Wow. THAT was fun.

Spent the afternoon demonstrating pate de verre techniques at Portland’s Museum of Contemporary Craft, and enjoyed myself thoroughly. Part of the museum’s month of glass, it’s sponsored by the Oregon Glass Guild. Supercompetent Bob Heath (president of the Portland chapter), played assistant the whole time which made a LOT less work for me (thanks, Bob).

It was also an exercise in emergency management, as the tragic demise of my kiln cost me the two pate de verre sculptures I was planning to demo. So I pulled together a bunch of other work, quick-like-a-bunny made three more pate de verre molds this morning. I tossed it all in the car with a few pate de verre books, whole bunch of Bullseye frits and tools and, well, improvised.

I expected just a couple of people and would have happily sat there alone, all four hours, simply filling my molds. But people started showing up, the joint got hopping and I got a steady stream of interesting questions: How hot do you fire the kiln? Why does it take so long? Could you do this with broken beer bottles? Don’t you worry about different melting temperatures of all those colors–will they go together? Couldn’t someone invent an pneumatic tamping machine that packed the frit so you didn’t have to do it by hand?

We talked about the French society that birthed modern pate de verre, the intensely precise Japanese PdV methods, firing techniques in rural India, the reason you use frit tints instead of pure colors…all kinds of things. All the while, I shook boxes of sticky-wet frit to blend colors, packed and tamped frit into molds and passed around samples of my work to demonstrate points.

Those with more stamina stayed most of the three-hour demo, which was gratifying. Hopefully, they’ve gotten some inspiration to actually try this stuff, or at least to better appreciate what goes into making glass art.

Anyway. Had fun. Need to do that again sometime. Now back to designing the new kiln…