I’ve been working on a new series of chipbowls and salsa dishes, using window glass which is (usually, almost) free around here, left over at construction sites – Thank-you, Kristina.
People have been curious about the process so here is what I do. I like the philosophy of recycling glass but the material is not as forgiving as System 96 glass which is made specifically for fusing. The learning curve has been steep.
After cutting the ¼” thick glass to the size I want, I mix up a paste of glass frit powder with an organic fusible gel.
The paste is spread across the glass and left to air dry in the sun.
Then, with a soft pencil, I draw a design on the dry glass powder.
The design is carved away with a drummel tool.
The negative spaces are then refilled with a different color of glass powder.
When the design is complete, the piece is fired at full fuse (1535F for float glass).
Before molding the piece in a second or third kiln firing, the edges are hand sanded with 80 and 220 grit.
All in all, it takes me nearly a week to finish a piece.
I’ve also been using fusible System 96 glass as well, which is more expensive but produces more consistent results.
I’ve been having a lot of fun recently making these wire-wrapped pendants.
I’ve enhanced them with beaded ropes.
I recently selected a few for gifts for the girls and women in my family. When I laid them out on the table so each one could choose her favorite, my 16 year-old grandson swooped in, made his own selection, and wore his pendant the rest of the weekend. So, you see, these designs are unisex.
These earrings are using a new technique with a new material. I hope you like them.
All of this jewelry is for sale at Samara Organics at the Natural Center.
When I make mistakes in fused glass pieces, I break them up and re-fire them into “puddles”.
Lately, I’ve been wire-wrapping them as earrings and pendants.
My friend, Connie – she is great with beads and beading – helped me enhance these pendants with beaded ropes for necklaces.
So, you’ve been wondering what I do with all the wine and beer bottles
that you’ve been saving for me.
Here is my first run of bottle Boxes; good for trinkets, earrings, salt, votives,
or Grampa’s ashes.
Each box is made from two bottles, the lid is decorated and fired to fit over the cut bottle.
These Jam Jars will be for sale at Samara Organics.
Gecko Glass has gone live with a new website at http://geckoglassart.com. Check it out for new work, classes info, and portfolio. You can still follow my blog for news and events by clicking in the right hand column here.
I’ve just put some new pieces into Samara Organics.
Lots of jewelry too.
By now, everyone on the planet has seen the ubiquitous slumped bottle/cheese plate.
I’ve added a Costa Rican tropical bird to each one, most of which I’ve seen here in Samara. (more…)
After yesterday’s kiln repairs, these lichor bottles look just as I expected: bright, transparent, without spots and no cracking. Now I’ll paint them with tropical birds that I see around my house.
These are the ones I fired last week when the kiln wasn’t working properly: lots of devitrification (chalkiness), bubbles, exploded bubbles, and generally ugly. I am so pleased to have figured out the problem.
Send me your empty, your poured.
Occam’s Razor, is a problem solving principle surmised by a 14th century Franciscan monk as “Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” Or as Steve says it, “The simplest solution is almost always right”.
I have refined this in the glass studio to “When you don’t get the results you expect, do a paper test.” which really means “See if the kiln is working.”
A little slip of paper tucked into the coils of each element will scorch and burn if the elements are getting hot. Currently, the side wall elements are not heating up. I’ve been cooking everything with only one lid element – for how long, I don’t know – creating huge temperature differentials within the glass and causing stress and cracking.
I’m pretty hopeful that repairs today will solve many of my recent issues and frustrations. Jodi at Glass With a Past had lots of great suggestions but I’m going with Occam’s Razor for now. Wish me luck.
Since my Seattle workshop in June, I have been working every day in the studio and loving it. What have I been doing?
I’ve been “painting” pictures with powdered and crushed glass (frit). I’m enjoying the process immensely, but I’m less than satisfied with the results.
Is it technique or technical? I don’t know and I’ve asked for professional advice.
It would be easy if I would stick to using the tested compatible COE96 art glass – I can knock those babies out – but I am really committed to using recycled “float” and bottle glass.
And it just isn’t going well. I am really proud of this “save”. But why do my pieces spontaneously crack down the middle? Like I said, I’ve asked for professional advice.
A new series – The Birds of Costa Rica. (We have seen all of these from my house.)
I “paint” with powdered glass and frit onto float glass.
Some I put on bottle glass. Here is a Bombay Gin bottle, repurposed.
You can buy these birds in their wooden display stands at Samara Organics, in Playa Samara – c15,000 ($30.00)
With the new skills I learned recently from Michael Dupille, I am reinterpreting the local Chorotega pottery, made by the people indigenous to this part of Costa Rica.
The families are still working at Guaitil and San Vicente to create traditional designs which are highly patterned and usually symmetrical. Often they have iconic animal figures in the center.
I start by making new sheets of glass, using broken wine and beer bottles. I’m still working out the firing schedule, hoping to get the glass more transparent.
Then I add my interpretations of the Chorotega designs, using Michael’s “Scratch and Frit” method with glass paste and frit.
It’s time consuming and labor intensive. It gets fired several times. But the glass is free and I have the gift of time.
I’m thinking of slumping these into shallow plates, which will help the light pass through. What do you think?
My head is exploding with new information and design ideas for glass fusing with frits – that’s what we in the craft call crushed glass. I’ve just finished a 4-day workshop in Seattle, lead by Michael Dupille at his lovely studio. Dupille has been working in fused glass many years so his knowledge is vast. His studio is full of completed pieces demonstrating the skills we were learning. He’s a thorough teacher and a gentle critic. I came away with 5 pieces, each using a different technique. Most were fused in the kiln more than once. I can’t wait to try these new skills out in my own studio.
Watercolor technique with dichroic ($$$$) inclusions.
A simple casting. This was really fun to do with lots of processes.
A Scratch and Frit Sandwich.
This palette knife Macaw isn’t finished. It’ll probably be fired at least 2 more times as I work on it.
We were a nice group of six, with a great caterer, for a fun and productive weekend.
Christmas ready. Available at Samara Organics. c4,000 ($8.00)
New fused glass earrings on display at Samara Organics Mercado and Café.
Handmade in Samara, Costa Rica.