Sunday, May 24, 2015

LATEST POWDER ON FIBER PROJECTS

Life is full of successes and failures. I've had so many successes lately in this new technique of using powder on fiber, that a failure is hard to take. Here is my latest piece, starting from the first firing that developed into "puddles". This was pink powder.

Then for the first time, I added a second color powder, orange, onto the fiber, covering the puddles of pink. Lena's instructions said to spray water over to clean off the fired puddles. I did that on one piece (a real mess), and on this piece decided to use a fan-shaped brush to clean off the orange powder. It worked well, less messy, still took a long time. Here is the piece after the second firing.

It still looks questionable, doesn't it. Well, I forged onward and added a piece of black glass that was cut slightly larger. It is simply beautiful. It is unbelievable. It doesn't look like the same piece. It will be slumped in a 7" square mold.

Now for the failure. I haven't been able to look at this piece for days, as it would have been fantastic. BUT it developed a bubble on the surface. I'll eventually try to grind it, add a layer of clear powder to the top and refire it. I had success with one other piece with a bubble, so maybe it will work. My friend added a decal to cover an imperfection, so that is also a possibility. This piece is about 4" x 12".

Friday, May 15, 2015

RECENT PROJECTS

I've had a dragonfly mold from Colour de Verre for years, but it has never been used ... until a couple days ago. There's a lot of wait time when you are fusing glass, and the garage is toasty warm. Yes, we have cooler days in Southern California, too. So you take advantage of this with embossing, using the hydraulic press, or cutting glass for future fusing projects.

I saw a wonderful video at Creative Paradise for using their dragonfly mold, so had to try one. You can find the videos at their web site under Glass, then Tutorials/Videos. I didn't have the exact colors Stephanie used, but I think my first try came out well! For their coarse dichroic frit, I smashed a small piece of dichroic glass to use in the wings. A 4" piece of 16 gauge copper wire is inserted into the frit before firing, and it can be attached to a stake later. Wouldn't these dragonflies make wonderful additions to potted plants or your flower garden! Next time I make one (maybe today!), I'll be more careful to brush away the glass between the wings. See the extra glass in the photograph.

I've been doing more fused glass projects using the powder on fiber method. The first photo shows my two pieces with powders before the first firing. This was on Mother's Day, and I told my friend I was doing a "wild and crazy" piece in honor of this day! I'm sure you can tell which one that was....

Here are closeups of these two pieces showing the "puddles" formed after the first firing. My daughter looked in the kiln and just shook her head ... (no appreciation of Mom's art work, I guess). Ha. I have added a clear piece of glass on top and will fire a second time.

See the difference with the clear glass on top? They are looking better!

I added a piece of black glass to the bottom of the pieces and ... WOW, the colors have popped and they really look good!

I slumped "Wild and Crazy" into my new mold yesterday. This mold has sharp points on each end, so cutting the glass to fit the shape was not easy. I ended up rounding the ends and balancing the glass in the mold. In my first attempt, something made me look into the kiln at 400 degrees. The glass had slipped down one end, the other end was sticking up!! The Kiln God was definitely looking over that piece. I waited for the kiln to cool, reset the piece on the mold and never left its side until the glass started to sag into the mold. I am slumping the other piece now, and at 560 degrees it is still sitting pretty on the mold.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A NEW DIE FOR THE HYDRAULIC PRESS

I've always liked this curved shape. It was like putting a puzzle together, dividing a small piece of paper into four parts, folding it and trying to duplicate each part. Oh well, it's not perfect, but I like it! I copied it to the protective paper on the acrylic plexiglass, drilled a hole for my saw blade and cut out the shape.
I annealed several pieces and used my favorite heart texture plate.
HEY, WHAT IS THAT PIECE IN THE RIGHT CORNER? It's a skeleton leaf run through the rolling mill on a piece of copper! Isn't it beautiful? I just got a packet of 100 yesterday ... Think of all the possibilities!!
Here is the new die with all the curves. I love it!
I made a few more pieces using the heart texture on the other dies I had made.
These were the smaller oval forms.
The long skinny ovals. I really like these!
And, again, the new die shape and another heart.
Next on my list is to make a smaller heart shape die. AND since I have only two 3" plexiglass pieces left that came with my form box kit, I'll have Google how to cut my 10" x 10" sheets into pieces.

AND ... now that I have all these pressed pieces, it's time to start creating pendants.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

GARDEN SURPRISES!!

I took a quick walk around the house before the rain starts ... YES! RAIN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA THIS AFTERNOON AND TOMORROW! And imagine my surprise when I saw a little color inside one of my tomato plants ... as well as a small zucchini.
And I'm sure to have a few blackberries again.
The kumquat tree is loaded. Have you ever popped a whole kumquat into your mouth? The skin is sweet, while the inside is tart. So delicious.

NEW EMBOSSED NAPKIN RINGS

I was so excited to sell my first set of embossed napkin rings a few days ago! They are so much fun to make ... so I made a few more sets. Before I add the photos, I want to share my feather earrings.

Copper pieces were first folded in half, annealed, opened up and hammered flat. The fold was still there. Then using my new feather die for the hydraulic press, the feather pattern was cut. I reshaped them a little and added texture. Then did a little wire wrapping, added the jump rings and dipped them in liver of sulphur patina. So cute! I'm keeping a pair for myself.
Here are a few of the new napkin rings. I love the swirl patterns!

I'm not sure about this butterfly set. I have a smaller butterfly embossing folder I'll try next.
This one has a very sweet floral pattern. Not the greatest photo ...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

TWO POWDER ON FIBER PIECES

My kiln got a rest today, as all the pieces waiting to be slumped are finished!!! In my last post, I showed a photo of three pieces still in the kiln. I cut them with curved sides to fit a shallow bowl mold I recently purchased. I slumped two of them in 7" square molds and really like the shape better. I LOVE creating these crackle patterns! Tomorrow I'll start on more pieces.

Friday, May 1, 2015

POWDER ON FIBER PIECES

I've finished a few pieces and am working on a few more. You know, waiting for the kiln to cool and then opening it compares to being a child at Christmas time ... it's so exciting. Be sure to read my April 16th post if you are interested in this technique and want to order the ebook by Lena Beckeus.

Here are two little bowls I just love. They are made with a small 5" Bullseye mold with a round bottom, so they will rock if you push them. Perfect for holding your earrings or keys at the end of the day. I love the puddles of powder!

Here is the rectangular dish that measures 4" x 10".

And the 7" square dish:

The next pieces are made a little differently, by adding glass on top of the powders and then firing. Without the glass on top you get "puddles"; with the glass you see a crackle effect. Simply beautiful. I followed my friend Drewcilla's example, by putting black glass behind and firing again. The richness it added is incredible.

Here's an experiment I did on a small coaster. I love this combination.

I'll be working on these three pieces that are cooling in the kiln. They were fired with glass on top of the powders. You can see there is a lot of cold working to do around the edges. Can't wait to see how they will look with black glass on the back! Winner, Winner ... Chicken Dinner!

Monday, April 27, 2015

FAILURE AND SUCCESSES

It's been an exciting morning. I couldn't wait to try the three dies. I cut a 3" square piece of copper sheet (26 gauge) and ran it through the rolling mill with one of the brass texture plates I have. Next, the piece was annealed and flattened. It had to be trimmed a bit since the rolling mill stretched it.

Here are the three dies and metal ready to go. Will try the heart die first.

OH NO!!! Too many pulls of the hydraulic press lever, and the metal got pushed to the bottom! It even has an impression of the little hole in the bottom of the form box.

I didn't notice until I turned it over that the metal had actually ripped!

We're not done yet. Another piece of copper was textured, annealed and pressed. This time I pulled the lever three times instead of six. A perfect heart! How exciting!

I cut and textured two more pieces for the other dies.

Three pulls of the lever seems to be good. Should I try four? I love these pieces and want to make them into pendants. Will cut them, leaving an edge that will be riveted to a back piece. A successful morning! I'll try 24 gauge copper next.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

DIES FOR THE HYDRAULIC PRESS

I created a few shapes with my Cameo Silhouette today and cut them out on card stock. The 3" plexiglass pieces have a paper coating on both sides to protect the surface, so it was easy to trace the patterns. I chose three and drilled a small hole in each so I could insert my spiral blade.


Cutting with the spiral blade was really a slow process. It took much longer than cutting through metal. These blades are very sturdy and I wonder if they ever break. I was using a #4. Here I am half way done cutting out the heart shape!

Finished! I have the others to do and hopefully will try out one tomorrow.