Category: Projects


My Patchwork tile is complete but hasn’t turned out quite as I’d hoped…

I cooked it on a glassfire automatic program, full fuse on medium but it didn’t fuse completely.

Tile after full fuse

Tile after full fuse

As you can see, there are little gaps at the corner of the green squares, dark lines around the turquoise square and the two tiles  at the top and bottom are not quite fused.

So in it went again.

This time I went for the full fuse, slow cook and its looking quite a bit better. There are still a few tiny gaps and it’s not perfect in every way, but it’s fun.

Patchwork tile after second fusing

Patchwork tile after second fusing

As you may remember from my last post, this was a flip and fire exercise so, as it went in with the design layer on the bottom the first time, I turned it over for the second firing so the design layer was on the top.

I don’t think this is a piece to sell but it looks a treat on my studio window ledge with the snow behind it!

 

Alternative Patchwork

Before I took up glass fusing, I was an avid patchworker and quilter. I taught it for 10 years and still turn my hand to it now and again. But since falling in love with glass fusion it has struck me how similar the process, of arranging pieces of glass to make a patterned tile, is to patchwork.

I have a substantial library of patchwork books and have been looking through them for ideas for tiles.

Here is an exploded view of the first design. All the pieces cut and laid out ready for grinding and cleaning.

Exploded view of Patchwork Tile

Exploded view of Patchwork Tile

All these small pieces have sorely tested my cutting skills and, as you can see quite a few are less than perfect! But grinding will sort that out – hopefully.

Here is the tile, ground and washed and arranged ready to go into the kiln.

Reassembled Tile

Reassembled Tile

I have recently read on one of the blogs I follow about the flip and fire method of firing multi-layered tiles. In this method, the pattern layer is laid face down on the thinfire paper and the base layer laid on top of this. The lines of the design layer will be smoother and more evenly fused but will of course have a more matte appearance from being in contact with the paper. To counteract this, the piece can then be flipped over and fire-polished until shiny.

But I wondered if, as my piece is inspired by a design intended for fabric, should I retain the matte appearance which may echo the texture of fabric?

The piece is in the kiln, ready to go, but as my kiln is not close by, I don’t like to leave it firing overnight. So I will set it going in the morning.

Design layer on the bottom!

Design layer on the bottom!

In the Kiln, Ready to Fire

In the Kiln, Ready to Fire

Hope to be able to show you the results soon. Watch this space!

A Fishy Tale

I have long – well as long as I’ve been fusing glass, which isn’t that long – wanted to make a mirror for our bathroom and in keeping with the watery environment, fancied a fishy theme.

I have bought a box of 30cm x 30cm Tekta squares which just fit in my Skutt kiln, and some 20cm square mirror tiles.

As you know from my previous posts I am rather keen on using copper inclusions in my glass, so cut out a variety of aquarium fish shapes for my fishy mirror, then I cut out a selection of curved glass pieces for the greenery. For the gravel, I got together all the scrap pieces from other projects, into a bag and smashed them with a hammer.

The fish were sandwiched in between the two pieces of clear glass, the edges of which I had rounded off in the grinder, and then the greenery, which I had also ground smooth, laid on top.

Wearing a mask and goggles (some of the glass had turned to powder) I spooned it along the bottom of the piece once I had laid it in the kiln.

 

Aquarium mirror in the kiln ready to fire

Aquarium mirror in the kiln ready to fire

 

Detail of fish and greenery

Detail of fish and greenery

 

Detail of broken glass gravel

Detail of broken glass gravel

 

As this was quite a large piece, it only just fitted in my kiln, I cooked it on a Slow Full fuse Glassfire program which took about 8 1/2 hours.

I then placed my mirror tile on a piece of 6mm fibre paper, a little larger all round than the glass and cut round it leaving a border of 1/2″ all round. I them cooked it again on a medium slump program and here is the finished result.

The finished mirror

The finished mirror

 

The spotty background is in fact the spotty tablecloth on my desk!

Here’s another shot on the carpet.

Finished mirror

Finished mirror

 

I loved doing this mirror and am pleased with the result. The only thing I would change if doing another would be to change the slump time to Slow as, although the mirror fits the base just fine, I think the recess could have been just a little deeper.

 

The Lion Inside

After several visits to nearby cathedrals, I have taken a bit of an interest in heraldry. I’ve made two cushions – which you can see on my other blog T4mworkshops.wordpress.com  – but was also keen to do something in glass.

I’d recently got some copper foil so thought I’d go for the rampant lion design.

Green Tile with copper lion inclusion

Green Tile with copper lion inclusion

For this tile I downloaded a royalty-free lion emblem from the internet and printed it out at the right size (to fit comfortable on a 4″ piece of glass). I then taped it to the copper foil and cut out both with a scalpel.

I then flattened it out with the rounded edge of a pencil and laid on a 4″ piece of 2mm glass. I had to put a few dots of PVA on the back to stop it moving around. I then overlaid it with a 4″ piece of 3mm tekta glass.

And I think therein lies the problem. I remember reading in one of my books that it isn’t a good idea to mix different thicknesses in the same piece and I think that may be why this piece – when cooked – has pulled in a bit on the edges between the corners.

The second piece only came about because I didn’t want to throw away the negative piece of copper sheet I was left with after cutting out the first lion. So I laid it on a piece of opaque yellow 2mm glass and covered it with a precut piece of 2mm clear glass.

Yellow background with negative copper lion inclusion

Yellow background with negative copper lion inclusion

This appears to have remained much squarer but has also pulled in equally all round! I know this because, despite leaving a 2mm border between the copper sheet and the edge of the glass, there is a slight rough metal edge all round. I quite liked the crushed silk look that the copper has developed after cooking but there are a lot of large air bubbles on the back.

To fuse these tiles I used an automatic glassfire programme on full fuse and slow firing (as I had my daughter’s uni project in there as well).

I’m enjoying my kiln but have not yet been brave enough to write my own programs. I intend to try making some tiles out of the ton of wine bottles we accumulated over Christmas but have read that they require a high firing temperature to rid them of their impurities and lose that sandy look.

Having learnt my lesson about compatible glass I have put together two trivet-sized pieces. Several days out of the kiln, they are still crack-free and providing quite a boost to my glass education.

The first, a conglomeration of scrap and sample pieces of opaque glass and clear bullseye tekta has, I think, quite an Art Deco feel about it.

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Those of you with some experience in fusing will recognize my mistake in placing two of the red squares in the ‘accent’ layer too close to the corners. As well as distorting the piece into an elongated diamond rather than a square, they also appear to have run over the edge rather than staying on top.

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Rather than seeing this as a fault, my other half quite liked the quirky, handmade look this conveyed. I can live with that…
The second piece was more technically successful.

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This was formed from two layers of clear tekta glass with copper sheet strips sandwiched in between. The coloured squares were cut slightly smaller than the clear windows in between the copper and laid on top.
I like this piece best although the copper has stopped the glass flowing as fluently as it has in the spaces in between giving it the looked of a tied parcel! I like the dark red/purple colour the copper has turned.
Both pieces were fired on a slow, full fuse auto program but I wonder if a medium program would produce less distortion?

Getting Cracking

Since my last post things have moved on apace as, nervous that my all-wood and frankly freezing studio wouldn’t fare well over the winter, I have moved the whole show back to a studio in the nearby Brickworks Museum.

I say back, as this is where I used to run my sewing workshops, but now something new.

After my last post in which my sample piece – made despite advice to the contrary – of different grades of glass – cracked 48 hours after firing, I had a few more attempts with the gifted glass and bullseye glass. All have cracked to some degree.

You would think by now that I’d have learnt my lesson. But, having put together these Christmas ornaments, I just had to try the addition of some millefiore  pieces, bought when I went on a mosaic course. Christmas decoration for the trees, I thought, and sprinkled them liberally.

Here are the pieces just before firing.

Ready to Fire

Ready to Fire

I am always excited when it’s time to open the kiln. Firing and cooling takes such a long time and the result is so different each time that I can’t wait to see what’s happened.

I was pleased and disappointed at the same time.

Round hanging ornament

Round hanging ornament

Doesn’t look too bad but on closer inspection there is quite severe cracking around one of the millefiore which is also a little too close to its neighbour.

Cracking Detail

Cracking Detail

The two tree shaped ornaments fared rather better but there is still a little bit of cracking around the inclusions.

I was interested to see how the yellow one had bulged into a bottle shape. I think this is either due to too large a piece of glass on top or overcooking!

red tree ornament

yello green tree ornament

I also like the way the milliefiore have shifted in the molten glass creating the sort of effect you get with adverts on football pitches.

But despite the cracking, these pieces were only intended as extra Christmas decorations and are still usable, I think. Also, my lovely glass suppliers sell milliefiore that is compatible with Bullseye glass so guess where I’m going next?

I think the lesson is learned though. No more incompatible glass experiments!

I’ve got two new (compatible) pieces in the kiln at the moment so watch this space!