Monday, 28 January 2008
Monday, 21 January 2008
Ok so.... You've started fusing glass. You've obliterated lots, cracked some, got annoying white mark on others, but you've had fun along the way!
When you're making dichroic glass jewellery experimentation is the key. I'm going to list a few of my favourite fusing gimmicks. Inclusions when it comes to fused glass means just what it sounds like... materials fused into the glass. There are lots of thing you can add some will work some will just burn away, but it's always interesting.
Here's the main lot
- cubic zirconia
There are several popular choices when it comes to adding metals the mains ones being vanadium, silver, gold and copper. You should buy metals specifically for glass fusing if you want the best results. My favourite to use is copper.
This is a small mock up pendant I made to show the copper.. I use punches designed for card making to give me some nice crisp shapes. The copper won't blunt them, in fact the manufacturers say it will actually sharpen the punch. Copper leaf available from craft stores burns away however i've found that copper tape, the type used by stained glass artists looks good in the glass. One thing you need to remember when using any metal is that the inclusion must not touch the edges of the glass as it's fusing otherwise it'll come out lobsided.
This dichroic fused glass heart, part of my new ETSY shop has delicate gold leaf inclusions. Gold and silver leaf are unpredictable when fused into glass. Silver can burn away but it can also react with dichroic coatings with some beautiful results....try it with purple dichroic on clear-the effect is stunning. Silver wire can be fused directly into glass for bails or earwires. Make sure it's pure silver (999) otherwise it'll discolour. I've also fuses brass wire into glass before..it oxidises and gives off bubbles but I though it looked great!
There are several powders you can fuse into glass. These are used to either promote bubbles, to tint the glass or to give metal sheens. Mica powders can be fused into or on top of your glass for metal looks and come in a variety of shades. There are new bubble effect powders coming onto the market all the time. Delphiglass sells some now too. They look best with transparent glass and can give coloured bubbles. You can also try metal oxides, the type used in ceramics to give interesting effects...specifically copper oxide (black).
In this patterned dichroic pendant i've created the bubbles using good old fashioned sodium bicarbonate (bicarb). I love this effect! It looks like bubble rippling through water! I very carefully sprinkled some half way through the glass...in this case I used a bottom layer of dichroic glass and 3, 2mm clear bullseye layers on top. All of these powders need to be used with care. Use in ventilated areas and wear face masks...and remember less is more. If you hear a pop coming from the direction of your kiln...you've used too much!
Another good thing to use on you fused glass projects is Cubic Zirconia. Use it for a really special highlight. It takes a little more work but looks cool!
On this piece from my dichroic glass website, I fused a cab as normal then used a dremmel tool with a diamond tip to drill a small hole into the top of the piece. The hole should be big enough to allow the cubic zirconia to fit in while you refuse. It doesn't need to be a perfect fit, the glass will hold it in place after the fuse.
I'll try an add a few more images of my experiments as I finish them....
I'll be back soon but my bed is calling! TTFN
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
I'll be adding another tutorial in the next day or so, this time about inclusions...ie metals and other things fused into the glass so check back for more.
The images on this blog are from my latest batch out of the kiln today. I've been working with purple dichroic glass a lot as i'm getting quite a few request for it. I love the look of the textured dichroic pendants in purple. They're really tactile...it's just a shame they don't photograph as well as they look up close.
The other images are pendants from my patchwork dichroic glass pendants...inspired by textiles! I get a lot of quilter after these would you believe!
Since the last few blogs i've recieved a few emails about fashion jewellery, designer jewellery and fused glass jewellery. In particular i've recieved quite a questions about where to find suppliers in the UK. Here's a few bullet points
- Try www.warm-glass.co.uk for all your fusing supplies. They're cheap, really helpful and offer brilliant service....i'm not on commision I promise but when I come across a great company I think it deserves a mention!
- Buy Brad Walker's Contemporary Warm Glass...there's a link at the top of the blog. I might be a bit pricey but you'll keep coming back to it time after time...I.still do. It's also packed with images to inspire.
- Research your kiln!...I'd recommend the Paragon Sc2. There are cheaper kilns but this one has an excellent timer and is programmable....also my one has lasted 4 years now and get used a lot so it's a reliable machine!
- Don't buy a lot of expensive dichroic till you're confident at both cutting and fusing your glass. Warm-glass offers scrap packs and starter kits to help you get into the swing of things!
Whilst nosing around the internet I came across this excellent blog about jewellery making .. http://www.howtojewellery.co.uk/ . I spent a little too much time on it so need to go do some work!
Friday, 11 January 2008
Bit of a break from the dichroic glass jewellery stuff...
Now that i'm back on my feet I decided to venture out to the opening of the Liverpool Capital Of Culture Year...and it was great!
Now, usually i'm the first to scoff the term 'culture' and Liverpool being in the same sentence. Liverpool for too long has relied on the Beatles for it's cultural smarts but finally we're looking beyond the sixties....too be honest I never really 'got' the Beatles. I made the mistake of saying that too loudly in the pub once and was nearly bounced out!
Liverpool at the moment has got a really strong undercurrent of art and art based programs. It's always has a strong showing in literature, music and art which has too long been ignored. The Liverpool Culture Company and city council have put together a good program of events for the year but it's the people that have the creativity. Ok, so in the crowd there was the ever present 'leafy' smell of the scallies....like an Amsterdam coffee shop but the tens of thousands that turned out to show the support for the city are the real voice. It's just a shame that the Liberal council we have at the moment are so scared of doing anything exciting and truely inspiring, the year was only saved by the late intervention of Phil Redmond.
I was out there in the cold for an hour or so with the multitudes and the show was excellent with guitar playing absailers, light shows and fireworks keeping us warm.
There were 2 decidedly 'dodgy' bits though; like the collection of so-called celebs wheeled out to waved at us like we were commoners to their scouse royalty, and also the truely awful song by Ringo Star which was nearly enough to see my dinner again. Hideous.
Anywho...back very soon!
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
1.Never throw your scrap away! Whether it's mishapes, mistake or odds and ends...guaranteed you'll find something exciting to do with it as you grow in confidence!
Sunday, 6 January 2008
Anywho....today I learned how to use youtube yeh!...A small victory I know, but hey there are always stepping stones to greatness....or in my case adequecy.
Here's my youtube vid!
Saturday, 5 January 2008
Anyway, since I can't go out I've decided to do another tutorial. This time a simple dichroic glass flower pendant. These will soon be available on my website with my other dichroic glass pendants. Don't forget that i'm having new year sale on my ebay site too!
Anyways.. To start off we need to make 6 small cabs for the centre of the flower and the five petals. I tend to use cm's when cutting to size so I cut 6, 1cm square pieces of dichroic glass. I use 2mm fusing glass so to give each cab a nice rounded look I add 2 layers of clear fusing glass on top of it...again 1cm square.
Because i'm adding 2 layers of clear on top I don't really need to add the 2mm overlap I'd need if I was making a larger item. The dichroic shouldn't seep out. Also...If I was making a finished cab for mounting etc, I'd add another layer of clear to give it a bit more depth. Because this is going to be refired it's best to keep it relatively small. Fire to a full fuse.
Here's the fired cabs. Although you can't tell from the pic, there's 2 pink and one silver, all the same size.
The next thing to do is assemble the piece together on the kiln shelf. The cabs should be of the same size to prevent the glass becoming lob-sided whilst firing and care should be given to make sure the outside cabs are evenly parted and are touching the central cab. If the outside cabs are too close to each other they'll fuse together. They must touch the central one also otherwise they'll fuse separately. I don't use glue. Just say a little prayer and don't get shakey as you put them into the kiln and i'm sure they'll come out right.Refire to a full fuse.
Here's a few of the finished pieces. I made a few. Remember if you want a smaller pendant you need to scale the sizing down evenly- ie, the larger flower pendant is made from 1cm square cabs, the smaller from 1/2 cm cabs. If you're really clever you can do even smaller ones for earrings...too be honest I lack the patience at the moment because of my man flu....erm virus, whatever!
I'm sure I've left glaring holes in my howto's but feel free to let me know if I have!
On my next post i'll put together some golden rules for glass fusing so check back.
...on a completely different note. I got a mention on another website...http://craftgossip.com/. And here's the link...http://jewelrymaking.craftgossip.com/dichroic-beginner-tutorial/2008/01/04/
This is a really great resource for any crafter so check it out...I spent way too much time on it today in between doses of antivirals. *coughs*.
Another great link for crafters is www.craftcast.com . It has a weekly podcast on crafting...probably the best i've come across and it's great for picking up info...it's kind of like Oprah but with glue and sticky-back plastic. Enjoy!
Friday, 4 January 2008
To start off the tutorials i'm doing the simplest type of dichroic glass pendant-The patterned dichroic glass pendant ...there are many tricks and tweeks you so can throw in but I'll add those in later tutorials.
To start of....Tools! You'll need ....A glass cutter and breaking shears, glass fusing glue...and shelf primer or fusing paper
I use a Toyo glass cutter...it's oil filled to give you clean cut and it stays sharp. There's a few styles available if you prefer a different grip.
Glass fusing glue is important to keep your work in position before firing it. The best type is either glastac or elmer's fusing glue...When I started I did use PVA!...To be perfectly honest provided you use a very very small amount PVA is ok in an emergency. As the glue burns off it can react with the glass leaving marks though so it's best to stick with purpose made glues.
Shelf primer is a powder that you mix with water to line the kiln shelf before it goes into the kiln. It stops the glass sticking to the shelf as the glass melts. I tend to prefer to use shelf paper instead..it's less fuss and the underside of the glass usually comes out a lot smoother. When using either of these you must treat them with care. Use them with a dustmask and be careful not to breath in the dust.
When deciding which glass to use in your fusing project the key thing to bare in mind is compatibility! When you see fusing glass for sale you'll see COE next to the title...90COE, 104COE etc etc. YOU MUST ONLY FUSE GLASS OF THE SAME COE!...if you try and mix them up they'll only shatter as the glass cools...which is not good! I use all 90COE.
Dichroic Glass comes in 2 types...on clear or on black. You'll get slighly different results for the pattern depending on which type you use. I tend to prefer 'on clear' as it gives the piece more depth and it's more versatile-it can be layered on top of another piece of dichroic glass.
I cut the dichroic glass to shape...i'm using 2 layers of dichroic glass so I cut them to exactly the same size. Cutting glass can be tricky to start with. Cut standing up and only go over the cut once. Don't keep cutting at the same line because all it'll do will splinter the glass and blunt the cutter. You must remember IF YOU'RE USING MORE THAN ONE LAYER OF DICHROIC GLASS THE COATED SIDES OF THE GLASS MUSTN'T TOUCH EACH OTHER WHILE THEY'RE BEING FIRED. They won't fuse properly and you'll just end up with a lumpen mess!
I layer the glass on top of each other and fix into place with a small amount of glue. I then add a clear top layer of glass...again with the same COE. This must be a few mm's bigger than the bottom layer or the dichroic coating will seep out. I add an extra clear piece of glass of the same size as the bottom layers to give the finished pendant more depth.
Here's the unfused pieces in my dinky little kiln...i've been too poorly to do any more than these!
Kiln firing scheduales are available online. They can vary considerably as can the temps of each kiln so it's best to test fire a few times. A general rule of thumb with dichroic glass is that it doesn't like temperatures over 8100c...I try and not fire over 800. and I fire over a 1 1/2 -3 hour period so the glass doesn't heat up or cool down too quickly and make the glass rough or spikey...google firing scheduales!
And here's the finished piece!
This is a very rough guide to dichroic glass fusing and i'm sure i've missed things out but drop me a line if there's something you're not sure on!
I'll do more complex guides soon but you can check out my dichroic glass jewellery here.
I would add that if you're serious about starting to glass fuse Brad Walker's Contemporary Warmglass is an invaluable tool...I still refer to it!
All equiptment used here is available from www.warm-glass.co.uk .....I don't get commision from them honestly!..They really are an excellent, knowledgable company...very good value too!
Thursday, 3 January 2008
On the plus side of the whole 'confined to my bed' thing, i've come up with a few designs that i'm going to get started in a day or so...think magic eye pictures! I've also become addicted to 'stumble upon'...here's my favourite gem of today
Anyway...back soon and hopefully I'll have something useful to say!
Happy New Year!... WWWHHHHOOOOHHAAA