Saturday, March 1, 2008

Teetering on the Brink

Kiln-worked glass, 7x10 in unmounted
1/4 to 3/8 thickness

Actually, I've been catching up on this weeks' posts all at one go. All week, I've been busy painting, shoveling snow (my PT released me for heavy duty as long as I don't overdo), and trying to figure out which frames to order for which paintings. Oh, yeah, and doing glass.

I have a few small sheets of System 96 glass and some boxes of scrap left over, so I decided to use them up before I start using the boxes of Bullseye I've got waiting for me. They are not compatible for kiln work, so using up the 96 will prevent confusion and ruined pieces. Nothing against 96, I just got a great deal on a load of Bullseye-- and the colors are... mmm.... mmmm.

I decided to use the 96 to make a series of small panels to mount either on a backing for the wall, or set into bases as small scultural pieces. This one is on the whimsical side, and it was a lot of fun to do. Using my scrap box, I cut many small pieces and fit them together in a playful way. Here it is assembled in the kiln for the first firing:

Yeah, all those little pieces are a bear to deal with. There are two layers, some overlapping, some stacked, some little teeny weeny strips layed side by side. I laid it up on a thin piece of clear acrylic, used thinned tack glue to hold it more or less together until I could slide it off onto the kiln shelf. Unfortunately, the design of my kiln does not allow me to simply set the shelf straight down in place, or I'd simply build my designs on the shelf. (I really really want a bigger kiln to play with.)

I programmed the kiln for a tack firing, which would allow the pieces to fuse and the edges to soften, but still retain their shape and texture. The firing took about 13 hours, and then a few more for cool down. I program the kiln to shut off when it drops to 300 degrees and let it cool naturally to room temperature. If I start by noon, it is off by the time I go to bed, and cool by morning, ready for another load.

For the second firing, I added some elements to the base as embellishment and to fill in some bare spots. The second firing is the same as the first, but with a longer hold time as it enters the anneal phase, because it is now thicker in some spots than others.