More glass shenanigans

by Suw on June 26, 2006

So I went down to Kate's last weekend to play with glass and her kiln. it was nice to get out of London for a while, and even nicer to switch off and spend time making physical things.
My first attempt – a large bowl – failed horribly. Making it is a two step process. First you decorate the glass sheet with coloured bits of glass, fusing the two together; then you place it over a mould and, in a second firing, the glass melts, or slumps, to take the shape of that mould.
When you put stuff in a kiln, you have to coat the shelves with stuff called kiln wash to make sure your glass doesn't stick. Unfortunately, we think the kiln wash hadn't dried properly, so when we were fusing some moisture vaporised underneath the glass and caused huge bubbles. We then tried to slump the glass into the mould, in the hope that the bubbles would just slump out, but that didn't happen because it didn't get hot enough. The resulting bowl looked cool, but was too fragile to use.
We then played with making some coasters. The designed worked ok, but I think that they were too knobbly to actually put a cup on. Just before I left we tried a different tactic to try and even things out, but I didn't get to see if it worked. I also tried fusing two sheets of glass together, with frit, stringers and noodles (i.e. coloured crushed glass and glass powder; long thing straws of glass; and long flat strips of glass) inbetween. Didn't really get to see how they came out either. I'm sure Kate will Flickr photos as and when.
What did work, though, was a small bowl. I placed triangles of red glass on to a clear sheet, and fused them together. Then we slumped that into a small round mould, and the resulting bowl came out pretty well. Slightly wobbly, but lovely.
My glass bowl
I laid out three more in a similar style for Kate to fuse and slump at her leisure. I really like the idea of making something that she can sell at one of her markets. We also did some jewellery, which comes out really very well. Very simple stuff, but fun to make, and I'm sure it will sell well.
It's so nice to be able to come away with a real, solid thing and say 'I made this!'. I don't get that normally. I don't get to walk away at the end of a hard day's replying to emails and say 'Look! This is what I did!'. I spent four and a half hours today replying to ORG emails, and at the end of it, there were just more queuing up, waiting for attention.
I wish I had more of making physical things in my life.

Anonymous June 26, 2006 at 11:43 pm

Making Stuff is truly one of the great joys of life. I've spent the past while making a shelves for the huge collection of LPs my wife and I have that are still sitting in boxes three years after we moved in to our house. I didn't want to just grab some lumber and cinder blocks; I wanted something that looked like a real piece of furniture. I'm at the point now where I need to sand and finish it and I'll be done. It's been a lot of fun, and I get great joy out of designing something that isn't like anything I could have bought, that I know is made of good materials because I bought them myself, and that should last me for the rest of my life.

Anonymous June 27, 2006 at 2:03 am

As one of the people responsible for piling emails into your mail box in relation to ORG, I felt a pang of guilt when I read this. …. It did not stop me sending more, but it at least brought on the pang of guilt. 🙂

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