May 18, 2012
Hey, glasslanders: Just a quick reminder that Fusathon 2012 is TOMORROW! Clear your Saturday because this is going to be FUN!
Yup. That’s Saturday, 10-2, at the Uroboros glass factory. We’ll be making fused blanks for bowls/plates that will be sold at the Portland Blues Festival over the July 4th holiday. All proceeds go to the Oregon Food Bank.
Just in case you’ve never been to a Fusathon (where have you been living? under a rock?), it’s an Oregon Glass Guild community project:
- Uroboros supplies 90 and 96 COE glass to make the plates, including frit, pre-made shapes like zigzags and dots
- You’re also welcome to bring your own glass
- You can make one blank for free; after that we’ll ask $5 per piece, with the money going to the food bank
- All experience levels welcome (including NO experience)
- OGG supplies some food, coffee, etc., and we’d love it if you’d bring potluck, too
- OGG members (with the help of Aquila Glass School) will slump the blanks later
So please, PLEASE come and say hi. Bring treats. Bring glass. Bring your wallet.
February 22, 2012
Q: Is there a better (faster, cheaper) way to coldwork small glass sculptures?
A BeCon or two ago, Richard Whiteley, head of the Canberra glass school, said that glasswork fresh from the kiln was only half finished; coldwork was necessary to take it the rest of the way.
I happen to agree, but as much as I love HAVING coldworked, I hate DOING coldwork and seem to be on a neverending quest to avoid it. Right now I’m testing a bunch of machines to see if they can automate the finishing process for small cast glass sculptures, like pendants.
February 13, 2012
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.
Shown below, top to bottom, for example: A piece of thin (2mm) Bullseye Gold Purple, a piece of 3mm Bullseye Marigold Yellow…and then a series of pattern bar slices I’ve tried at various thicknesses. The thinnest (sixth from the top) is 1.5mm thick.
I do this a lot. So I must be doing something right…right?
November 22, 2011
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 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.
I gave them some rules of thumb I go by when I don’t have access to a reactivity chart and/or have no time to check. [Read more]
October 29, 2011
How do you give non-casters a taste of pate de verre-making..in less than four hours?
That was the assignment, anyway. It was the Portland chapter’s turn to host the Oregon Glass Guild’s annual state meeting, and we wanted to do something a bit special.
We decided on a theme of Stretch Your Wings, and gave it multiple meanings. First, we meant “stretch your wings by reaching out to the community.” Instead of focusing on personal enrichment, this time we’d make art for the community, a glass quilt to be installed in a local hospital. Everyone who came would make at least one 6×6 inch tile for the quilt.
July 7, 2011
Lemme borrow a writer’s proverb for a sec:
I hate coldworking. I love having coldworked. More particularly, I love having coldworked by hand.*
I’ve so far found nothing to match the incredible, silky finish you get with hand-coldworking a piece of glass, so I was really interested in Paul Tarlow’s new book, Coldworking Glass without Machines: A complete guide to creating better fused, lampworked & blown glass artwork without spending a small fortune on big equipment.
May 24, 2011
That pretty much sums up this year’s Fusathon which, when you think about it, means a pretty good time was had by all. Fusathons, for those of you who don’t know, are the Oregon Glass Guild‘s annual charitable fusing parties.
One Saturday each spring, Uroboros opens its glass factory to Portland chapter members for OUR Fusathon. We eat, joke, take factory tours, buy glass (at really nice prices)…but mostly we make plates and bowls, to be sold over the fourth of July at the Portland Blues Festival, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Oregon Food Bank.
Uroboros kindly precuts a bunch of clear glass blanks and sets out tons of glass–90 and 96–for us to play with. We bring our tools, and any stray components we might want to use up, and for the next four hours or so we create.
They fuse the blanks flat for us in their honkin’ great kilns, and later on we’ll pick up the flat pieces, coldwork the edges a bit and slump them into plate and bowl molds in member’s own kilns. (This year, Aquila Glass has graciously volunteered to do the slumping.)
There’s a competition for the best work (a Uroboros gift certificate), members clean out their studios and donate leftover work that will also be sold at the festival. But like I said, we mostly just make glass and have fun.
It’s a little daunting, being confronted with a bunch of bare glass and instructions to “make a plate.” I must admit I’m usually more interested in seeing what everyone else is doing than in actually working on my own creations, so I tend to do something with streaky glass–a treat, since I almost never use it in my own work–and then focus on taking pics of artists at work.
It’s been interesting to see members’ work evolve at Fusathon, year after year. These are “relax and have fun,” “try something new” pieces, but after a year or two you start noticing how clearly a top artist’s voice comes through, even then.
Even more fun is watching the quality of the work grow, year to year. There was definitely a strong mosaics influence this year, and quite a bit more adventuring.
Take a look at what we put into the kiln (apologies where the photos aren’t great–or the design is covered with a coating of clear frit. If you’d seen them BEFORE the frit, you mighta been impressed):
April 18, 2011
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-edged fractures most likely reinforce the “eyes only” notion.
But what if “eyes-only” isn’t an option? Why can’t artists create glass for 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.)
April 11, 2011
Fun little project that’s worth investigating, one which started with my urgent need for about 600 glass cabochons.
I wanted to get as many cabs as possible out of scrap, so I began cutting up dozens of failed projects and refiring the pieces. Sometimes the results were spectacular, sometimes not…but my absolute favorites came from boxcasting experiments gone wrong.
I’d been experimenting with pate de verre boxmaking methods to get the look of PdV without all the just-under-the-surface bubbles, which make it difficult to carve into the glass without creating pinholes. [Read more]
March 2, 2011
What’s the difference between a murrini cane and a pattern bar?*
Beats me; I’ve only found two: Pattern bar typically isn’t stretched or compressed to reduce the pattern (and incidentally increase the number of murrini) and the final slices are generally bigger than typical murrini. In fact, for many types of murrini you start with a huge pattern bar, then heat and stretch and compress it until it becomes…murrini cane.
BTW, this is part of a series that I *still* haven’t finished–never knew there were so many ways to make murrini in a kiln. Here’s the rest of the series:
- Murrini cane in a kiln: Jellyrolls
- Kilnformer’s murrini you can buy
- Murrini cane in a kiln: The rod pod
- Kinda like peanuts