Saturday, January 9, 2016

Making a Stained Glass window......almost finished

Remember the window I started on back in October ---- then go side tracked?

Well, I started working on it again and I am almost finished!  It should be completed by next Friday.  Then I will have to figure out how to install it.

Of course, I only work on it on Fridays -- and only for 3 hours, too.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Zentangle Birds

My latest creation: Zerds
 That is Zentangle Birds!

This is truly a work in progress, but I want to share the progress with you.

To start, I drew some Zentangle designs and took them to the sign maker to have a silk screen burned.  Unfortunately, I had purchased a size 110 mesh screen.  You will see why this is unfortunate in a minute.

It had been a while since I had done any silk screening, so I had to practice with the set up and squeegee methods. Then I had to practice mixing the paint (enamel powder and squeegee oil) to the right consistency.  Needless to say, I made a mess.  I didn't photo this process because there was paint everywhere and I didn't want to contaminate my phone!  It took several tries, but I was finally ready to print the glass.

The first attempt ended up in a washout.  Literally, I washed the paint off the glass.  Same  procedure followed for the next two printings.  I finally got something I felt I could go with.  So I printed a 12x12 piece of Spectrum 96 white glass and a smaller piece of yellow glass.  The lines in Zentangle are fine, but the mesh was not, so the prints came out pretty heavy.  The designs were recognizable, but not fine.  Still no photos -- sorry.

I fired the first printing and it was a further disaster.  Because I was using high-temp enamel paint, I fired on a full fuse (1450).  The single sheet of glass bubbled up pretty badly.  Oops!  I did get some workable glass out of it though. 

With this glass, I created the Zerd below.
This piece was OK, but the paint looks muddled to me.  The tail, wing, beak, and feet are out of dichroic glass.  I think the tail is off and would look better placed closer to the body.  Since this bird is made of a single glass base, I fired it on a contour fire which gives the layered dichroic glass some dimension.  I am trying to become a fan of dichroic glass, but I am reluctant.  I like bright colors better than shiny colors.

Here is the second piece I did.

Pretty bad.  I was also experimenting with a few other techniques with this creation so they added to the "badness".  First off, I tried doubling all the glass to make a sturdier sculpture.  I tried to do all of this in one firing.  Mistake #1.  When you fire glass to a full fuse, the glass pieces literally melt into each other and fuse completely to become one piece of glass.  This makes the whole piece flat and very glossy.  The glossy, I like.  The flat, I don't.
Further more, some of the glass pieces shifted during firing.  Notice the left leg.  I placed a copper rod between the two pieces of the legs for mounting and to add rigidity.  The glass slipped and the rod is exposed.  The tail pieces shifted as well.   See the yellow dot on top of the right wing?  That dot was placed at the base of the tail. 
However, the most disappointing aspect of this piece is the way the paint lost its definition.  As the glass spreads when hot to about a 1/4 in. thickness, the design also spread.
Back to the drawing board.

I have since redrawn the Zentangle masters into the shape of birds and will have a new screen made using 160 mesh screen.  This will keep the paint from being screened too heavily onto the glass, thus ending up with a clear piece of tangled fused glass. 
Stay tuned for the outcome.

Mosaic fish

First off, Happy New Year to all of you!  May your 2016 be the best year you've had thus far.

As I said, I really enjoy working with mosaics.  

I am working on a wall sculpture that will consist of 10-12 fish swimming in a school.  The fish are about 10" long and 6" tall.  

Right now, I am still experimenting with the technique and look.   Thus far, I have created 3 fish using slightly different techniques, combinations, and firing schedules.  However, they all look similar.  Since they will be placed on a wall approximately 10' up the wall, the difference won't be readily noticed.

I started out with a basic shape fish in clear glass, then I placed randomly cut sized and shaped pieces of transparent glass on the fish form.  I am using an Ombre color scheme going from blue to green with a few pieces of clear irid glass in the middle.

I start out gluing the mosaic pieces to the form, then tac fire to set the pieces.  After that, I will grout, embellish (I used red glass circles or frit) and fire again to a tac fuse so the fish would have some texture giving them some dimension.  I also used some 1/8" fiber paper to give the fish some contour.  

This is what I have so far.  I am still experimenting, but will post as I go along until the piece is finished.

Fish #2.  Hopefully you can see the contouring in these photos.  However, I fired this fish to a full fuse which took away the textured finish.  I used transparent red frit on this fish.  Not my favorite treatment.

Fish #3 going into the kiln for the 2nd firing and after firing.  I created glass dots out of a deep red opaque glass.  

You can see the difference here where I used a tac fuse.  The glass pieces stand out.

 I have placed these 3 fish on the wall to get a perspective.

Fish #1 on the far right has glass dots in a cherry red.  Too bright!  I like the deeper red dots.  I will probably make most of the fish like fish #3, but will copy fish #1 and 2 at least once more to give the school continuity.  Either that, or I will eliminate them all together.

However, I may not be through experimenting either!