Thursday, February 4, 2010

Heart of Glass: Fusing Glass Attempt Number 2

There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a new life.


So the more I looked at my first plate attempt, the more I didn't like it. It sat on the counter in the kitchen for a few days, and each time I passed by it, I was reminded of the disappointment of first seeing it.It wasn't growing on me at all. But it was more than just the plate that was needling me. After a few days, I sorted out what it was I really didn't like about it.

Glass flower daisy.
I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to art. I admit it. But in most cases it works in my favour. I like to paint with gouache instead of acrylics and oils because gouache doesn't slide around like other paint mediums do. I love carving intricate lino plates because I am quite precise in cuts and I love the challenges of getting plate cut perfectly. My sister often points out that I have attained freak status with a sharp little exacto knife, and it warms my heart every time she says it.

And so I was the same with plate number one. I was straight up proud that with a ruler and a glass cutter, on my first attempt at fitting pieces together, that I impressed the pants off glass veteran Larry. I waited with great anticipation for the plate to come out of the kiln, and the wait was a little painful. I love this feeling. It's the only thing that makes me feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning.

Uber anal-ness illustrated. I might try this design again when the half fused firing are on again.

But while the plate was busy cooking in the kiln, and Larry and I were having a good old glass gab, he told me the plate would be a full fuse. "All those perfectly pointed edges? They'll soften up and round out. You'll see."

No no no! Nothing soft! Nothing round! That's not what I had envisioned!!! That didn't fit my geometric little plate. So when it came out looking more like a big daisy than a serious Islamic geometric design, my heart sank.

It's been a week since I did anything with glass. I wasn't sure I liked it. Until Larry gets back, all the firings in the kiln will be full fuse firings. Soft edges. Less control. Boo. That's when I realised, the problem was not with the full fuse firings, the problem was with me.

I had gone over to Larry's with a full design already planned out in my mind the first time. I had my pattern, and God dang it, I was going to stick to it. Because that's what control freaks do. I needed to find a way to let the glass be glass. I'd have to find a way to do my part, and let the kiln do the rest of the work.

So second attempt, After doing all the other things that needed doing in my day, I went over to the glass studio with zero plan and took out the scrap glass and just began cutting it into little squares and rectangles. I didn't use a ruler, I used pieces that were almost the right shape but existed that way when I found it.

This is what I came up with:

My attempt at being more like my sister. Hap hazard and funky.

I admit at first I had it packed quite tightly, but I don't know how much the layers of glass will spread, so I spaced it out more than I usually would. I probably should have done that before I glue it all down, but live and learn! I make mistakes too.

I forgot my camera last night and so on the way out to walk the dog, I stopped by to catch Mitch (the guy whose looking after Larry's studio while Larry is away) just putting it in with the next round of bottle melting. So these pictures are of my piece in the kiln just as it was going in.

I've no idea what it's going to look like when it comes out. I wonder what the kiln is going to do with it? How much those layers will sink and spread into one another. Right now I think it looks kind of Japanese. If it works out I can imagine serving sushi on it.

Fingers crossed! I get to fish it out tomorrow.
Now nothing to do but wait!

XX Melanie


  1. Tomorrow!? You mean now I have to wait too? Unfair! So far I'm liking the second design better than the first, much more playful!

  2. Ha ha! And who knows when I'll get the pictures up! going to get it tomorrow morning! I'm going to slump the first one. I figure I've got nothing to lose.

  3. There *is* a type of firing that leaves your pieces more clearly defined, the way you want them. I have seen it done.

    Rock on with the glass -- a substance which figures prominently in the story of how I came to Istanbul. But let me not hijack your comments.

  4. Beautiful work Mel! I am enjoying sharing your journey with you. Can't wait to see how this piece turns out. Looks great now as it is!

  5. If you need help starting your new magazine, Uber Anal-ness Illustrated, I'm your girl! ;)