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.