So, here is my last big glass project! I am a member of a glass message board where we talk about glass casting, fusing, and other “warm” techniques. Every year, the members do an exchange where they make magnet sized pieces to send to one another. Magnet sized… but without magnets because at some point someone figured out that attaching magnets really increased the shipping costs! All the participants get one example of everyone elses’ “magless.”
I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to approach the project so I tried a few prototypes. My friend Rachel had recently showed me this amazing music video by David Crowder band done in stop motion using a lite brite, and I was totally inspired. (I totally loved those things as a kid!) I tried a few things out with chopped up pieces of glass rod – some on white backgrounds, some on clear. I also added black powdered glass frit to some of the samples to see if I could get that “lite brite” effect.
I fell in love with the look of the pieces on white backgrounds with black frit, so I started by chopping up a bunch of glass rods. Normally they are used for lampworking, but they are perfect for this project. I used a mix of 96 coe “veiled” rods, sold by Gaffer USA which have color surrounding clear centers, and regular 96 coe cathedral (transparent) glass rods in bright colors.
I cut 50 one-inch square pieces of white glass, and then glued seven centimeter-long pieces onto each square. I use regular white glue for this as it burns off cleanly in the kiln.
So then I had to gear up for the powder frit section. Safety first! When dealing with powdered glass, you have to protect your lungs by wearing an appropriate dust mask. This one filters both vapors and particulates, so its perfect for both powdered glass and for soldering jewelry or stained glass.
Holding the sifter over the glass piece, I put some powdered glass into the sifter, and then rubbed the spoon over the handle of the sifter, which shakes the glass down onto the piece. Then, once the powdered frit is sifted onto the piece, I used a soft paintbrush to gently knock the powder off of the top of the bits of glass rod.
Repeat 49 times, load them into the kiln as many as you can fit at once, tack fuse the glass so the powder glass melts completely but you still have tall rounded bubbles of color, and you’re ready to go! It took me about three kiln loads to get them all done, but oh well.
Here they all are all together! (They’re numbered so I can remember who made what). Some of them are really amazing, using multiple techniques and equipment I’ll have one day in my dream studio ;o)
I had a fabulous time working on this project and I’m looking forward to participating again next year. It is a great incentive to learn how to do some new cool stuff!