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Archive for June, 2018

I am a member of a Co-op Art Gallery, Backstreet Gallery.  Every year we do a community challenge to give the local artists a chance to branch out of their artistic comfort zone and try something new and then display/sell their artwork at our gallery.   This summer’s challenge was ‘Bots and Beguiling Beings.  I immediately thought of robots and trying to make them stand-up on their own weight. 

Lucy and Leonid, Fused Glass Robots

I did a sample test first with clear glass, two feet and a rectangle above connecting them with 14g copper wire and it worked great.

I had saved some leftover house copper wiring scraps when we were doing house projects and therefore had scraps of 12g and 14g as well as a spool of 18g and 24g from jewelry projects. The copper wire will come out of the kiln after firing with scale on it and you will need to sand it off unless you like that look. 

I cut 3” lengths for the legs and arms, and then 2.5” for the neck and ears. I used mostly the 14g scraps and then 24g for Lucy’s hair. In hindsight, I had intended to twist the necks but then decided not to, so I would make the necks slightly shorter. The glass should fuse right around the wire at a full fuse, but to make it nicer looking, I used a hydraulic press to flatten the ends of the wire first before sandwiching between the two layers of glass.  You can also accomplish this with a hammer.

I read that the best way to clean the wire before fusing was salt and vinegar, so I made a small bath and soaked the wire before fusing.

I first fused those pieces of glass that I wanted to fully fuse with the copper, so the head, body and feet.  I then tack fused the extra’s like eyes, mouth, buttons, lace, shoe strings and bows for Lucy.

The hardest part was probably sanding the copper wire after firing using 220 grit sandpaper. I was just a little paranoid that I would break the glass as I sanded, but I sanded while the piece was still lying flat on my work surface to make it easier.

To stand Lucy and Leonid up, I used a piece of 3/4” pvc pipe to curve the legs and adjusted them a little until they were self-supporting.

I didn’t want people poking themselves on Lucy’s hair, so I used a propane flame to round their ends. If you hold the tip of the copper wire in a flame it will ball up into a tiny bead. Then I twirled the wire around a thin metal stick to curl it.

I found some matching glass beads for their hands and added them to the arm wires.  It took me awhile to figure out how to decorate Leonid’s ears and head. I finally decided that coils of copper would be right.

I had a lot of fun making Lucy and Leonid.  Hope you enjoy them and try something new yourself this summer!

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