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.