Tuesday, 20 January 2015

a project in progress :: framed glass pendants

The novelty of getting things in the post has never quite worn off for me, but this week I received a bunch of different findings for a new (to me!) venture in glass - framed fused glass pendants.

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Fused glass pendants can look incredible, but there are a limited range of ways you can turn a piece into a pendant.  You can drill a hole; you can include a void to use for hanging in the design; you can fuse a piece of fibre paper or string carefully positioned to leave a hole you can thread through; or you can glue a bail to the back.

First up - drilling holes!  I've always struggled with drilling holes in glass.  Although I have a dremel complete with flexi shaft, if I'm drilling a pendant this is usually 6 mm thick, so needs to be done in water (well, just at the surface of water) to prevent the drill bit from getting too hot and burning out, or getting clogged with glass dust, which (because of the admittedly nonsensical layout of my room) means I have to climb over the bed with a pyrex casserole dish lid in my hand, full of water and a soggy cloth, and then half an hour later climb back with the water now full of teeny tiny glass shards.  Not a lot of fun, and that's if you can ignore the whole water plus electricity thing.  As well as that, the glass can crack, the drill bits are expensive and it's very very noisy.

So, next tactic - inbuilt voids.  You can incorporate them into more abstract designs - think donuts, but this doesn't work with more structured pieces - tiny landscapes for example.  Positioning a piece of fibre paper between layers of glass can create a gap running from one side to the other that you can then slide a necklace cord or chain through.  I'm not very keen on the fibre paper method as it always seems to end up looking messy when I do it, so on to bails.

Using specialist adhesive to attach a metal bail to the reverse of a piece is the method I find the most straightforward, but coming back to fusing after a brain-cloud induced break I'm bringing some new ideas along with me to show the kiln pixies.

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A few months back I was on a course with a lady who was wearing a gorgeously presented fused pendant, and was kind enough to let me have a proper look at it.  Instead of having a hole in the glass itself, or a small bail glued to the back, the glass was fitted inside a shallow tray, so as you looked at it from the front it was outlined in silver - pretty!  I had a bit of a hunt around in all the usual places but couldn't find a good photo to share, so I can't show you the finished version of what I'm on about.

As with all jewellery findings there is a range of quality pieces available, and while sterling silver would be great, there's just no way my budget will stretch that far, so I've gone for silver plated (lead and nickel free), figuring this is the next best option.  Something I noticed looking around (online) at the frames was that some were textured inside, while others were smooth.  Might just be me being overly cautious, but I am running with the assumption that a textured base will provide better adhesion - which reminds me, I need to get fresh adhesive!

Still lots of details to be worked out, including exactly how big the glass pieces need to be to fit each pendant frame, whether they'll need to be individually fused or a larger piece made then cut down and cold worked to fit the frames, with maybe a quick fire polish at the end, but in the meantime, prepare to go ooh over the shiny shiny things...


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