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Fibreboard Molds

Fibreboard Mold

Molds for glass slumping can get a bit expensive and a bit limiting in just what you can do. You can, of course, make you own molds using plaster, clay and fibre products such as board and mat.

The fibreboard product seemed to me to be a good alternative at a reasonable price. Looking at a few videos and tutorials it didn’t look that hard to do, but I found the information a bit sketchy.

Not to be deterred I decided to buy some fibreboard and give it a go.

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Bullseye Glass and Devitrification

Just a quick post about the devitrification I have been experiencing on my fused glass work

I have been having quite a bit of trouble with devitrification on a number of items, not just cabochons. My first thought was to blame the firing schedule, then specific colours of glass.

In an effort to work this out I I talked to a much more experienced artist and found out something that was a little disappointing.

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Coaster 2mm Fusible Glass Test

Fused Glass Coasters

In our current stock of glass we have a lot of 2mm Bullseye fusible 90 COE glass. This is fine for some projects, but for others there is the problem of not enough glass volume.

If you are not aware, surface tension tends to try and make glass conform to a thickness of 6mm. For example, if you full fuse a 10mm piece of glass for long enough it will flow out and form a larger piece just 6mm thick. Alternatively, if the piece is less than 6mm it will try to pull in on the sides to reach that 6mm thickness.

So if you start with 3mm clear as a base and then add a 2mm layer, a total of 5mm, a full fuse will probably result in the sides of the piece pulling in. To see if we could make a piece with a 3mm base and a deco layer just 2mm we decided to make some coasters like this as a test.

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Layered Fused Glass Cabochons and More

Fused Glass Cabochons

Hope you are enjoying this journey and I sincerely hope that I haven’t bored you into saying goodbye. Please hang in there, things will get more interesting.

This was another full fuse for cabochons, some dots and a puddle. You may ask why another test. Well, I firmly believe that testing to see what happens is a great way to learn. The mistakes and the surprising wins all are great teachers.

In this firing we are trying different numbers of layers all together to see how they work together in a firing schedule really set for the bigger pieces.

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First Slumped Fused Glass Bowl

Fused Glass Slumped Bowl

Hey, I’m getting game now. Time to try making a fused glass slumped bowl.

In our first purchase of materials we did purchase a couple of ceramic molds for bowls. As usual, we don’t do things by halves so we purchased the largest bowl that would fit in our Paragon Fusion 14 kiln. The kiln is square, so a square bowl seemed logical. To be honest, we did purchase 2 other molds that are smaller, so I do have moments of being reasonable.

The final design was the result of looking at what offcuts I had. We decided not to start using the large sheets we purchased initially, not until my skills improved, so I continue to try and use offcuts where possible. The design is a little geometric, but that’s the Rocketman in me. I develop software for a living so guess what, I tend to be logical and geometric designs are natural for me.

So how did it go?

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Fused Glass Coasters for My Son

Fused Glass Coasters - Before Firing

My son recently purchased and moved into a new apartment, his first, so thoughts turned to an ‘apartment warming’ gift. I thought about making a clock to match his décor, but the last clock I made didn’t work that well so I decided not to test my luck.

After a little thought and discussion with Ann a set of coasters seemed a good idea. I had made a set previously and they worked okay, so I felt confident.

His décor is basically black and white, with a few blue highlights. So I decided to try and do something similar. Not knowing the exact colour of blue meant a bit of a guesswork was needed.

I decided on a design that is a little geometric to also match what I think is his style, plus it wasn’t to challenging.

But, as usual, it didn’t all go as planned.

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Full Fuse for Dots

Fused Glass Dots

My apologies, again, I forgot to take an ‘after’ photo of the firing, but you should get the idea from my comments.

This firing was just to create a stack of clear and black dots, as well as rescue a few that didn’t work in a previous firing.

My plan for the dots is to use them in other items as decoration. Clear dots on a colour, when fully fused, give the appearance of a hole in the item. Many together give a sort of honeycomb appearance. The black dots will make great decoration as well, resulting in a nice defined point of reference for the eye. Mind you, being really new at this I can imagine a lot more uses and I am keen to experiment with these.

Anyway, on with the firing.

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Clear Capped Cabochons

Clear Capped Cabochons

In this firing I tried making cabochons with three layers of glass. This probably is a more normal method, capping with clear glass, so I expected this to work well and with few issues. As usual, I added a few other bits to see what happened.

This probably going to be my approach always; adding extra bits to fill in space and for testing. Making good use of the space in a kiln is surely much more economical and a good practice to adopt, but thinking of what to include does take a bit of thought.

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Test Cabochons and More

Test Cabochons

This full fuse firing was all about testing a few ideas to make glass cabochons for jewellery. You will notice in the ‘Before’ photo that the items are placed on separate pieces of BullsEye Thinfire kiln shelf paper. For no specific reason other than to use up the paper offcuts.

All glass is BullsEye COE 90. Most glass is 3mm, but there were a few 2mm pieces in some stacks. Everything was fired to a full fuse. The Firing Schedule I used is shown below.

Before Firing

On the top piece you can see two thin test pieces on the left. These are black with iridised clear on top. On one piece the iridised surface is down, on the other it is up.

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First Attempt at a Fused Glass Clock

Clock Face

This was my first attempt at a fused glass clock face, but it was a bit of a disaster from the beginning. However, there are a few lessons to be learnt here.

First one is to take better photos. The one and only photo I have is by my iPhone and it isn’t great, but you should get the idea. Taking photos is a fantastic way of documenting your efforts, successes and failures. Combine this with details of the design, materials used, firing schedule and results and you have a great log for future reference. I just have to follow my own advice:)

The concept was a black and white clock face with a city skyline in silhouette. The black and white I felt would give a nice clean and simple feel that could fit into any décor.

All glass is BullsEye COE 90. The base is a circle of 3mm black, on this is a smaller circle of 3mm white. Sadly, when cutting the large black circle a small piece broke off, as can be seen in the photo. At the time of firing I put this piece back in place.

Around the edge on the black glass I used white stringers to mark the hours. On the white glass I used black stringers to frame the outline of the city buildings, then filled in the area below with black glass frit (ground glass).

This was then fired to a full fuse in the kiln. I won’t provide the firing schedule as it wasn’t that successful.

So what was the result?

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First Glass Fusing for a Puddle

Fused Glass Cabochons

This was a milestone – my very first glass fuse firing.

What’s a glass puddle? Well, I didn’t have the faintest when I first heard the term. It is basically a technique for creating jewellery cabochons.

The idea is to layer up a number of pieces of art glass in complimenting colours, then full fuse that together into a puddle. The glass completely fuses down and melts together into what is literally a puddle of glass.

You then break that up, and that is a challenge, into small pieces, set them on edge and again fire to a full fuse. Other than deciding what colour glass to use and how to layer it up, there is not a lot of control over the final result. I suppose it was this that attracted me to the idea; the mystery of the final result.

So how did it all go?

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