Monday, August 14, 2006

The Antipenultimate Week in August Begins

There is no coffee yet, but I just heard the sweet, sweet sound of grinding beans so I do not have long to wait. The music of the morning is the sound of spaniel slurping water and munching chow. Baxter is a noisy eater.

The weekend was good. I worked in the studio all day Saturday except for a brief hiatus to see a matinee of Superman with Dave and J. Sunday I didn't do anything Siyeh-Studio-related until 9:00 pm when I worked out my firing schedule for the week. Instead, I posted on Stranded in the South (and I have decided to post there regularly on Saturday and Sunday as I have begun to chafe at the self-imposed rule of posting here only Mon-Fri). Oh yes, and Dave and I girded our loins donned mosquito repellent and eye protection and tried to rid the backyard of long grass and weeds. Dave did get the lawn cut, I was unsuccessful in the attack on the weeds: first the weed whacker ran out of nylon whacking line, then a gallon of Round-Up was not enough to cover everything I had been unable to cut. This problem is going to have to wait for another week.

Saturday I fired the clock and the base for the lace lamp (ala Cailleach's Cradle) and cast a glow-in-the-dark starfish and a tropical fish in the commercial casting molds I bought. I haven't done the curing fire for the mold I made from Best Mix so I haven't cast in it yet. Though I was pleasantly surprised with the way the surface texture on it turned out. I had been concerned about big floaty chunks in the mix interfering with the detail of the cast object. But when I unmolded the butterfly I cast, the surface was perfect. In the places where the Best Mix had been against glass (the base) it was a smooth and shiny as the glass itself--the smaller particles in the mix filled in around the larger chunks for a perfectly detailed finish. There might be a few tiny air-bubbles, but that would be my fault as I didn't have a vibrating plate to jiggle the bubbles out as the mix set.

But enough on past accomplishments. Can't rest on my laurels, I have other glass to fry. Ikebana starts up again today after a month off for me, and is going to take a two-hour chunk out of a very full day. I have to cut, grind and slump all (prep all, slump most of) the pieces I fused last week for the two gallery orders scheduled to ship Wednesday. I am ready to paint the platinum design on the necklace and fire it, and I *still* have the table and the garden stake to design.

One sad casualty of the weekend was the box I cast. I am just too damn impatient. When I took it out of the kiln I started cold-working it immediately. Yeah it was room temperature (more or less) and I used hot water to wash it and on the lap grinder, but that wasn't enough and I cracked it. I probably wouldn't have been able to use it anyway--I lost 50% of the volume so it was a pretty short box and the coloration was not so hot as I had had an accident while filling the mold and ended up with the colors way more mixed than I planned (and maybe a bit of kiln wash in it too). But I am undaunted and have another attempt to try later this week. The good news is that my engineering theory worked and the shape held perfectly and I was able to unmold it easily. Whoo hoo! But I may tweak my annealing schedule just a bit in case the cracking was caused by residual stress in the glass and not just impatience.


Bill Paley said...

Patience is a virtue.

Barbara Muth said...

Brenda, what Bill said. A friend who casts regularly says she never ever coldworks until at least 24 hours after removing the piece from the kiln.

Brenda Griffith said...

Yup. It really does look like it was impatience instead of annealing. Today I tried to push hard on it and make the crack finish running across so the piece would split in two, and I couldn't get it to go.