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Archive for April, 2014

In my Las Vegas class with Roz Stanton and Debbie Patana we used several different products to experience ways to add dimension to our glass art.  One of these products was glass paint and MUD from Unique Glass Colors.   This was a product I had bought several years ago and had dabbled with but not explored to its full extent so it was great to have a nice introduction.

They have several unique products with which I wanted to play, their bubble paint and their MUD.  So I decided to make a water scene with a seahorse to make use of these products.  We each were given 2 sheets of clear glass to create our projects.

Let’s start with the MUD.  According to Unique Glass Colors website, MUD is a glass based texture medium.  It dries hard after applying and is three dimensional-like so it is great for outlines and items you want to stand out.   I decided to use this to outline my seahorse and also for the coral.  To apply the MUD, you can use a brush, stick, palette knife or cake decorating set which is what we used in the class.  You can use the MUD as already mixed and we just scooped it into the pastry bag, applied a tip and squeezed it right onto the glass.   This piece of glass with the seahorse and coral will be my top piece of glass.

Tip: The MUD dries very quickly so make sure to store your pastry bag and tip in a plastic storage bag with a damp sponge in between uses during your project.

For the UCG paints, they come in powder form and we mixed each color we wanted to use in a little plastic cup using equal amounts of powder with the UCG Medium. The goal is a consistency of melted ice cream.

It might sound strange to want to add bubbles to your fused glass as so many of us spend a lot of time learning the perfect firing schedules to get as few bubbles as possible and here we are adding bubbles, but bubbles can add dimension and realism to a scene.  But the bubble paint needs to be capped with another sheet of glass for the bubbles to manifest, so I took my second sheet of clear and painted my background scene using Royal Blue, Teal Green and Teal Blue.  Each bubble paint color has unique properties and some colors produce larger bubbles and some smaller bubbles, so it will be good to explore these colors when I have time to learn more about their differences.  In my final piece, it appears that the Royal Blue and Teal Green produced the larger bubbles and the Teal Blue was more consistent with smaller bubbles. Nice!

It was suggested that we explore adding paint on all four sides of the glass so I decided to paint in the seahorse on the bottom of the glass sheet where I painted its outline.   I elevated the glass sheet on some upside down plastic cups so I could paint on the bottom without disturbing what I had already done on the top side.  This time I used some of the non-bubble producing paint colors and painted the seahorse using flesh and mint green colors.  I didn’t take into consideration that 1) the bubbles might come through from the base glass and 2) that my colors from the base and the seahorse would mix, so the seahorse colors changed and he ended up bubbly.  Unintentional, but not bad.

Project Before Firing Painted using UCG Paints ad MUD

Project Before Firing, Painted using UCG Paints ad MUD

Last, after I put the two sheets of glass together, the scene was a little boring, so I added some tan and warm brown paint on the top sheet to add some sand texture.  And then I added some gold dots on the coral.  The gold is actually pre-mixed and I just dabbed a toothpick in the paint to apply to the coral.

The paint requires a typical high firing schedule, and so I fired my piece to 1460 degrees.

Fused Glass Tile after Firing, Painted using UCG Paints ad MUD

Fused Glass Tile after Firing, Painted using UCG Paints ad MUD

A few lessons learned here:

  1. If there is paint on the bottom of your glass it will stick to your prepared kiln shelf and is much harder to remove later from your glass than kiln wash.  So either make sure your bottom sheet of glass has no paint on it, or use shelf paper under your glass when firing.
  2. Don’t be fooled by the unfired colors.  You can see in my before and after pictures that the before colors did not resemble at all the after colors.  This concerned a few of the other students at first as they had thought they didn’t mix the color they really wanted.  It does make it a little hard to visually feel your piece before you fire, but the after colors are so rich and vibrant.
  3. The directions indicate it is best not to paint this on your glass with a paint brush but to rather apply it with something like a popsicle stick and sort of puddle it on as you want a fairly thick layer and no streaks.  I actually did use my brush and it worked fine.  Something to also test more later.
  4. Last, the direction state to use a stainless steel cake tip for the MUD.  I assume it has something to do with chemical reactions.  One of the reasons I had not used my own MUD before the class was because I had a hard time finding stainless steel tips.  I asked about this in class and was told it didn’t really make a difference and I have to admit that I didn’t see any issue after firing knowing that I had not used a stainless steel tip.  So again, something to test.

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Last week was my fourth year attending the annual Glass Craft and Bead Show in Las Vegas.  I love meeting the vendors, asking questions, and learning valuable information.  I am not ready to buy a new kiln yet, but I was definitely in shopping mode!

For the first time, I decided to take a class at the show and as long as I was springing, I wanted the best.  I anxiously waited for registration to open and got my first choice, a 4-day class taught by Roz Stanton and Debbie Patana called Mastering Art with Glass.  The class was wonderful as we learned so many different techniques and got to try different products.  It was funny that some of the products many of us had bought in the past either at the show or through an online vendor, but then for whatever reason had not used.  So it was great to have an easy introduction to these products.

The key pieces we made were three 18″ circles which I will share mine here.  My favorite is Ellie, the elephant.   Each involved a different process and tools.

Ellie, the Elephant

Ellie, the Elephant

I did learn that underneath I am still an engineer always planning and utilizing lines and much of the design work in class was fast and free-flowing.  So I didn’t feel as creative as some of the other students, but I enjoyed watching them work hoping that some of Roz’s and Debbie’s and the other student’s ease of flow would wear off on me!

Dancing in the Serengeti

Dancing in the Serengeti

Over the next several blogs I will share some of the products/tools we played with in class as perhaps you will like to try these products as well.  And if you ever get the opportunity to take a class from Roz and Debbie, I know you will enjoy yourself immensely.

Sunset on the Beach

Sunset on the Beach

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