Thursday, May 23, 2013

Glass Clay Challenges

Waiting for biscuits and gravy to arrive and coffee to kick-in at Radial Cafe listening to "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge with Dave. Had two late nights in the studio in a row working on book project redos and an order whose due date I screwed up, and I am pooped! It doesn't help that it's finally gotten hot here and I am too cheap to run the air conditioning in the studio at night when it's just me. Even with the fans on it was 80 degrees the night night before last in the studio (how did that happen? Lots of incandescent work lights I guess...) and humid.

Yesterday was day one of the outside studio clean-up, and Becky H. came over to help clean out the second hot-shop which is now officially the ceramic and casting studio. Bella--the deep, shiny new dual media kiln--and Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee--the two big, round Jen-Kens I got from Sara and David--are set-up and waiting for Brian the electrician to wire them up this week. We'll be up and running by summer. Well, Becky and Danny will be running--J and I will be in Montana and doing our ceramics there. All that's left to do is install water. I'm thinking a big plastic laundry tub with a garden hose attached to it (we won't use it in the winter and can drain the hose out).

 But it's not time to talk about (or even think about) ceramics yet--this is still Glass Incarnate. On the glass front, yesterday I solved what had been previously an insurmountable problem with the colors in glass clay being dulled by the CMC. Of course it requires a tiny rewrite of the ceramic section of the book, but nothing that should put anyone out. And on the subject of the glass clay, I did a cool piece that's a solid cast face with a clay and fused glass shard mask on it.  The face has several areas of flashing on it from the old plaster mold cracking during firing which--in conjunction with the mask--evokes the image of a scarred super-hero.

I also slumped my first coiled glass clay piece last night. I fuse-fired that piece a few times with undesirable results up until Monday night when I put it in with one of my normal full-fuse loads. Originally you could see all the details in the individual coils, but they shrank and pulled apart leaving holes on the first firing, and the colors were dull even after the second firing (done to patch the holes with more clay). I knew if I did a higher-temp fuse-fire on it I would lose all the detail of the coils so I brushed some black powder into the crevices between the coils to preserve the design, and then I covered the whole thing with clear powder to prevent devitrification. Both techniques worked, and I got bright, shiny color in the final piece! Now we'll see how it slumps.

Now it's time to head off to the studio to change the thermocouple in the glass furnace and to measure space for a new (replacement) medium-sized kiln.

1 comment:

Bill said...

I commiserate. Thanks for sharing...