Pulled another batch of five-finger experiments out of the kiln this morning, couple of conventional tack-fuse pieces that came out well and will go into sales inventory, and two experiments that failed-but.

Neither was a success. The one at right, kind of a fast-de-verre, I adore but it developed a crack around the base, undoubtedly due to expansion differentials of the two molds and the glass (sometimes it takes me a while to get it…)

My mom had thrown a couple of fast nesting bowl molds for me, and this was their maiden firing. Cover them with kilnwash, line the bigger with layers of frit, top it with the sand-filled second mold, and give it a short firing. Fabulous idea, except the glass was trapped between ceramic that expands and contracts at a different rate than glass and…there it goes (craaaack).

So I will futz around with it to see if I can’t make it right. The combination of crystal sizes and strata are just too nice to leave alone, and in any case I’d like to work out some sort of a vessel core that’s (a) easy to put together, (b) tough enough to hold the glass in place but flexible enough to take care of the expansion thing, (c) conductor, not insulator of heat, and (d) ideally, takes detail well and is reusable. I may be asking too much, but I love the possibilities here. Maybe ceramic on the outside, metal (that slides up) on the inside?

The other failed-but is a keystone piece that nominally worked, only a few (very predictable) sags, left. Yet I wasn’t all that enthusiastic during assembly and when I pulled it out, my first response was “yeah? so what…”

Not a good sign. This was a pretty extreme example of balancing one thing off against the other, but the result isn’t sculptural enough to stand on its own (in my opinion) or functional enough to make it useful. And the points of connection are so thin, relative to the weight of the thing, that it’ll either shiver itself apart or someone (probably me) will try to pick it up by an edge and…there it goes (craaaack). The opportunities for inducing stress into such a design are big enough here that it’s possible no amount of annealing will compensate.

Besides, it’s just…a bunch of circles and rectangles, although the reflections it makes are kinda fun and I do like the way it thumbs a nose at flat-fusing, which seems to be my contempt-du-jour.

So there’s a definite “can we get back to the GOOD stuff, please?” buzz in my brain, which means I’m back to thinking about the glass, working in the glass, ready to hurry up and wait instead of whipping something out in a 1-day firing.

Time to head back to casting some Emergents. Whew…