Archive for September, 2012

I have been selling my glass art on Etsy for a little over a year now.  I have read many other glass artists talk about how they are more successful selling their products at craft shows, but I have not plunged into that arena yet.

My glass art though will take it first plunge in October by participating in an event in Coos Bay, Oregon called ZombieFest.  Thanks to the wonderful members of the Etsy O.C.E.A.N. team, several of them will be manning the booth, running a treasure hunt through our Etsy listings with gift certificate awards for the winners, and handing out business cards for potential future sales.

I am starting off small.  My offerings include magnets, barrettes and pendants.

Fused Glass Art pieces ready to send to Craft Show

I have been warned that this show is perhaps not the best show for selling things as ZombieFest is more about the music, food, contests and fun.  However, people will be wandering by, seeing our names, and learning about our Etsy sites.   I will be excited if even just one item sells, especially a Zombie Eyes magnet!

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I love sharing my passion for fused glass with others and quite often offer family and friends the opportunity to come over and make their own glass plate.  The visit usually starts with their being completely overwhelmed at the breadth of what they can actually use and make.  However once they stop thinking and start to work with the pieces of glass, their creative juices flow and they begin to design.

Here are pictures of their wonderful creations!

Jack’s Creation

Carol’s Masterpiece

Jan’s Beautiful Ocean Life

Gary’s Eye Catching Abstract

Elecia’s Serene Abstract

Sally’s Willy The Whale – Too Cute!

Nancy’s Elegant Platter

I need to apologize to those of you whose pieces I forgot to take a picture and hence could not include here.  But looking forward to having more friends and family venture into the world of my passion!

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The Stickiness of Adhesives

Let me start by saying that all the products I am going to discuss are great products and also that your experience may vary with mine.  However, I have had such a hard time with trying to find the right adhesives/epoxy for my products, that I wanted to share in case you are having similar issues.

I dabble a little in making fused glass pendants, barrettes and magnets.  Each of these require a non-glass piece (finding) to be glued to the glass to finalize the product.   My initial attempt was using E-6000 adhesive and I was discovering that I could easily pull the finding off of the glass after it was supposed to have cured.  I posted to a few glass forums and was giving some tips not about the glue, but about the preparation.  I will add here as they are great tips no matter which glue/epoxy you use:

  1. Make sure you roughen up the surface of both sides to be stuck, meaning both the glass and the finding.  I use like 220 grit sandpaper.
  2. Then clean all of the surfaces with acetone to remove any dirt and oils which would prevent a good adhesion.
  3. This one goes without saying, but make sure to follow the instructions on each adhesive exactly both for measurements and cure times as this is the only way to ensure it is working correctly.
  4. I added this item, but make sure you wear a face mask and have good ventilation.  I have found that most of these adhesives have a very strong odor and can easily give you a headache and I assume this means they are generally not good for you to breathe.  So be careful.

Next before I forget, let me also thank all of my testers here as since I am so nervous about selling something that might not hold up, I have had family and friends wear my pendants and barrettes giving me feedback if the findings popped off.  And I myself also put each piece through a rigorous test by trying to pull off each finding after it is cured – and I try pretty hard.  Perhaps I am putting them to a more rigorous test than is normal wear and tear, but I like to be safe!

Picture of some Recent Barrettes and Pendants Heading off to a Craft Fair

Okay, now for the results of many, many tests:

1) E-6000 adhesive works best for my barrettes and pendants with 2 recommendations.  First, you should buy the small tube and after 6 months pitch that tube and start another as while it doesn’t explicitly state it loses its effectively, I think it does.  Second, after letting it cure a day, the put the pieces on a cookie sheet in your oven, set the oven for 200 degrees and let it stay at 200 degrees about 30 minutes.  I then leave the pieces in the oven until it completely cools down.  This step seems essential and it works great!

2) Triolyse adhesive has become my favorite for the magnets.  It applies easily and sets up and holds quite well for the magnets.  And I don’t need to use the oven trick which is good since I have no idea how the magnets themselves would work in the oven.  But personally, I have just not been successful using this for my pendants and barrettes as with some effort, I can pop off the findings in over half the cases.

3) I am pretty sure that epoxies are supposed to be the most durable and so I recently tried one.  It was easy to mix and use, but after the recommended cure time, I was easily able to pull the finding off both a pendant and a barrette.  I should probably give this a second chance and hence why I am not saying which one I used, but for now it is not on the top of my list for sticking my findings!

One last thing regarding removal of the adhesives.  I have found that with all three adhesives above, acetone works the best at removing any residual adhesive.  Even to remove the magnet from the back of a piece of glass, I soaked it for 15 minutes and then used a razor blade to slowly pry up the magnet and clean up the glass.

If you have any favorite adhesives that you have discovered work the best for you, please share.  🙂  Thanks.

NOTE: I learn much of what I know from reading other websites, classes and blogs and hence, I haven’t really invented anything new here.  But I am sharing what I found to work and not work.  If you have found other ways to do something similar to this, please share! 

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I have wanted to make a large bowl for a very long time.  I thought I could do it, but the more I read, the more I was hesitant to try.

I am by nature an analyzer.  This means I like to read everything I can about something before jumping in.   You could argue that thinking provides data.  On the flip side, too much data can be paralyzing and make you think perhaps you can’t.   And so was my internal debate with making my first large fused glass bowl using a large bowl mold (the Kentucky Mold from Blue Fire Molds) which I bought at last year’s Glass Conference in Las Vegas.  Five months later, I finally decided to take the plunge.

My first challenge was to make a large 12-1/2 inch fused glass flat plate and well, my first attempt cracked which I lamented in last week’s blog.  I decided to go simpler with my second attempt and I made sure to follow good annealing practices!   The mold itself is 12-3/8 inches and I was told by Blue Fire that it would be best to have my glass plate slightly larger than the size of the rim of the bowl.   My second attempt worked great.

Fused Glass Flat Plate on Top of Mold in Kiln

The most challenging part of a large bowl is the slumping process* because it is very easy to have it slump lopsided as I have read many complain about in the fused glass forums.  There are plenty of great recommendations available ranging from:

  1. Ramping the temperature very slowly (50 degrees per hour) from 1050 degrees F to 1225 degrees F,
  2. Fusing the bowl in multiple steps by starting with a very shallow mold and then going deeper with each subsequent slump,
  3. Using a donut mold on top of the bowl mold so you end up with a lip and then you can cut off the lip and polish the edges.

All excellent suggestions.  If I had a shallow bowl mold, I think I would have started with option 2 above, but since I don’t, and option 3 sounds like a lot of work, I opted for option 1 and took it very slowly. I checked regularly starting at 1050 degrees to see how it was slumping and I was amazed when it appeared done at 1130 degrees F.  It is very hard to get a good look inside the mold at such high temperatures to tell if the bottom of your glass is flat and laying on the bottom of the mold, but it looked good, so I moved the kiln program forward to the annealing process.

I could not wait for it to cool and I could take the bowl out of the mold.  It worked!  I will have to admit that I am feeling pretty lucky.  I think having the edge already a little wavy helped.   And I am also hoping to buy a shallow bowl mold and try the multi-step process in the future.

I love the look of the large bowl where you can see the light through it and the sun casts the colors onto the table.  Well worth the plunge!

Large Fused Glass Bowl with White Swirl and Red and Black Accents (available in my Etsy Store)

* A quick definition of slumping is to fire glass at a lower temperature than fusing temperature, and allow the glass to conform to the shape of a mold (typically ceramic or stainless steel).

NOTE: I learn much of what I know from reading other websites, classes and blogs and hence, I haven’t really invented anything new here.  But I am sharing what I found to work and not work.  If you have found other ways to do something similar to this, please share! 

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I know I have blogged on this topic before, but since I didn’t learn my lesson the first time, I thought I would blog again to help others ensure they learn faster than I seem to have. Check out my beautiful masterpiece with a nice big crack down it!

Red Cracked Plate from Not Annealing Properly

What is annealing?  It is a very important step after taking your piece to its full fusing temperature and are then cooling it down, whereby “the stress in the glass is relieved and the molecules in the glass are allowed to cool and arrange themselves into a solid, stable form.”  (from the Warm Glass website)

The layout of this piece is basically a 3mm clear circle for the base. Then I added two pieces of 3mm white on the sides and black and red pieces in the center.  Course frit fills in the gaps.  Here is the tricky part – I added on top of the white extra pieces of black and red making this area 9mm thick and a red wavy rod spanning across the top which by itself is about 5mm thick.

Here is the key sentence from the Bullseye Annealing Chart: “If the piece is not set up in such a fashion that it can cool equally from top and bottom or is anything besides a flat slab of uniform thickness, select an annealing cycle for a piece that is twice the thickness of the thickest area of the piece.”

So, if I add up my thickest part, it is 11-12 mm thick and then double it to 24mm.  The chart indicates I should have annealed this for 4 hours instead of the 2 hours I did.

This piece cracked when it was almost finished cooling (like 100 degrees F), however I had another similar piece that did not crack until I put it back in the kiln to slump and it cracked when it was heating up reaching about 400 degrees F.  Stress fractures don’t always make themselves apparent right away and I have read that they can even manifest themselves with cracks often months later.

As far as I can tell from the data, it does not hurt to over anneal your glass art, so play it safe and make sure you anneal your piece for long enough to not have a similar problem.

Okay, so what to do with a rather large, 12.5″, cracked glass art?  A friend suggested I display just half of it.

Glass Art?

Perhaps because I am well aware its goal, it looks like half the art.  But maybe not.  What do you think?

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