Monday, 9 March 2015

designing fused glass light catchers

Lately I've been pondering the long rectangular light catchers that I've been making for several years.  I still love the shapes, the curves and gentle lines, and experience in cutting glass means I can create the seascape inspired light catchers I was aiming for.  Although they have that incredible room colour changing property as they're made of translucent glass, I want to develop them to show more depth, more texture.

At first I used the same technique that I use on serving platters - purposefully creating negative space and then filling these with (separately) fully fused bubbles.  This, in conjunction with double layering some pieces up to create another level of contouring was an improvement, but I'm still not completely happy.  Way back before the brain cloud I was starting to experiment with adding frit as well as the bubbles, and now I'm keen to try without the bubbles, but instead using differing grades of frit to build up the shapes, increasing texture and creating a less strict, controlled impression.

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The first step is to cut a base layer of clear glass, and the wavy freeform shapes of the second layer.  Because I'm naturally drawn to all the seaside shades of blues and greens this seems to be the obvious place to start, so I chose a few translucent shades and started work.  The only pics I can share of this stage are the rough and ready tablet camera snaps that I took of the design before I had to pack everything away, so consider yourself warned!

I made a conscious choice not to double layer any of the shapes, because of the resulting thickness of the piece.   The 3mm base,  3mm cap then another 3mm on top isn't ideal bearing in mind the ultimate aim of glass to be 6mm thick,  and the thickness necessitates a really really long cooling process (as in around a hundred hours) and that's not really where my kiln excels. 

As you can see, as well as taking a few snaps of the design I've numbered the pieces to make it easier to reassemble - having a number on one side also gives a definite 'right way up'.  The pieces needed cleaning anyway, so then when I put each piece back together in the kiln, I started at one end and washed the first piece, dried it and put it in approximately the right place on the base.  Once all the pieces were on there I adjusted them a little so the spaces were more even, and set the programmer on the kiln. 

So, in they go.  Tomorrow, I'll take them out and see how they look. 

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  1. Wow, these are really pretty! Love the blue and green colours :)

    1. Thanks Tracey, I love those colours too, and they're shown off perfectly in the shiny shiny glass!


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