Images on Glass Course – Final Week

Firstly an update on the pieces that were fired during the week.

Screenprint after firingAs you can see the screenprinted images using black ink have worked well.  Sadly the blue ink is fairly pale on most and the orange ink has in most places burnt away.  Personally I love the unpredictability of some areas in glass and it’s why there’s a need to test everything as you go along and continually learn.

My small Teddy Wolfe images have been stuck together and will be fire again into a stack (see below).  Which, with a little bit of hard work and a grinder to neaten up the edges will, hopefully, mean that I have a sort of 3D image of the picture.

Our tutor also had back sheets of decals using images that we’d emailed to her.  I wanted to use some black and white images of my parents.

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As this was our final class in the course, today our tutor encouraged us to re-explore the different methods we’d learned in the short course.

I concentrated mainly on using the decals we’d had printed and screenprinting.  I was keen to revisit the idea of screenprinting one image and then laying them over each other to create a multi-dimensional image.

So that the images would be as close as I could get, to being in same spot on each piece of glass, I first set up my screenprinting area.  Under the screen I taped a piece of cardboard from which I’d cut the size of the glass pieces.  Masking tape was stuck around the image I was using on the screen.  The screen was then stuck to the table at one end and then each corner marked out once again with masking tape.  The rest was up to me and my dodgy eyesight!

IMG_8969First the area is ‘flooded’ with ink by carefully dragging the ink over the area.  Then the glass is placed under the screen (in the cardboard slot) and ink is pulled over.  As my images have incredibly thin lines I dragged the ink over it several times, hoping that it would be a clean thicker line without being smudged.

This time, instead of firing the pieces and then stacking them, I chose to leave the images to air-dry and stack them for a single firing.

Stacking GrannyEeek it was mightily difficult to get it lined up perfectly!

Some of my peers in this final class concentrated on using powders on glass.  Others drew with enamel and then used powders and frit.  Some used their decals and screenprinted.  Here’s a selection of what’s being fired this week (including a batt of my stacks).

IMG_8973 IMG_8972Fabulously diverse and once again will be interesting to see what comes out from the firing.

Finally we lay out a selection of our pieces that we’d finished so far on this short course.  (Obviously there are some in for firing during this week and attendees will need to pop back to the college to collect them).

IMG_8971I think you’ll agree there are some wonderful pieces demonstrating different methods.  Certainly something I’m keen to understand further and do more of but most of all I can honestly say we’ve had a huge amount of enjoyment on the course.  Thank you Richmond Adult Community College our tutor, Monette and not forgetting the technician, Sally, who ensures our pieces are fired for us.

Images on Glass course – screenprinting

Today’s excitement was to learn how to screen print a photo onto glass.  Below are two images drawn by Edward Wolfe that I chose to use.  Our tutor resized our emailed photos and printed onto transparent plastic sheets ready for our class today.

Images on Glass sp1First we prepared our canvas with photo emulsion.  This was applied in a thin layer by pulling the photo emulsion upward using a trough to evenly spread the emulsion over the screen.  This is then immediately placed on a dark shelf (with no light) to dry.  This will absorb the image once exposed to light.

Images on Glass sp2Once dry, we readied the light box by warming up the bright light and positioning our sheets of images.  Quickly we transferred the now dry screen and placed this over the images, covering quickly with blackout material.  Finally we put old heavy telephone directories on top to keep it in place whilst the image is exposed.  3mins and 20seconds later we switched off the light box.

The final step was to remove the screen from the light box (with fingers crossed) and to take it to the sink.  As we watched the screen be showered with water, the images started to emerge.  Witchcraft!

[I was doing the ‘washing’ so didn’t get any pictures of our screen at the final stages]

Images on Glass SP4Finally with the images now on the screen, it was time to create some enamel paste and to screen print them onto glass.

Images on GlassSP6Different results with different colours used.  Below are a selection of the glass with images from the group awaiting firing in the kiln.  (You will see that I reused the red striker glass that hadn’t shown the orange powder before – let’s see how it works).  (Also one of my classmates reused a powdered image with screen printed text on top.)

We’ll all have to wait until next week to see the results.

Images on Glass SP7Finally, our tutor also showed us a slightly different method to utilise multiple colours via screen printing.  You apply the enamel colours in splotches over the image.  Then a line of the acrylic medium and pull the squeegee dragging the medium first and picking up the enamel but forcing both through the mesh.  Again an interesting image created and I’m intrigued to see how that will look once fired.

Images on Glass SP11

Images on Glass course – Glass Powder

My second week on this course our tutor showed us to apply images to glass using powder.  Using different mesh levels we saw how to use objects to create an image.  Sticking paper to the mesh, drawing with wax crayons and freehand sprinkling of powder.  Al these methods give different results.  Thickness of the glass powder.  Layering colour and depth.  Refined sharp edges and gently smooth, smokey sprinkling.

Below are images of our tutor demonstrating a couple of techniques and the middle picture is the fired glass with the images burned into the glass.

Images on Glass11Below are a few of the classes attempts prior to firing.  You can see we’ve used different methods and differing levels of artist expertise too!

Images on Glass12Post firing below.  I was pleased with the orange powder over black bullseye glass – I hadn’t been sure if it’d disappear into the black.  However the same orange powder did disappear into the red striker glass to leave just a solid fired red tile!

Images on Glass13My attempt at creating an image by drawing with wax crayon onto the mesh (red bottom left picture).  Then the powder was gently applied (orange and yellow – top left picture).  The other two images show the fired finished glass.

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Decoupage reindeer heads with Kaffe Fassett material

As you know I fell in love with the material of Kaffe Fassett at the Handmade Fair.

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What I probably haven’t confessed to is that I’ve been purchasing small pieces of his material with a little project in mind.  Although I did confess to the project in my Affordable Art Fair post.

Finally all the pieces have come together.  I first practiced with a heart.

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Then I sourced the papier mache heads, glue and together with the pieces of material and YouTube, I’ve been busy decoupaging.  How fabulous is this method of crafting.  For the most part everyone said to use paper and looked at me very oddly when I suggested material.  So I wasn’t quite sure what would happen if I used material.  In fact I suspect it’s easier as it stretches beautifully around corners and edges.

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This fine fellow looks amazing on my living room wall.

But I felt he needed a girlfriend….

IMG_8288 IMG_8290Great fun making them and easy to do.  Perfect crafting with small people or to make something colourful and fun for yourself.

Update on my glass making

I’d best first tell you about my disasters of last Saturday.  Having spent an age crafting, cutting, shaping, etching the wax model.

The next step is to create a plaster mold.  No mean feat for a small object but something of this size it’s a huge task.  I found the right plastic edging and clipped it together, using clay, I set the plastic edging to the board and hoped it’d take the weight of the massive amount of liquid plaster and flint.  And it probably would have done absolutely fine had I not heard someone suggest I move the clip out of the way.  Quick as a flash I did and quicker than I could imagine the plastic edging slipped closely followed by a fair bit of the 8 litres of liquid plaster!

IMG_8204Thank heavens for sensible people in the room who quickly were able to stem the flow and save the day.  What an idiot I am.  All week I’ve had nightmares about it and honestly I have no idea if the plaster mold has really worked at this point.

But the glass must go on.  The next step was steaming out the wax from the plaster mold.  It’s a little Heath Robinson but it works (top right).  As there are some very thin pieces of wax, I steamed it for quite some time to get right up into the plaster mold.

IMG_8257Today’s step was to finish steaming out the wax.  Then select the glass (Gaffer) and, in my case, liquid enamel.  Clean each piece of glass and then position the pieces with the enamel into the mold for firing.  Fingers crossed, one more time, that the firing goes well.

Another small piece that I started last week and finished this week was a small ‘wonky’ bowl with some small hearts and a ribbon stand.  Below is a picture of the wax mold and then after the firing whilst it was still in the plaster mold.

IMG_8255A fair bit of cold working on the saw to remove the base, lathe, flatbed, hand lapping and engraving inside and out.

IMG_8256I’m quite pleased with how it’s worked out.  It’ll be a beautiful birthday present for someone special very soon.

I also was able to fuse some pieces of glass that I cut a couple of years ago, following my course with David Mitchell.  It was fired first flat (fusing) and then fired again this week in a slump.  I’ve learned more in that I need to be more careful when using ‘batt wash’.  Batt wash is used over ceramic molds before firing and needs to be approximately 7 layers, straight across, diagonally, and again.  What I learned was that I should made each layer thinner and with more care… there’s a few small blobs on this piece because of it!

IMG_8252IMG_0205Here’s the finished article.

Affordable Art Fair Battersea

I remain someone who loves to attend the AAF in Battersea. Once again I managed to get ‘free-Friday’ tickets and this year took my Godmother with me. Our taste in art is quite different. Mine brighter and more tactile – a usual need for colour and touch! Hers more classical and some would say, refined. But that’s the beautiful thing about the Affordable Art Fairs around the World. There is something for everyone and as pieces get bought up and replaced with others, each row of small galleries changes with every walk by.

Here’s a few pics of some pieces that I loved from today:

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Acrylic resin, marble and glass.

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Several pieces of interest and ones that I’d love to copy.

Top left to right

  • Already some of you know about my wish to create a reindeer head and cover with my Kaffe Fassett fabric pieces that I’ve collected.
  • Geometric pieces in a box frame – again you know I’m almost there with collecting pieces for this and some of you may well have seen the piece I made for MC & Chris as a wedding present using the London A-Z and Melbourne Melway maps.
  • Interesting textures and it should still have been wet paint!  Gloss with drips on aluminium sheet.
  • I loved the far-right picture with old postcards and small ceramic shoes and personal items.

Bottom left to right

  • Bottom left carved stone, I’d love to make in glass.
  • The mini-picture frames within a picture frame was a gorgeous way of collecting old pictures together for display.
  • Adored how the people and trees were affixed at an angle to the background picture giving the illusion of movement as the light changed and the shadow became longer/shorter.
  • Enjoyed the colour and simple design.  Would look fab in my garden!

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Although the top two images are from a ceramic bowl, I enjoyed the engraved lines of dots on the bowl.  Certainly something that I could replicate on the inside of a glass bowl.

Bullseye stringer glass and on the right fused squares – certainly both I’ve already created and this has inspired me to spend a little longer on coldworking and finishing the pieces.

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I loved the washed pieces of glass collected on beaches.  The roughness of the pieces and then uniformly placed to form a 3D picture.

Bottom right were some amazing pieces made in ceramic but also I’d like to replicate in glass.

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Some great glass ideas.  The first piece is a very similar shape to the one I’ve already molded in wax and awaits me tomorrow to take to the next process.  Certainly food for thought although I think I know what I’m going to do.

The piece in the middle has given me an idea on finishing my ‘dropped’ glass that was this week fired for the second time.

The bowls on the top right were blown glass but then sandblasted techniques to create the pattern/engraving.  Something we’ll be covering in our glass course, I hope.

I also loved the tower blocks of glass.  So simple yet beautifully effective sculptures.

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Oddly I dreamt about a piece just like these two last night.  Certainly given me another method of creating my ‘dream’ piece.

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Button obsession again.  This artist used clock and watch parts as well as butterflies.  I’d love to use buttons.  Interesting way to suspend and layer the parts to create a picture behind.

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Oh and there did appear to be a LOT of bulldogs at the AAF Battersea.  Many in ceramic, some in stone, bronze and, of course, paintings too.  I took these pics for my lovely friend Trish – aren’t they top dogs?

More glass (without the bubbles please)…

Following my two day 1:1 studio course I did in 2013 with the wonderful artist David Mitchell in Cambridge I have been super keen to continue working with glass.  As Cambridge isn’t exactly next door, I needed to find a college, studio or individual that would help me learn more, guide me (a little bit) and help me fire and coldwork pieces in their kiln and studio.  Of course I was happy to pay but I couldn’t find anyone or anywhere!  Many many hours of searching, stalking artists, posting on art forums and generally making a nuisance of myself and two year’s later, I found somewhere that I can go to make more glass ‘stuff’.  I didn’t exactly sit and wait for it though.  I invested in some glass, glass cutting boards, goggles and cutters and practiced cutting pieces of glass in my shed.

It has been a frustrating two years and I thought I’d end up with a shed full of cut pieces of glass and yet nothing finished…

.. until now!

Richmond Adult Community College have added a new art wing to their College in Richmond.  They were apparently previously in a Nissan hut in Twickenham but clearly at that time without much awareness about publicising their classes as I didn’t find them in my many many page searches of Google!

So I’ve signed up to three courses and already started two of them.

Cast a Glass Vessel (short course) – Learn how to make a model in wax to be cast in glass
•    To create a refractory mould for glass casting
•    Using wax to creating textures and patterns
•    You will gain basic techniques in finishing your cast glass

This is a piece that I’ve made so far.

Wax mould

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IMG_8094IMG_8093I quite love the way it is “just a vessel”.  It doesn’t have a purpose nor does it stand up or be level (deliberately!).  I adore the mottling of purples with a slight hint of blue within.  It’s far from perfect but I did it!  I think it’s done but I may just put a hole in the bottom and fit it with a small light…  I’m thinking about it.

Next up is a larger vessel that I’ve already created in wax and have a couple of weeks to finish the carving, then cast it in plaster and then into glass.  I’ve several ideas floating around in my head for a design and I’m excited to see what I finally decide to do.

Studio Glass (16 week course) – A practical introduction to kiln formed studio glass, covering the ancient techniques of fusing, slumping, open-mould and lost wax casting. You will be set short projects and encouraged to adopt an experimental approach. You will be taught through demonstration, group and individual instruction and you will learn from hands on experience. You will discover the potential of the medium through looking at both contemporary and historical works

The story so far:

IMG_8154Top left – practice cuts in glass to get circles, straight lines and shapes.
Top right – after first firing to fuse the glass together
Bottom – We created ‘cut-out’ shapes and prepared them for a ‘drop’ in the next firing.  This picture was taken as we ‘collectively’ chose it was time to stop the firing process and cool down the kiln pieces.  Hopefully we stopped it in time so that none of the pieces continued for the glass to melt and drop further.  Also it’s quite an art (thank heavens for Sally, our technician) to bring the glass down in temperature in such a way that it doesn’t crack.  Next week we’ll see the pieces out of the kiln and having returned to their final colour.  Fingers crossed.  I think I’d like to finish my piece by finishing off the edges and then mounting it onto a melted glass piece stand.  We’ll see!

Glass Casting (short course) – A practical and intense introduction to casting glass using the lost wax and open casting process. You will be taught how to model wax, make refractory moulds and prepare your glass for casting in the kiln. You will be set a short project and encouraged to adopt an experimental approach. You will be taught through demonstration, group and individual instruction and you will learn from hands on experience. You will discover the potential of the medium through looking at both contemporary and historical works.

Not started yet!

I’m so enjoying working with glass.  Once again I realise that I can be totally absorbed by this medium.  It’s unpredictability as to how it will fuse, slump or drop gives me a sense of excitement and thrill as to what it will become when the pieces I’ve chosen and placed take on a new form.  Honestly I can’t believe how quickly each class session flies by.

 

Colour in my life

Until this week I’d not really connected anxiety and colour in my life.  However, whilst I painted the final coat of colour to a garden shed I finally realised what I’ve been doing.  As many of you know I’ve had bright red hair at different times.  Often at times of anxiety such as the passing of a dear friend, Mum being ill and then at her passing.  Since then my health has reflected in colourful hair or colour in my garden!

I figured you’ve got a number of my pictures with red hair in the header of this website.  So here’s a few of the garden… the yellow shed having been painted whilst waiting for these latest results!  Hey, I clearly need colour in my life during moments of anxiety…

PS  Sheds were made by my brother’s company Bulldog Sheds & Fencing

PPS Paints were mixed and purchased from Crown Decorator Centre using Crown aluminium primer, Crown undercoat and Macpherson gloss (coloured accordingly).

Biopsy phone call

What a caring service I’ve received at Royal Marsden already.  This was continued this morning when one of the breast care nurses phoned to let me know the results of the pathology and to spare me another anxious weekend.

The pathology has indicated that the little dots are calcifications and are benign.  With consultation with the breast cancer team they have also concluded that the horrid biopsy took out enough of the new ‘dots’ to be able to feel that they are all of a similar nature and therefore nothing to be concerned about.  No surgery, no chemo and no radiotherapy.  She also explained that as I was already being monitored on a 6 monthly basis because of my phyllodes sarcoma, they were satisfied that should the ‘dots’ do anything odd they would be picking it up early in any event.  Great news.

I will, however, still be attending the follow up appointment on Monday in order to clarify in my mind why these ‘dots’ have appeared so quickly and reconfirm that all is OK.

Life lesson – I also realised today that I’m a creature of habit… when I am anxious or have stress in my life, I need colour… will post a picture of my newly colourful shed shortly!

Glass course

In 2008 I visited the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea and saw a glass picture that I absolutely adored.  Sadly it wasn’t affordable to me at the time and despite wandering past it many many times on the day and trying to justify how I could possibly buy it, I left without it.

To describe the picture will not do it justice but I’ll try.  Essentially the back piece of glass was the size the picture but fused to that glass was other smaller pieces of dichroic glass which were arranged in such a way that to look at the picture straight ahead you saw a circle of gently coloured glass protruding.  However the real beauty to me was that the dichroic elements of the glass played with the light so that it danced around the room.  As the day/evening light changes or perhaps the flickering of a fire or candle, the light would scatter and move.  For me, this piece of art would engage me in staring and losing myself in the movement of the light.

I have so regretted not putting the price of this piece of art on a credit card!  Every year I have returned to the Affordable Art Fair and for several years after this visit, David Mitchell’s artwork had increased incrementally with that money that I’d saved!  I don’t feel that I’ll ever own a piece of his artwork.

The last time I saw David’s work at AAF however I got a little cross.  The price, once more, was out of my reach (good for David!) and whilst stomping off disappointedly, I said under my breath I guess the only way is for him to teach me how to make it myself.  Hehe he heard my muttering and said ‘OK then’!

Nearly two years later, I sent him an email to ask if he’d been serious and if so, how much.

So, this past few days have been fan-blinking-tastic.  Holed up in David’s studio having one to one tuition about the many different methods of glass fusion.  Wow there’s a lot to learn but most important is the ability to accurately cut glass… I have much more practice to do!

My first day’s labour:

IMG_3817On the second day, David set me the challenge of designing, drawing and creating a square bowl.  Several hours were spent simply drawing the design as it had to be absolutely accurate in order that the eventual glass piece would similarly be accurate. (I learnt the hard way that perhaps my design should have been slightly simpler for a first piece!).

As you can see from the picture below there were many pieces of glass and many ‘millimetres’ that required perfection.  Not to mention the 45* corners that also needed cutting perfectly.

IMG_3921Despite a few imperfections that I can see (and now that I’ve pointed them out, you may see also), I’m really chuffed with my bowl, coasters and buttons that I made on the course.

My task now is to practice cutting glass so that there are more ‘perfect’ cuts than ‘imperfect’ ones.  Then… I’m hoping… David will take me back for another course whereupon I can learn to fuse dichroic glass pieces and make my own picture.

Watch this space.