This week was a banner week for new attempts. I will describe one this week and the other next week after a little more experimentation.
I have seen glass artists attempting various new methods using powders or paints to create patterns and then marrying these with other glass to make a collage of sorts. There look to be many wonderful classes out there teaching how to do this, however right now I am not in a position to go to any of these classes, so I decided to figure out this technique or at least something similar on my own.
I have to admit that my first attempt was actually last year. I used glass paint to create some abstract pictures and then layered the different pieces of glass one on top of another and fired. It came out awful, so awful that I didn’t take a picture and have no idea where the final result is. First, because it was just a test, I started small at 4 inches square and I think I just did too much in such a small space. Second, I should have planned better as the colors didn’t go well together.
For this new attempt, I spent more time planning and thinking about colors and patterns and decided to use powder instead. First I made four part sheets using blues and pinks with different patterns. I was lazy with the patterns as I basically just used what patterns I already had lying around. In the end, I was lucky as they ended up working well together.
My four sheets were made using (you can see them in the picture below):
- Zig zags in Adventurine Blue Transparent (Bullseye 1140-0008)
- Octagons in Egyptian Blue Opal (Bullseye 0164-0008)
- Cherry Blossoms in Sunset Coral Transparent (Bullseye 1305-0008)
- Flowers in Salmon Pink Opal (Bullseye 0305-0008)
A few lessons learned on the part sheets:
- When using powder, you need to use a pretty heavy coat so that it actually shows up on the glass especially if it is a lighter transparent color. Of course, if you are trying to create a shading effect, you would use less in some areas, but for my purposes I tried to make sure I sifted a good thick coat onto the template.
- When using templates, before you begin, figure out how you can remove the template without moving the powder. I forgot on the octagons which was my first of the four and so I had some powder shifting as I tried to remove the template. Therefore, for the next one, I remembered to add some blue tape handles to make it easier to remove the template. You still have to be careful, but less so with handles. See the picture below of my template with handles.
- You will not want to use the edges of the fused part sheet as they will tend to pull in and not be a consistent height of glass since you are fusing a single layer, so make sure you make your part sheet big enough. I wanted all four sheets to fit within one kiln cycle and so made my sheets 6 inches, but this did restrict me later. Side Note: Do not throw the edges away as these would make great pieces for jewelry.
After my part sheets were done, I cut off the edges, picked complementary colors of glass, and began to assemble my masterpiece. Since I wanted to get a dimensional look, I knew I wanted to have multiple layers and to vary in which layers the part sheets were used, so I ended up with 3 layers which meant I needed to damn the piece in the kiln to make sure it didn’t spread off the shelf.
Here is my next lesson learned. I had made my part sheets out of 2mm clear. But most of the rest of the glass I own is 3mm. I did have some pinks and purples in 2mm, but not everything was. So while I tried to keep my layers consistent, there was a little variation in a few places, so I had to fire the piece very slowly, anneal it for a longer time, and then I noticed that the edges of the fired piece was not completely level. So after sanding the edges to make them straight, I am now refiring the piece to a higher temperature hoping it will level out.
My lesson still-needing-to-be-learned has to do with layering the glass using clear in many places. I tried to have as few pieces as possible, but I basically used clear to get the depth perception I wanted but didn’t want to add a piece of colored glass. However, as you can see in the above picture, there are places where you can see the lines between the clear pieces. I was hoping when it fused you would not be able to see these lines, but alas you can see some of them. In many of the places it adds to the color shifts, but I would still prefer to know how to not have these lines show. Something to explore for the future.
Overall, I really like the end result! The colors and patterns worked well together. I might have made it a bit too big, but I was trying not to overlap the patterns too much and it just sort of grew in size. It is 9 inches by 12 inches will make a great centerpiece or serving platter. I may not have made mine like the pros, but I had fun working out the process and got a result I really liked.
I will post a final picture when the completed plate is well – completed.