Archive for January, 2014

Two years ago, I did a lot with Mica powder as I really wanted to use it to create ginkgo leaf impressions on glass.  I had some success, but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped and as typical for me this meant sending the process to the back burner to play with again in the future.

This past December I decided to create ornaments for my yoga instructors placing a simple yoga symbol in mica so I was back to figuring the process out.  I had recently read Bridget Stiverson’s blog and she explained that rather than painting or stamping on the mica, she sifted it onto the glass and her pictures looked great.  So I did my typical test and decided to paint one and sift one.  While the painted one is not bad and could have an application depending on your goal, the sifted one is far more simple and elegant and was perfect for my ornament application.

Mica Painted on Glass and then Fused

Mica Painted on Glass and then Fused

Mica Sifted onto Glass and then Fused

Mica Sifted on Glass and then Fused

Bridget used a stamp to stamp the image on the glass first and then dusted the mica over the stamped area.  I didn’t have a stamp for the yoga symbol so I made a template out of cardboard.

For the painted method, I mixed the mica with Bullseye GlasTac and then painted that inside the template.

For the sifted method, again using the template I painted just the Bullseye GlasTac on the glass and then dusted the mica over the glue.

Key lesson learned:  If you work with glass, I am sure you have heard many times to wear a face mask when working with glass powder/frit.  But don’t forget to use it with mica as well.  I had mica dust all over the place as it is so fine it just floats in the air.  I did try to collect the extra mica after sifting to use in another application, but I know I lost a lot to the air!

Enjoy and Namaste!

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and did not allow yourself to get caught up in the holiday rat race. Every year I promise myself that I will do less at the holidays and alas I still have not succeeded in having a stress free and relaxing holiday season.   I had even hoped to create a custom picture of my glass with a cool Holiday or New Year’s message.  Maybe next year.

I did spend a lot of time in the glass shop in December making some custom orders, trying smaller items like wine stoppers and money clips for sale in the Mountain View General Store, as well as making some Christmas presents.  One of the items involved using my version of the crackle glass technique for which I am still attempting to figure out all the nuances.  So I thought I would share some of my additional lessons learned.

A friend requested a custom purple crackle bowl with a green or yellow background.  My first attempt was with a transparent purple as it has a rich deep purple look.  But then when I paired it with a spring green background glass it came through the purple color and made it look black/brown and wasn’t the look we wanted.  So I got some opalescent gold purple and tried again.  This was much better.

Green and Purple Crackle Bowl

Green and Purple Crackle Bowl

But we decided we wanted more green and so I combined an adventurine green color for the bowl.  I ended up making two as unfortunately the first one had a small hairline crack along the top edge after slumping.  We reversed the colors as well.

Purple and Green Crackle Bowl

Purple and Green Crackle Bowl

Here are four lessons learned:

  • Based on your color choices and the look you want, you need to be careful and pick the right transparent or opalescent color glass powders.
  • You also need to check the Bullseye Reactive Glass charts because I didn’t realize that initially I had chosen reactive colors and so had to add an extra 2mm sheet of clear between my crackle powder sheet and my background glass.  Hence why I think I got the crack because I didn’t anneal it long enough for the extra thickness.
  • When looking at the final product (especially in pictures), I don’t seem to get an even amount of powder for the crackle.  Assuming the look you want is consistency, try to lay out an even amount and thick amount of powder.
  • The adventurine green color does really well with the crackle effect.  I was amazed at how cool it looked.

Now I am working with grey and black glass powders and trying to get a shadow of black peaking around the edges of the grey.  I wanted to make this into a 2″ deep bowl and have the design two-sided so you could have a different look inside and outside.  My original thought was to separate the layers of crackle glass with a sheet of white.  But when I did my test sheet using white glass on the powder rather than clear glass, I noticed the crackle effect was much different with white as the background.  Then I remembered that white glass is very stiff and does not flow as well and I think it stifled the crackle somewhat.

Next lesson learned:

  • For a better crackle look, use as your first base sheet a color of glass that flows well.

So I did another test piece with clear glass on the powder and figured I could add the white as a next step.  This time I laid one half with grey and the other half with black and then added another layer of powder on top laying grey on top of black and black on top of grey and capped with clear.  I wanted to see if the grey would peek out around the black like the black peaks out around the grey.  This worked okay, but the black is so dominant that the grey did not peek out around it.

Last lesson learned:

  • Don’t hesitate to layer different colors.  It has a nice shadow effect as long as the color on top is a heavy powder layer of a lighter opalescent color.

So my third attempt was to add a layer of grey powder, then black powder and finally grey powder again capped with clear glass.  This worked quite well (see the right sample in both pictures below).  Now I think I am ready to try my bowl.

Grey and Black Crackle Tiles - Side 1 (Try 1, 2 and 3 in order)

Grey and Black Crackle Tiles – Side 1 (Try 1, 2 and 3 in order)

Grey and Black Crackle Tiles - Side 2 (Try 1, 2 and 3 in order)

Grey and Black Crackle Tiles – Side 2 (Try 1, 2 and 3 in order)

Stay tuned for final pictures of this bowl.

Happy 2014!  And I hope all of your projects whether they be glass or otherwise are productive, full of learning and downright fun!

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