry, you can sand or carve it.

 

It is food safe and nontoxic.    It can be used with 90 or 96 coe.

There is a vast amount of info at www.modelingglass.com.

We are currently planning a class around this product and you can look at and it purchase at this link:

https://www.stainedglassexpress.com/glass-bird-modeling-glass-starter-kit.html

 

Augusta Downtown Alliance/UMA Raw Spaces Art Walk

The Augusta Downtown Alliance is partnering with UMA to present the Raw Spaces Art Walk in Downtown Augusta on Friday, May 17, 2019 from 5-8pm.

Various locations in downtown Augusta will be displaying artists in varying forms of Fine Art and Performance Based Art. This is a juried event. Any artists interested in submitting to the Art Walk have until April 26, 2019.

For more information on this event and/or how to enter, go to

https://mainearts.maine.gov/Postings/Blogs/Detail/Call-for-Art-Augusta-Art-Walk-1