Monday, January 19, 2009

What's In The West Wing?

aka an example of my total lack of research...

Thursday, last week, I ended up spending about 3 solid hours in the studio. After two solid weeks of book project making, the place was a complete disaster. I mean, scary messy. There was no way I could introduce new equipment into the studio with all that crap all over the place.

So clean I did. What I also decided to do was open up a new "wing" in the studio. You can check out the studio before shots, HERE, and HERE. Remember, I put up the shower curtain wall to separate storage from studio. And you know, I really wasn't thinkin' in the summer when I did that because the vent from the heater is on the other side of that wall. So, lol... my side isn't heated, but the storage side is. (stupid... at least it is heated now.) I call this the "West Wing" because of Disney's Beauty and The Beast. Belle was forbidden to go in the West Wing where the Beast was keeping his enchanted rose safe. None of the kids are allowed in that area of Momma's studio because of the uber hot kiln that is now taking up residence there. You can see it sitting on the floor.

When I bought the kiln and accessories from Rio Grande to start fusing glass, I really didn't do much research into what I was buying or the right materials I would need. I figured I could figure it out as I went. Hey, that is what I do right? I fly by the seat of my artistic pants and make it up as I go. If there is one thing I have learned in my nearly 4 years of glass working, it is that you shouldn't wing it when it comes to glass.

Here is just a few of the mistakes I have made so far...

1)The New Kiln ~ blinded by it's ability to reach high temps, I didn't read the fine print closely enough. So the kiln I thought came with a digital temp control, in fact came with a glorified thermometer and a big dial. So, for my first fusing project, I spent the ENTIRE day sitting on a concrete floor and running up and down basement stairs adjusting the temp dial to get the kiln doing what it should. Oh, and to top it off, that thermometer read in Celsius not Fahrenheit, so all the notes I took from my new fusing book about the temp adjustments had to be converted.

(now I need to buy a digital controller for the new kiln, unless I intend to spend every fusing session sitting on the floor next to the kiln)

2)The Glass ~ blinded this time by my overwhelmed imagination filled with new design ideas, I placed an order for sheet glass for fusing in the same coefficient as my lampworking. I didn't pay much attention to the fact that the kit came with different glass, and all the books use different glass. I was trying to be "green" and work with the glass I had on hand, instead of adding a whole new line of glass into the studio. Turns out that 104coe glass isn't good for fusing because it is notoriously incompatible with it's self. There aren't very rigorous tests done on 104coe glass and while that it okay for making beads, it is NOT okay with fusing. It also has trouble with devitrification on the surface of the glass. Which turns pretty colors crappy.

(so now I have $200 of sheet glass in my studio I can't return and won't use... plus I have to buy the right glass for the job)

I would show you photos of the miserable results of my first fusing project, but alas, I forgot to recharge my camera batteries. I think that is for the best though. I wouldn't want to ruin you opinion of my ability to make pretty things with glass, LOL. Trust me when I say, the results of 10hours of kiln babysitting really shouldn't see the light of day.


Christine said...

Yay for glass fusing! I, too, have a small fusing kiln without a digital controller. Babysitting that thing just sucks. Batch annealing beads is just as bad as fusing. One of these days I will afford a kiln with a digital controller. Fusing does take practice, though, so keep trying things out and you'll get there. Use the 104 sheet glass for practice projects! I've had success fusing 104, but I did have more failures first. And hey, if something turns out well, then you're ahead of the game! Have fun!

MsBaubles (AliBaubles) said...

I was giggling reading your post, not at you, but it reminded me of me. I get an idea in my head, the enthusiasm takes, over, and I go running with it, like a bull in a china store :)

I'm sure you will have lots of fun, and start producing bright, fun, stunning things before you know it :)

CreekHiker said...

Kerry, you can cut that glass into strips and make beads with it!

Anonymous said...

hello, this is a little late but can't you return the kiln and get a different one? this does sound like something i would do. i'm kind of glad others do the same types of things that i do! good luck! lisa d., portland, oregon.

Shannon said...

Sheets of glass? Have you ever tried making a stained glass panel? I don't no anything about glass fusing, but I love looking at all the glass sheets for stained glass!