Hey, Happy Crafters! This summer heat hasn't stopped us from running the kiln and keeping busy experimenting with some -new to us- frit colors. Here is what we have been up to!
The colors we are using, pictured above, are all medium size coe 96 frit and were purchased from www.delphi.com. We also included mosaic size clear and medium dichro frit in each of these experiments.
I have been using a teaspoon measuring spoon to scoop the frit into the mold, which I also purchased from Delphi glass, and primed with ZYP boron Nitride aerosol spray. I probably should be measuring my frit amounts by weight, but here we are. :p
Making this sample set of cabochons, our goal was to get a good idea of how each color of frit fired. Our next phase of testing will be sampling two colors per mold well to see if any of them react with each other.
We ran out of green colors of frit, so we used purple and white as well to fill out the mold. We then added a bit of dichro frit to each mold well then capped it all with as much mosaic sized clear frit as we could fit.
The smaller the size of frit you are using, the more bubbles there may be in your pieces. I personally love the look of random bubbles in my fused glass pieces, but this is something to keep in mind.
Pictured above is how it looks when we opened the kiln back up after firing. Our kiln is a paragon CS-16s, with an interior of 16x16x8". As I write this we have multiple kiln shelves on back order from a variety of companies but there is no telling when they will be available because of production facilities shutting down due to the pandemic. So currently we are using molds on kiln posts and an 8" kiln shelf.
I absolutely love the way these fused glass pieces are coming out and I can't wait to experiment more!
I am having a hard time picking my favorite: which color do you like best and which two would you like to see blended together?
After it was eaten by a lawn mower I decided it was finally time to refurbish this much abused Gnome Home and give it another 3 years of testing in my garden. I will update this blog post with a link to the video of how I renovated this piece.
The new base of this fairy house is a piece of quartz crystal we mined at Ron Coleman's Crystal mine on Mt Ida in Arkansas last summer. I used a fair bit of Apoxie Sculpt to adhere the old fairy house and newly baked polyclay mushrooms to the quartz and it seems to be holding very well!
Planning for the new design, I knew I wanted it to be interesting from every angle so there is a full landscaping all around the house as it is going to be a center piece for a round table. in addition to the apoxie sculpt and polymer clay I used tumbled quartz and green aventurine as the "hardscape".
All the "silk floral" is actually rubber; I am Very interested in field testing it to see if it fades or deteriorates over time. I went with a predominantly succulent theme because 1.) faux succulents tend to be the material I was looking for and 2.) they're the cutest little plants I've ever met and I love their little button leaves.
Also, Did I mention it glows in the dark as well as houses a removable LED tea light?
Our First Fused Glass Projects <3
Randy and I went to our first class at Creative Escape Glass in Springfield, MO. We were excited about glass fusing, but not sure what to expect. We signed up for two projects on this first visit, frit fused cabs in a mold, and puddles. The artist that helped us make these projects was very fun and helpful, and I stalk her on Instagram where she shares her beautiful pottery! ( I gotta get me one of her cicada mugs!!!) The owner wasn't in the studio that day, but I felt we were in very good hands.
Our first project, pictured above, was frit layered into a mold for fusing. I didn't get pictures, but what we did is we layered the frit into a mold very similar to this one, that had been sprayed with 2 coats of ZYP Boron Nitride to keep the glass from sticking.
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Our second project during this visit to the studio was to make puddle cabs: a two step process where you stack, fuse, smash, and fuse a final time. These puddle cabs will be the featured project for this blog entry.
We started off by cutting 2" squares from bins of scrap glass, so I'm not certain of that color names we used, but I am fairly certain that all the glass is bullseye brand 90 COE.
We used a morton cutting system and a collection of pistol grip glass cutter, grozing pliers, and running pliers (shown below) to cut out our shapes.
We then stacked the squares and left them to be fused. I don't know what the firing schedule was, as that was done by the studio owner, but here is how they came out:
Randy's puddle is the completely blue tone glass on the left, and mine (Yvonne's) is on the right; I was Not expecting the milky/cream glass to turn this salmon red color when fired, so I have made a note to myself in our own budding glass studio to be Very careful with labeling/storing striker glass separately to avoid these kinds of surprises.
The next step was to literally smash the glass wrapped in a towel with a 4lb sledge on a small anvil. We got a bit of video of the smashing, but as this is my first blog post -ever- I'm not sure how to put a video in, so we'll save that for a future post ;)
After smashing the glass, we used a glass grinder very similar to this one to make so that some of the puddle shards would sit on their side without toppling over. Even with our efforts to make flat bottoms, some pieces still fell over in the kiln while fusing.
We also had prepped some unglazed ceramic tiles with 5 layers of kiln wash, each layer applied in a different direction with a very wide haik brush. This keeps the glass from sticking to the tile, which we were using as a small portable kiln shelf.
Kiln shelf, Haik Brush, and Kiln wash
This is how the smashed pieces of puddle looked from the top and side before firing.
Randy's Puddles before firing
Yvonne's Puddles before firing
We were not present for the 2nd firing of the puddles so I don't know what the firing schedule was, but the term "full fuse" came up a lot.
One of the kilns at the studio that I am interested in investing in for our home studio is the Jen-Ken Kiln - AF3P ProFusion Fiber 16 which I have found a similar kiln online from one of my favorite glass companies, Delphi Glass, with the very nice TAP controller. Hopefully we'll be able to welcome this kiln to the family before too long!
We returned to the studio the following week to pick up our finished puddles, and we are immensely pleased with how they came out! We will be including these First Time Puddles in our Jumbo Craft Along Kits for March, 2020.
Thank you for stopping by!
Like I mentioned, this is my first-ever blog post so I am really excited to start exploring this new medium of sharing crafty shenanigans with yall! If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below, and if you'd like to support our work and join our Craft Along Club, check us out on Patreon
Yvonne Williams is an artisan educator and Craft-Addict who currently resides in South Western Missouri. As lead designer of Back to Earth Creations, she specializes in Mixed Media with focuses on Wire wrapping, polymer clay, chainmaille,and leather working. With the help of her partner in all things, Randy, she runs two youtube channels, active social media accounts, hosts weekly livestreams and monthly auctions, and manages a small urban homestead.