Sunday, 30 December 2007

Glass fusing-How To start!

Hello again!
I'm finally starting to get the hang of this blogging thing!.. I'm making it one of my New Years resolutions to make at least 3 posts per week...I think I'll be able to stick to that more than I will for my one to go to the gymn..I'll be able to sit doing this.
Anyways. I've been making some of my patterned dichroic pendants today. I love these ones using the textured dichroic glass because when the light hits them they turn all sorts of colours. They can be a bit more tricky to use than normal glass because when the glass melts it can melt and fuse unevenly but the result when it turns out are worth it.

No sooner have we gotten rid of Christmas (the brussel sprouts are still repeating on me!) than Valentines day is upon us! I've been making these Heart Dichroic Pendants for the occasion!... well not just for Valentines day, they are quite cute!

I often get questions about where exactly I learned to fuse glass and how I started. Many glass fusers can be a little bit precious about giving away details, almost as though they're protecting some dark secret.The truth is I taught myself!

I used to teach jewellery making a few years back and stumble upon dichroic glass when I was using beads. I google how it was made and became fascinated! I bought a small Paragon Kiln, a brilliant glass fusing book by Brad Walker called Contemporary Glass Fusing and some glass and away I went.
The company I bought the glass from were excellent, really helpful and I use them as my main supplier now.

I made a hell of a lot of mistakes in the early days and I still do but the learning process is key to coming up with brilliant ideas...or at least ideas that I think are brilliant. There's nothing about glass fusing you can't learn by googling...or by trial and error!

In the coming weeks I'll put some more tutorials up...I'll start with making a simple dichroic pendant, this week.


Saturday, 29 December 2007

Back to busy busy busy!

Back to work again today...what fun! I love what I do really but the first ten minutes while I get into my stride can be a chore!
My glass suppliers are still on holiday so i'm using up all my scrap glass. I always find that the times when I've got the least amount of glass are the most creative for some reason. Aside from my usual tapestry dichroic pendants, i've been adding some 'icon' dichroic pendants too.

I call these ones icons because they are usually long and thin like an exclaimation mark. I've added a few to my website that are slightly chunkier than usual but I love the mix of coloured glass! They're a lot of work because it takes at least 3 firings to make each one but they're very contemporary looking....I wish I wore my own pieces sometimes but I think it'd look a bit odd on a bloke.

Aswell as using up my scrap i'm also using up all of my seconds. On an earlier blog I mentioned a plate I made from glass cabs...well here's a set of dichroic coasters made from them...I slumped these with a curve so they'd actually be excellent as candle holders.

I got a few differently shaped pieces firing at the moment so i'll post pics when they're done.

I've been spending the evening looking for inspiration on the web. In between chatting on the artforum and ukcraftforum I was on the chutneybeads site. I really love their's always big and the site it's so colourful! I've worked with them before actually, producing glass beads but I might have a go at making some chunky bracelets..they look fab!

Right...i'm off to google a gym to work off the Christmas excess!


Thursday, 27 December 2007

It's the end of the year as we know it...

Well at last the madness is over! As much as I love Christmas, you get to about 4pm on Christmas day and wonder what all the fuss was for!

I'm still busy busy busy though! I currently having a dichroic glass jewellery sale. I'm making way for new stock and doing a bit of a stocktake at the same time. I have withdrawal symptoms when I can't turn my kiln on so the sooner I get back to normal the better.

I've been making some extra large dichroic glass pendants and also some dichroic glass earrings...I need to make so many more but time and glass are always in short supply at the moment!

Incase you're not aware, I'm based in the heart of Liverpool City Centre and in the midst of all of the Christmas hubbub the city is busy preparing for it being the 2008 European Capital of Culture. I'm submitting my work to several local organisations the are making the most of the cities focus on 'culture'...whatever that means. ...I'll post the details as soon as/if i'm accepted. For now's a view art/culture/crafts sites in and around the city that i'm currently excited about!-

I'll be back soon...and hopefully with another tutorial.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Bit of a Tutorial...well , ish

Hello again!!...

Thought I'd do a bit of a 'show and tell' this time on one of my dichroic bangles. This piece is one from my new tartan inspired dichroic jewellery range. Firstly....forgive the bad photography and if you get any glimpses of my apartment, sorry for the's too near Christmas for housekeeping!
First off...I use stringers for the tartan pattern. To get them nice and neat I use a textured glass called reed which has evenly spaced grooves for them to rest in. Stringers are basically glass rods. I use the 1mm ones in these pieces. Depending on the pattern I mix transluscent and opal ones to get a good mix of colours.

The pics show just how much glue I use! I use glass fusing glue that burns of nicely when the glass is fired.

Here's the glass after the glass is layered...I'm not at all precise in the cut at this stage as the next step is firing the glass. I 'tac' fuse the glass at this point. This level of fusing in the kiln adheres the glass to each other but keeps the texture of it at the same time.
When the glass is completely cool I cut it to the required shape. Because it's been tac fused the glass doesn't fall apart when it's cut.

I use 2 layers of the stringer glass for the pattern and a clear top layer slightly larger than the other to fuse over...I also add a dichroic glass piece to the top with the pattern on the top side which give the finished piece a metallic highlight.

Once the glass is fully fused I grind it to take away all the sharp edges and round off the corners. I then fully fuse it again.
After all that it's ready for shaping. I 'slump' fuse the glass over a steel mandrel to get the required shape...very hot work! Once that's all cool I can take the bracelet out and see if it's the right size. If I need to enlarge or shorten it, it'll need to go back into the kiln yet again!

And here's the finished piece! Check out my other dichroic bangles here!


Saturday, 15 December 2007

Hello again!!...
Just a quick one after XFactor! In addition to my fused glass jewellery I also am concentrating on these fused glass coasters. I've got a few on the website and i'm making more as I type. Hopefully there'll be lots on the site in time to ring in the new year!
Also, I'm starting my end of year sale early so checkout some dichroic glass bargains on my ebay shop!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

...The Weather Outside is Frightfull

Hello again and Merry Christmas!!...well nearly. Just under 2 weeks to go till Christmas and i'm very festive! I've been a bit busier than expected on the run up to the holidays but things are going well so I can't complain.
I've been working on a few dichroic glass jewellery collections which i'm pleased with. The main one is this one pictured....I call them tartan dichroic glass.

I'll put a tutorial with some pics of the manufacture off the pendants in the next week of so. They look really nice up close because you'll see how the fused glass layers. These are going to be a part of my 'collections' range...mix and match dichroic pendants, dichroic earrings and dichroic bangles designed so people can coordinate their jewellery.
I love this I had to post a picture. I love the texture dichroic glass because as you hold it up you get so many different colours!

This piece is part of my 'patterned' collection of dichroic glass pendants.

More dichroic bangles!

I've had a run on bangles so i'm busy making more up, plus a few relative have asked for one for Christmas presents. These are probably my favourite things to make because I love getting right into the kiln when it's on. Despite the cold my apartment is toasty!
This piece is from my 'Tapestry' dichroic pendants collection....I love this one because of the new aqua dichroic glass's fab!

I'll be making a few more posts this week, i'm feeling very locacious!...Check back for new posts plus a tutorial!
ttfn Phil

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Dichroic Glass Plates

I've been completing the last of my Christmas orders and starting the January sales preparations (there's always something!). To give myself a bit of a break from making the dichroic glass jewellery I decided to make some dichroic glass plates. These ones are for an special order but i'll be making more and also some fused glass coasters to add to the site.
These are made by fusing together dichroic glass cabs. Then shaping them to give them a slight curve. They look so much better in real life!
Anyway...still making so must check the kiln!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

There are just never enough hours!

All this festivity is slowing down my glass fusing!

I'm still working on five things at once and not finishing anything!

The website is still in it's infancy and i'm still trying to stock it up!...I've had a few orders already which i'm not complaining about at all!...As i'm adding things they're selling!

I've had a run on dichroic glass bangles especially, as well as dichroic glass pendants with sterling findings.

The bracelets are made in 3 firings. The first to fuse the glass, the second to shape them and the third to mold the glass around the bracelet form....I some time then have to refire them to size them up for larger wrists.

These are some i've made that i'm going to make into collection pieces...dichroic glass earrings, pendants, bracelets and rings all made from the same types of glass so they can be mixed and matched. I already make dichroic glass pendant and earrings sets but I wanted to make them more flexible.
I've got an exciting idea that i'm also formulating for next Christmas....combining crafters from different disciplines to produce packs of decorations home accesories etc. Details to follow.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

BBC Watchdog Program and Ebay

The BBC had an item on their 'Watchdog' program tonight about ebay's feedback system.
People are going about spending £1000's on ebay item with out even glancing at people's feedback!....I makes me soo angry!
I sell fused glass dichroic glass jewellery. I sell discounted dichroic jewellery on ebay and have to compete with lots of Asain base sellers selling fakes with feedback that's on the floor. It seems people can ignore sellers getting 30+ negative ratings per month if they can pay 10p for an item....even though the postage costs £5 or more.

Please use your head when buying on ebay, check's mine!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

More sparklies!

....just a quick one.

I'm now adding a lot more sterling silver backed dichroic glass pieces like these...

Plus extra large fused glass dichroic pendants. They're massive! Real statement pieces!

I've been looking at venues and galleries to show some of my work as pictures never really do the glass justice I think. I'm hoping to have my work exhibited at a quite prestigious gallery in Liverpool very soon (subject to a board meeeting no less). Details will be posted soon.
I've also joined which is a showcase for Merseyside based art and artists. As the capital of culture is fast approaching I suppose I might as well take advantage of the extra attention in the city!...although if it's anything like last night when whole sections of Liverpool City centre were cordoned off for the arrival of the Queen for the Royal variety performance at the Liverpool Empire, we're in for trouble. I couldn't move!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Christmas!! Ahhhh

I've not bought one Christmas pressy yet! The though of trudging through the crowds all panicing like mad to get their hands on a Nintendo Wii is too much to bear though so i'm internet shopping this year methinks!

I've beening working on dichroic glass pendant and earrings sets this week for people who like to wear matching fused glass set.

Making these dichroic sets can be a bit of a nightmare as matching up the dichroic patterns is tricky.
I'm quite looking forward to the Christmas break so I can work on a few new lines...especially some fused glass plates and coasters. I'm also going to concentrating on my website a little more, adding more stock etc
I'm now offering wholesale dichroic and fused glass jewellery to shops and other retails outlets so get intouch if you're interested.
Also I'm combining a links page with lots of crafts links hopefully to increase my 'organic' presence on the web and enable be to get a bit more creative with glass! Again, send me a message if you're interested and want to swap links.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

So much to do little time!

I think I planned the last 4 months of this year very badly!

No thanks to the Royal Mail strike ...which I keep harping on about but that set me back quite a lot. I then decided to launch the web site.. , have a redesign of my ebay site .. ...and try out 9-10 new designs!

When I get a spare few days over Christmas I'll sit down and and really figure this blog thing out but at the moment my days is spent making cufflinks and bangles!...when i'm not doing that i'm adding myself to seo directories so I can scrape myself off pg55 on google (to be fair I'm guessing that that's my ranking...i'm not on pg 1 at least!).

For now though I'll just add a few images of the last few days work and a few helpful links of crafty forums I use..
....both offer a variety of info on most crafts with lots of cross-medium discussions...very helpful and lovely people!
Toodles x

Thursday, 15 November 2007

I don't know why but people seem to be leaving Christmas shopping till the last minute this year. Not like last year when the rush started in August!

I'm trying to expand more into home wares and so i'm exploring the craft forums to see if anyone can inspire me. I'm looking for some candle makers to collaborate with, to perhaps put together some gift hampers for next year (I come up with ideas on the run upto Christmas but forget them by Boxing day!).... I'm thinking some scented candles, on some handmade coasters...with maybe some handmade soaps or some such.

I'm still getting together some pieces for some Christmas Fayres....trying not to be distracted by the Nintendo Wii....i'm getting 3 hours sleep a night!

Today, I have been mostly making (eating ardvarks) earrings and also using different techniques in making the items I already tapestry. I've been encorpoarting stringers etc for a more colourul design

These pendants are one of myfavourite types....I call them 'patchwork' because that's what the initial inspiration came from, patchwork textile. They're quite popular as gifts for people in sewing circles so i'm told!

As part of the Liverpool Capital of Culture i'll be doing some small exhibitions in 2008. I'll update both the site and blog when I nail down the dates but i'm very excited about it. As people who deal with me regularly know, i'm based in the heart of Liverpool....I live over the road from the Liver Building (and conveniantly over a pub) so i'll be very proad to be a part of the fiesta...even if it's on a miniscule scale.



Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Christmas rush is on!... I'm busy, busy getting orders together now for last minute Christmas sellers and crafts fayres. Hopefully this will bring things back to normal after the postage strikes which hit me really hard....but I mustn't moan...people keep telling me. I'm going to be displaying my work at a few fayres before Christmas and i'll put the details up as and when they're confirmed.

I'm hopefully going to be adding some new lines very soon if santa brings me some toys for Christmas.

Here's a few i've added to the site....i'm calling them 'sun-drop' dichroic pendants. They're coloured glass pendants with a few layers of exposed dichroic glass on top....they don't photograph too well but really do look good up close!

I've also been doing lots of my 'signature' pieces...the 'tapestry' pendants. I make these alot and they go down really well...they become quite addictive though!

These are bigger than usual dichroic pieces..don't you just hate paying money for jewellery that you need to go to Jodrell Bank to see!
After the Christmas madness i'm going to start making components for jewellery makers, pmc artists etc....i'll start adding the pics asap and flogging to beading peeps to see how to improve them. I make alot of pendants and earrings but I want to focus more and bracelets etc.
Once i've gotten used to 'blogging' I'll start adding instructions incase anyone is interested in how I make the's not rocket science I promise!
Anyways must go-kiln's beeping

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

It's late. This is the first time I've really sat down all day because I'm so busy...i've got a few hours work to do before I can stop though!

The problem with working with kilns is that you've really got to timetable your day around firing scheduales...i've spelt that incorrectly but at this point I don't care.

I've working on another order today that i've not been able to get to for a few days because i've not been to well. I shouldn't really be working but to be honest I think it helps. Here's a few pieces from today's lot.....


The cufflinks seem to be popular at the mo...Christmas is coming and I think they're what people buy for 'hard to buy for' dads but i'm not complaining!

I had a bit of an accident in my delirium before involving me grabbing hold of a kiln shelf and misreading the temp read out.....I thought it said actually said 500c. There was some burning, an explosion, some swearing and some general unpleasantness but it's all good now. These little accidents give me enough paranoia about the way I work to make me extra careful in the future!....anyway....

Christmas is coming!....I bought my first Christmas decs from a craft forum..
..I thought they were fab! Nothing says christmas like chickens! They're from is their etsy link. The website link is on the blog and they're soo cute. A like to add a few unusual pieces to me Christmas tree every year to add a bit of character and these certainly have that!...
Anyway, must persevere!.. is taking over my life!

Monday, 5 November 2007

I've gone a bit bangle mad at the moment!...I'm preparing a big order for a gallery and also adding them to my website... .

They take a bit more work but they do become a bit additive once you get the knack of making them. I've been making fused glass pieces for about 3 years now...mainly dichroic. I trawl through the internet for inspiration and came across one artist making something similar.

After a lot of research found out how to do it...but...I needed a new kiln! I'm upto 3 at the moment so space is getting precious! The problem was that my other kilns either had the heating element at the back or top so the pieces weren't fired evenly enough....oh well, if I must I must.

I found a glass supplier with an offer on... and away I went! I can't recommend these guys enough by the way...I pester them on a regular basis and they're so helpful!..Probably the best company I deal with in terms of customer service too!

As soon as I can i'm going to make a load up in a variety of sizes as one revelation has been that no 2 people have similar sizing!

The Christmas rush is now on (finally) so it's back to the mines!

....oo nepotistic plug. We're an arty lot in my family. Check out my sister-in-law's website. She makes fab personalised babywear...she's getting alot of buzz about her work lately and rightly so!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Hello...and welcome to my glass kanvas blog!

I've been making and selling fused glass jewellery for a few years now...on ebay and now on my brand new website!.... /

...I've decided to start a blog, mainly because the few random blurbs I put out via ebay seemed to get attention, but also because I wanted to put a more human face to my business. There's a lot of poorly made, mass-produce pieces out there and I just wanted to show by sharing my thoughts on this blog that I produce my work myself...and how much I stress over them!

I'll be adding favourite glass links...suppliers, and other artists whos work I admire as well as other jewellers and crafts links...
...for now though, check out the site and i'll be back very soon!