I have to admit that my first instinct to using a new tool is fear. I read many blogs and articles and Facebook entries of artists doing something new for the first time and never hear even a hint in their words of fear which makes me quite jealous. But in my defense, I have been trying to push myself to accept my fears, and then move beyond them and be willing to give everything a try.
Over a year ago we had bought a sandblaster and while I really wanted to use it, it seemed overwhelming to figure out all the things I needed to be able to do it correctly. I kept reading articles searching for the perfect answer, but then would get more overwhelmed and would once again put it on the back burner. Luckily, two recent events removed the hurdles and propelled me forward.
First I read a post of another glass artist (Jill Matthew Glass) who had used a sandblaster and I got up the courage to ask some questions. She told me which blast material and grade she used which had long been a confusion for me. And second at the recent Glass Expo, I was talking to different vendors, and one vendor asked me what now seems like a simple question: Was I going to etch the glass or just blast away to get a smooth surface for refiring? Since my primary goal was the latter, I actually learned that the nozzle I owned was exactly what I needed.
Much of what I had found on the net was aimed at people who planned to etch into glass which has finer requirements. For those of us just wanting to blast away the glass to get a new surface for re-firing, I needed 120 grit Aluminum Oxide with a wide ceramic nozzle to blast away a large area at one time. Most blast cabinets like mine from Harbor Freight Tools automatically come with a wide nozzle on the blast gun. With my husband’s help, we put the cabinet on a cart so it could be portable, connected up the air compressor and a vacuum with a high filter bad and I was set to go. I have no idea why I was afraid as it is so very simple to do and has exactly the results I needed.
I got so inspired when sandblasting the other day that I resurrected many personally deemed failed projects, sandblasted each of them and will now try to make them successes by re-firing or perhaps adding to another piece. Below is one such piece.
Now I am starting to get the itch to try etching glass! Have you tried this? Do you think it is just as easy?