Five finger exercises, revisited

>>>>Five finger exercises, revisited

Realized last week that between visitors, cool events like BeCON, losing Chinni and dayjob pressures I HADN’T SO MUCH AS RUN A GLASS SCORE IN ALMOST THREE MONTHS.

That’s gotta be some kind of record, and it probably explained the nervous twitch in my brain. (Although my wallet keeps sending sincere thanks for the sudden cessation of glass expenditures)

Anyway, Verizon FIOS was doing its thing so reliable FTP’ing was out of the question anyway, and I headed downstairs to the studio. Did four fast, limbering-up exercises, single-fire pieces, no particular direction except something weird with glass tackfuses.

All in all, happy with the way these came out. I get a kick out of figuring out the mechanics of tackfusing to the mold, a matter of balancing one piece against another until you create a self-supporting infrastructure that will hold up to the heat (or collapse the way you want it to). I’m getting more and more radical with that stuff, just to see if it works, and this was one of the four that came out of the kiln today:

Lousy picture–this is actually quite mesmerizing in person, and I think I’m going to explore it a bit. It’s essentially stringer laid across a supporting structure of glass-a LOT of stringer–but the patterns that form are cool. It’s not as fragile as it looks, but I wouldn’t exactly play football with it.



  1. gary brown October 2, 2007 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Cynthia! It really is wonderful that you’re willing to share your techniques. It is much appreciated. I owe you a dinner next time I’m Out West.


  2. Cynthia Morgan October 2, 2007 at 11:11 am - Reply

    1. You’re asking so many questions because you’re a born journalist, you just don’t realize it.

    2. Yup, it’s stringer essentially sitting out in space. The supporting structure is a spiral of glass “noodle” that’s been cut and pieced together from straight pieces. It’s set up to come together in a single firing–I find that multiple firings make it harder to control the final texture, so I just plan it so everything comes together at once, kinda Rube Goldberg-fashion.

    It’s a bit of a balancing act. Superglue holds the pieces in place but will burn off well before tack-fuse temps, so the pieces have to balance and support each other. I build this stuff so that the load is transferred to the center bottom.

    In this case, some of the stringers are shorter and act as spacers for the arms of the spiral, while the arms of the spiral support the longer stringers.

    It’s set into a small ball mold, building from the center out. Takes a little while (and a LOT of stringer) to accomplish.

    Next step is to see how far I can get this technique to crawl up the walls without collapsing. (I think, anyway) that the underside is more interesting than the top of this piece, and I’d like to expose it as sides of a “basket.”

    Of course, the more vertical you make this stuff, the more critical the firing schedule gets–you’ve got to get most of your heatwork done before the piece actually droops, so that it takes relatively little time at top temp to get the work done.

    I’m thinking I’ll finish the piece off with some kind of funky base. I’m waffling on knocking the little dangling ends off–on the one hand they contribute to the woven look, on the other they’re messy and liable to come off anyway…very fragile.

    Anyway, it’s a fun exercise. Doing something similar in that same firing with glass triangles, a piece I’m calling “Arrowneous.” Didn’t want to get the whole studio out to photograph test pieces, so the picture was lousy. I’m finding these tackfuses can be challenging to photograph without a lot of setup.

  3. gary brown October 2, 2007 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Cynthia… is that empty space between the stringers? What did you use to make the supporting spiral? Why do I ask so many questions??

    I really like the “open” look of this…it kind of reminds me of some African basket work in my collection.


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