Friday, April 22, 2011

glass has class

Happy Easter! Or other seasonal celebration as appropriate to your tradition!

A brief post because this long weekend is the last push for the expansion of The Cost of Silver. I have the Battle of Newburn to write, the arrival of the Undertakers at the fen, and the death under witchfinder questioning of the only really sympathetic character in the book.
Why yes, I do expect this all to be a bit emotionally draining.

As a relief to that, some non-writing news. For Christmas, Mark got me via Groupon two sessions of a glass sampler class at DeBrady Studios. It was popular--I got into the classes this month, Wednesday evenings.
You can see the work layout above. The first half of each session was lecture with samples. Mr. Brady is an enthusiast: his most used phrase was "Wait, I'll show you one." And that in addition to the many samples of different glass crafts he already had out on the table. Then the class divided into two groups to try one of the aspects of glass craft, afterwards swapping table-ends to try the other setup.
I think only one person cut themselves each night. Not sure whether it was the same person.
First night was practice cutting glass with a modern wheel cutter, then swap around to cut a stencil out of 'ceramic paper', a quick and easy way to make a form for slumpwork. A sheet of glass is laid over the thick stencil, and heated in the kiln until it softens and melts into the spaces cut from the stencil. This is called 'embossed glass', and the technique may have been developed by DeBrady Glass.
You can see my piece here (that's a post-it note underneath):

The second night was lampwork beads, and I made about 5 small ones, though I fear that I heated the metal rod too much and burnt the kilnwash off it (which is what I did the last time I tried lampwork), which will make the beads break rather than be pulled nicely off.
As was mentioned in class, lampwork is quick to do but slow to do well.

The other end of the table was fusing, another in-kiln craft like embossing or slumpwork. Take a square of clear glass as base, and cut and shape coloured glass and frit (powdered glass) to make a design on it. One square to be heated until the coloured glass adheres, making a raised design, the smaller square to be heated until the coloured glass fuses into the the clear glass, making a smooth inset design.
The challenging thing about kiln work is the same as with pottery. You don't know what worked or what exploded or turned into something else entirely until the kiln has cooled and you open it up the next day. That rather attracts me--it's like baking. The question is more whether I can find anything I want to make with it.
I do want (post-novel) to go further with stained glass, the leaded kind, not the copper-foil kind which leaves me rather cold, especially when applied to building dustcatchers like model planes and houses. (I know many people find these awesome and impressive, I'm just not one of them.)
Then there's enamelling glassware, like those gorgeous Middle Eastern and Venetian drinking vessels. I've made some using low-fire enamels, but the real thing would be cooler.

I may have to write something with glass as a plot element, to justify this as research.


Sharon Needles said...

Okay, those are breath-taking. I am blown away.

batgirl said...

I love the enamelled glass so much - that's the whole reason I teach the glassware class in the SCA. Next time I see you I should try to bring my binders of glass pics with me.

Terri-Lynne said...

Oh, wow!!! You do the coolest things. I want to play too!

batgirl said...

I'm looking at glass kilns... But Mark will let me use his burn-out oven so I should probably hold off for now.
And um, finish the damned book before throwing myself into another craft.

Terri-Lynne said...

Yes, finishing the book would be a very good thing, indeed. :)