Monday, July 1, 2013

Making Puddles Into Cabochons

So pretty! I still need to do some work on them to take care of devitrification (looks kind of like soap scum but won't wash off with water) on some of them but I'm so excited at how well they turned out!

Scott sent me a cool link from a site run by a glass artist (Paul Tarlow) we both admire explaining how to make glass "puddles" and showcasing some of the things you can do with them.

I immediately knew I had to make some and see if I'd end up with something I could use as centers for my fabric flower brooches.

See the link above for the real tutorial, but here are photos of the steps I went through.

First, I made stacks of seven different colors of 3-inch-square pieces of glass.

I was trying for colors that would give some good contrast and eye-popping colors.

Then they went into the kiln for their first full fuse. Because the stacks were more than two layers (6mm) of glass, I had to give them plenty of space to flow out.

When they came out, they didn't look like much from the top because all you could see was the color of the glass that was on the top of the stack. (Although a couple of my fused stacks had small dots of colors underneath that must have been brought to the surface by bubbles that popped while the glass was liquid. Kind of cool, isn't it?

On the bottom of the fused stacks, though, you could see the concentric colors in rings. I didn't remember to take a photo until the next step though -- breaking the glass!

It took me several tries to break the darn things, even following the instructions on the tutorial! The first one I did was the one in the back of this photo. I have to say that I am very, very happy that I was following protocol and wearing safety glasses because when it finally broke into pieces, it kind of exploded and shards hit my safety glasses before bouncing to the floor. Always wear safety glasses if you're playing with or around glass!!

Aren't the striated layers gorgeous?

Even looking at the layers here, the colors make me smile!

I started out using a glass/tile nipper to make smaller pieces from the larger pieces. But oh, that wasn't going to work very well because it hurt my hands too much, so Scott helped me out and made it all look easy.

Then it was time to put them back into the kiln again and see what would happen.

We put them in standing on edge in hopes of encouraging them to melt into puddles again, this time showing the ripples of color on the top. It worked better for some of them than others ...

On the kiln shelf when it was removed from the kiln after firing. My puddles were all in one corner, and then Scott filled the rest of the shelf up with frit balls that he's hoping to mix up and then tack fuse together into a bowl.

Soaking them in a vinegar bath helped remove the primer we use on our kiln shelf. The little bits of white stuff in the container are primer that has already soaked off, but it took 4+ hours to get it all removed.

Now I'm looking forward to making the perfect brooches to use them on!


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