This has been a busy year. Our Art Guild’s weekly Saturday markets have been well-attended and I am grateful for loyal customers. While I haven’t been able to get to photographing large amounts of my work, I have been able to keep up with my Facebook page, as well as the Find My Work and Upcoming Shows pages on this site. It is difficult to do everything well when you do everything for one business.
I have just finished up with a job that started early in the year, and that is co-coordinating the Marketplace for one of our local festivals. I enjoy being a Festival coordinator because it combines my love of interacting with others and attending to detail, attributes which fit well with making and selling jewelry directly to the public.
I hope you will check out my work in person at one of the shows I have listed. I am getting ready to work up some new Ohio pendants for the holiday season in a variety of colors. These have become a big seller and are second in sales only to earrings.
While preparing for the holidays, I hope to spend some time on bracelets and rings. Wish me luck!
My Oh My, How Time Flies! January 2017
Have I really neglected my website for so long? It appears I have. When you do everything yourself, it's easy to miss things.
I am here to say I have a renewed interest in keeping these pages updated. One of my priorities in the upcoming months is to take some new photographs in order to keep you up to date with what is going on in the studio. I have some new equipment that I have had a great time with, making your fused glass jewelry lighter and more comfortable than ever before. Plus, there is always new glass to use.
The best way to see all of my work in one place is to visit me at a show. I cannot possibly photograph everything, so I have decided to take photos of mostly representative pieces. If you want something in a particular color or size, email me and we will go from there. I can always take snapshots of pieces, text or email them to you and then you can decide.
For now, though, back to the studio. I have pieces in the tumbler that I am cleaning up for the library show, which will be installed on February 1. Opening will be on February 14, 2017!
Fusing Glass March 2015
It was suggested that I talk in these pages about the processes I use in the studio. Today I’ll talk a bit about fusing glass. One can go to the Internet to find a great deal written about the process. Supply houses for glass fusing equipment abound, suggesting that anyone can pop a piece or two of glass in an easily-available kiln can produce beautiful, useable pieces. That is basically true.
What I have learned about life, though, is that it takes 10,000 hours of working with something to say you really have some degree of mastery. This is applicable to just about anything. And in the field of glass, no matter what process one uses, certainly this is true. Although I have been working with this material for a total of 16 years at this point (three years from ca. 1991 to 1994, then from 2002 until the present), I continue to learn new things about the medium. Much of what I learn is by trial and error, although I learn from others as well.
Basically, glass fusing involves working with the material while it is cold. It goes into the kiln cold, and comes out of the kiln cold. In the time in between, the glass gets up to 1200 to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes around nine to twelve hours for most cycles that I use, but some people are producing very large, thick pieces that can take days to anneal. I recently read that the lens for the Hubble telescope took a year to anneal!! Annealing is an important step, strengthening the glass by bringing it back to room temperature in a very controlled cycle.
The very most important thing to understand, though, is compatibility. All glass is made up of basically the same ingredients. However, different types of glass have these ingredients in different proportions, causing the glass to expand and contract at differing rates. The standard by which this is measured is known as Coefficiency of Expansion, or COE. All glass workers know the COE with which they work, and know that they cannot mix COEs together, or incompatibility will result. Incompatibility will then cause the glass to break apart. Think of it as the glass becoming liquid in the kiln. If you are trying to fuse two pieces together and one expands (as it heats) and then contracts (as it cools) at different temperatures or speed as the other one, they may stick to one another to some degree, but won’t stay stuck for long. Therefore, if we have different COEs in our studio, they must be carefully labeled and separated, because it is impossible to tell what the COE is from looking at the glass.
When the glass goes into the kiln, it must be absolutely clean and dry. If anything is on the surface, it will become embedded into the final product, impossible to remove (except maybe by grinding it off). I feel extremely fortunate to have my glass studio set up in an old kitchen where I have a large sink.
Every time a piece of glass is cut, industrial diamonds are involved. Supplies are very expensive. In addition to a hand-held cutter, I use glass drill bits, a glass saw and a glass grinder. Saw blades, along with their drive belts, cost $100 each. I can go through one of these in a few days during busy times.
My particular process for producing cabochons, or pieces from which I make jewelry, is to make a tile that is comprised of three layers of glass. The bottom layer is a solid color, the top layer is clear, and the middle layer is usually comprised of dichroic glass. After I make a tile, I cut the pieces out and then they are put back in the kiln for a final firing.