Monday, February 27, 2012

A little soldering; Soldering Class 1 & 2

My beginning and next step soldering students are so awesome!  Here are a few  of the fantastic things they made!  They've been setting stones, soldering multiple layers, working in brass, copper, nickel, silver, semi-precious stones, dichroic glass, setting prongs, making custom bezels, using bezel cups, making bails, designing, and having a lot of laughs!  I'm so lucky I get to work with them! Somedays, I love my job!!! 

Pretty great for a beginner!

Love the fun prongs!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Great Vase Project of 2012 is Complete!

Happy to report that 45 gem toned vases are completed! It's been a challenge to pull it off on time, but the City Year Gala event is on Tuesday night and the client is picking them up on Monday! The vases turned out to be beautiful!

A close up shot of the vases!

I know these will look beautiful with candles in them!

We had a visit from our Bullseye Rep, Devon! She did a great presentation on color reactions. Afterward we had a mini-teach where we made sample tiles of color reactions. We had about 30 attendees!  It was really educational and we had a lot of fun making the samples. Now I need to fire a million 3" square tiles....eeek!

I should have them done by Tuesday morning! I'm sure we'll have some great samples.

Just a peek at some of the samples!

I'm starting a new Baptismal Font commission tomorrow for Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in College Station. I really love doing these things. They are very fun and relaxing. It always feels good knowing that something you are creating will be used regularly in celebrations that bring people closer to their hearts and each other.  I'll keep you in the loop with pictures of the progress.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Beautiful vases!

I'm so glad that we are at a good place in this project. We have completed 35 of the vases. They look beautiful. Only 10 more to go! It is 2/19, and the event is on 2/28. We will make the deadline with time to spare! Looks like I'm just a worrier.

Beth, if you are reading this take heart. They look great! I'll be adding additional colors so we get even more vibrancy. Can't wait to see them all lit up at the City Year event.
We've done 35 of these so far and they are beautiful!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Finally! There should be confetti!

Those of you who have been watching for this... here it is! 

It's been rough sailing to get to this point, but I'm much closer now. After a LOT of virtual blood, sweat, and tears over these vases, the first 8 came out of the kiln this morning.  Perfect they're not, but they're pretty good, I'd say!  I know they will glow beautifully with candles in them. They'll be on the tables at City Year's Gala event on February 28th!

8 DOWN, 37 TO GO!...there are 8 more in the kiln now.

If I can keep this up with no casualties, we'll make the deadline and be ok. Keep us in your prayers!  Tonight Rene is coming in to help me recycle some of the glass in the ones that turned out poorly, so they'll go into new discs, which we'll then re-drape. Unfortunately, we lost about 25 pounds of glass in the great meltdown disater of Feb 10th, so we'll be breaking up more and casting a new batch of red ones. The folks at Bullseye should be pleased, all toll, this project has used 175 pounds of glass!

8", 9" and 10" vases in multiple colors
Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement, and offers to help!  Still might need some of that help yet. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My future as a kiln repairman

I have successfully changed the relay and the kiln is humming along with little fanfare. What I can say is that although it was a major pain in the rump, I did it and it wasn't that hard. It actually helps when you have the tools and the parts you need BEFORE you have breakdown.

Let that be a lesson to everyone. Order extra relays and a 1/4" nut driver NOW!

Just can not catch a break!

The next morning after I foolishly thought I had things back on track, I came in to find the kiln with a stuck relay. The kiln went to 1650 and hung out there for 9 hrs. So another batch completely ruined and not recoverable. This morning I have to go in and change the relay, clean the kiln and see if I can salvage this.

On a happy note, I decided that I needed to be calm and not cry over ruined glass. So I decided to work on my printing samples. Here's what came out of the kiln and what I put back in.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Troubles in Glass Paradise!

If you've been following the saga of the 45 draped vases for City Year's gala event on February 28th, no doubt that you're wondering, "So ...what happened?" So... Here's where we are on the project. 

I'm rather frustrated over the events that have occurred over the last 10 days. It seems that my in my exuberance to plow through the project, I failed to acknowledge that the draping portion of the project would be more nuanced than expected. I've done this numerous times before without any real pain or heartache so I foolishly assumed that this project would be no different. DUH!! Not so much!

The first batch of 9 that I attempted to drape were a horrible disaster. As I was placing them in the kiln, on top of the molds, Stacey (my business partner) said, "I think you should do just one. You know, to make sure that your schedule is right."  In my excitement and (foolish) confidence I replied, "Relax...I know what I'm doing. Anyway, I'm being conservative with the schedule, so I'm sure it will be fine." FAMOUS LAST WORDS! 

I opened the kiln the next day and there were beautiful gem colored rings sitting at the foot of each mold. My conservative schedule was wrong! All the discs had melted right through the molds and ended up in a heap. I was convinced that I new  what was wrong with the schedule, so I again FooLiSHLY put 9 more discs (what was I thinking?) onto the molds, and fired up the kiln again.

This time, the schedule was good! Yeah! But my happiness so gave way to the sad realization that the lips on the vases were WRONG!  

Ruffled... and not so much!

The size was right, but the lip was NOT ruffled as it should be.  Now I had screwed up 18 of the 54 discs that I cast, and I needed 45 vases. EEEEK! 

Here's where we are now; I realized that what was wrong with the lips of the vases is that the discs were too thick to ruffle. The way to thin them out was to put the discs back into the kilns and fire them to a very deep fuse (un-dammed) to allow the discs to thin and expand in size. So I did that and then draped them again using the new schedule. The result; GREAT! Everything was perfect.... except....(cue the music from the movie Jaws...) That the bodies of the vases were too thin. This means that either the temp was too high or time was too long, or both. 

Meanwhile, that meant 3 more discs bit the dust! So I had to regroup and reclaim the discs that I ruined. Stacey helped me smash up all the discs, and everything had to stop while I recast 18 of the discs back to usable condition.

Finally, yesterday I cold worked 49 discs and put 12 in the kiln to spread into thinner and larger discs. I will have to do that on all of the discs. So at 12 discs per day, that will take me to 2/14.

On 2/15 I will have 13 days left until the event! OMG! ...and not one perfectly ruffled vase to show for a month on the job. DAMMMMMMM.

I'm sure that I can pull this off in time, but it might mean that I am driving these vases to the event on 2/28! If all goes right with the kiln universe, I can drape 9 vases a day beginning on 2/15. That will take me to 2/21. It doesn't seem likely that it will happen just that way...but a girl can still dream! I will be in the studio every day making this happen.

Not toasty at all!
On a happier note, I am excited to be playing with my new Jen Ken Pro-Fusion 16 Square kiln. This thing rocks! It reaches full fuse (1470) in 39 minutes! That is killer fast for a 16" firing space. LOVE IT! I love that at 1492 degrees I can put my hand right on the top and hold it there without being burned, or even uncomfortable. Can't do that with a kiln wrapped in metal! Here she is in all of here glory!

I love that she's a clam shell too!

During the firings of the discs, I've been working on getting ready for my classes in Las Vegas. One of my classes is "Making Your Mark; Printing on Glass," and another is "Modern Jewelry; Beyond Dichroics." For both classes I'm exploring with images on glass that will come from woodcuts, stencils, stamps, free hand application/drawing, photographic images on overlays, etc. which will then be colorized with enamels, frits and powders, paints then and over or underlayed with foils, lusters, etc. 

These are some of the samples I put into the kiln last night. I put them on 0113, 0137, 0139, 0132, and 1100 to determine which colors give the best contrast and results. I'll take a picture tomorrow and show you how they came out.

All of these images I created from free clip art and vintage photos from the web. I manipulated and changed them for my purposes by eliminating backgrounds and increasing contrasts.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Plate making class!

Today I had a plate making class. Here's a peek at what went in the kiln.

Tomorrow we'll cold work and slump them. I think they look great.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Another Beautiful Vessel Sink!

Just finished today!  You're seeing it before the client. This beautiful vessel sink will reside in the guest bath in a custom home here in San Antonio. The house is being built by Davis Homes. The design was inspired by the clients marble vanity slab, which is silver/gray with lines of cobalt blue and flecks of white and deep green. The interior designer, Debbie Stoli, is working with the clients to make their home a gorgeous place. I love working with designers because they really see lots of design possibilities when I start pulling out the glass. I think this glass vessel sink turned out beautifully!

This glass vessel sink is transparent steel blue-1406
and clear fracture irid 4101.31

Here's a close up of the texture and the drain.

....and another picture just because I love it!

Last night I taught a mini-class on torch fired enamels. We made some fun copper earrings and other little goodies!  Here's a few photos.

Charlotte and Rene torching away! Having a great time!

Charlotte's first enamel project!  Pretty great for a beginner!