Monday, July 30, 2012

Experimenting with glass

I've been incorporating glass in some of my ceramic pieces for a while. I add various types of glass to the glaze or place atop the glaze prior to firing. Most of the time I've been pleased with the way they turned out. Each time I've learned a bit more about the process.

Pieces in the kiln, glazed but not fired.
I've always loved stained glass. A friend of mine does stained glass and offered to teach me. I jumped at the opportunity (albeit slowly, it took me about six months to set aside the time!). I made a couple of small pieces and was OK with them, but not thrilled. She said I'm a natural, picked things up quickly, and all that good stuff. It wasn't the process I wasn't thrilled with, it was the design of the pieces I made that didn't excite me.

My intention was and is to do a line of ceramic pieces that have spaces or voids I can fill with stained glass.

The new "glass corner" in the studio. Picked up the glass holder under
the table at a thrift store for only $10... it was meant to be mine!
I decided to go for it in my usual manner... I bought all the stuff to do stained glass, cleared out a corner of my studio and got started making ceramic pieces to marry up with stained glass.

After being fired, waiting for glass to be added
I wrote a bit about the difference in the processes recently --- stained glass is almost instant gratification, ceramic art takes weeks. I mentioned that to my stained glass friend, Cathy, and she showed me a piece that she had already spent roughly 30 hours on and it wasn't soldered yet... However long the time, she still doesn't need to stare at wet pieces and wait for them to dry not knowing the outcome!

Anywaze, back to my travels in stained glass and clay.

The piece I took to Cathy's for a refresher. Note the larger soldering
lines where the glass meets the clay.
I made a bunch of pieces and they're sitting on a table awaiting the glass. I got nervous about the process for some reason. I kept starting, then finding a reason to go back to what I knew and was comfortable with --- my clay.

The piece I made on my own when I got home. Much happier.
Finally I kicked myself in the rear, talked with Cathy, grabbed a few pieces and went for a refresher. We both experimented as she had not tried marrying up a ceramic piece to glass either. I learned what I will be doing in the future and what I probably won't be doing. I didn't like the big soldering lines where the clay met up with the glass. Nice little lines between the glass pieces, chunky lines where the glass meets the clay. 

I brought the piece home and played a bit more with it. I decided to make another small piece of stained glass to add (the pink triangle on the left in the photo above) and to add some aqua beads to pick up the aqua on the right side. I haven't attached the aqua beads yet, still playing with the layout. I also made a small clear glass triangle to use in the cord or chain that will go through the hole at the top so it will dangle.

The piece to the right is one I made on my own in the studio. I'm much happier with it! I am now ready to tackle all the rest of those pieces laying on the table! In a few days I'll be making a trek to the not-so-local glass store (45 minute drive, one way) to pick up some more glass. I'm hooked.

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