I’ve been doing a little playing with glass while taking a screen printing on glass class with Louise Krampien at the Bullseye glass factory. For me, the Bullseye glass factory in Portland, Oregon is my glass Mecca. Sure, Murano, Italy would be my first choice of a place anywhere in the world to go to see glass being made, as it’s really exciting to watch. However, in Italy they are the masters of blowing glass, not of fusing it in a kiln, maybe because fusing isn’t so much of a spectator sport. Italy is also almost half a world away from my home, and Portland is only a 2 and a half hour flight, so it’s much easier to get to on a regular basis. Besides, in Italy I only get to watch, in Portland I get to play around myself.
So, here we are at the end of the third day of a three and a half days of playing with glass, and what do I have to show for it? Well, much more than I expected, that’s for sure! Not in the amount of work we completed, since we were sent a list of the projects in advance, so that we could prepare images to use in the screen printing process for each project. Rather, I was surprised that so much of the work that I completed was work that I could be proud of showing off. I expected that quite a bit of the results would be “failures” since we were testing out new ways of working with glass that we hadn’t used before, so the results of many of these experiments would be our “learning experiences” rather than results that had turned out particularly well. So I am a little surprised, and very pleased, to see that much of the work I’ve created over the past three days is good quality work.
The images here in this post are a little teaser. I apologize in advance for the quality of these photos – the space wasn’t set up for taking proper photos of glass and there were overhead lights causing reflections on some of the shots. After all of the projects we created while playing with glass get out of the kiln from their last firing tomorrow and I get back home to Sedona, I’ll post separate short blogs about each of the projects, with proper photos – what I liked about each process, what I didn’t, how I might be able to use each process later in my own work, and any other thoughts I might have about each process and the results I achieved. These images I’m showing here and now are the student results from three of the projects that have come out of the kiln in various stages of completion.
The first image above shows our results from our practice in screen printing. On day 1, we practiced screen printing an image onto paper for a while, and once we became proficient with the printing process, we printed directly to a piece of glass. This piece of glass was put into the kiln and fired until the enamels fused to the glass in a process called sintering. On day 2, we put a layer of clear glass on top of the fired image and fired the glass again to a full fuse temperature – that result is the image I’m showing above. Today we put our full fused glass sheets onto a slumping mold so that they’ll form a plate shape as they go through the final process of slump firing.
The second image to the right shows our results from creating a pair of identical images that we screen printed on day 2 onto two identical sheets of whatever color of glass we chose and sinter fired as we did with our practice piece shown above. Today we picked one of our two images to refire after adding a layer of either clear or opaline glass on top. I chose the opaline glass as the top layer for my image because I haven’t worked with that particular glass as a capping layer before and I want to see what it will do on top of such a finely detailed image.
The third image to the left shows our partially finished multi-layered blocks. The finished block will consist of 4 layers of glass. On day 2, we printed a series of three images onto three different layers of glass and sinter fired each of them separately in the kiln. Today, we assembled the three layers of glass into the order we desired, added a clear layer on top, then packed all four layers of glass into dams to keep the glass from spreading out during the full fuse firing, and put the dammed up layers of glass back into the kiln for that full fuse firing. Glass “prefers” to be 6mm thick, so if glass is stacked up thicker than that height and heated to the right temperature for the right amount of time, it will want to spread out in order to return to that 6mm thickness it prefers. The dams will keep the glass from spreading out once the glass heats up to full fuse temperatures.
I hope that you enjoyed this little teaser from my playing with glass over the past few days! I’ll be posting more on each of these projects as they come out of the kiln and I get back home to Sedona where I belong…
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