Friday, January 27, 2012

Upcoming Fused Glass Workshop

Upcoming Workshop: May 5, 2012

Fused Glass 101   

What is fused glass?!?  This exciting, hands-on class is designed to teach beginners the foundations of glass fusing.  Step-by-step instructions from selecting and cutting glass to color layering secrets and kiln firing techniques will be explored.  Gain a thorough understanding of the process while creating fused glass jewelry and an unique sun catcher!

Maximum class size: 5 students

Class hours:
Saturday, May 5 from 10:00-5:00,

Lunch provided

Tuition: $80 + $40 for materials and firings.

Location: Ocala, FL

To register, please email me at Please write REGISTRATION in the subject line to avoid delivery to my spam mail folder.

Thanks! And I hope to see you this Spring!


Upcoming Clay and Glass Workshop

Upcoming Workshop: March 24, 25 and 31, 2012

Glass and Clay – An Exploration in Combining Materials   

This interactive workshop will introduce the fundamentals of glass fusing and clay hand building. Learn how to create simple, slab-built earthenware forms that incorporate fused and slumped glass. Some experience with glass or clay is helpful, but not necessary.

Maximum class size: 3 students

Class hours:
Saturday, March 24 from 10:00-5:00,
Sunday, March 25 from 10:00-4:00,
and Saturday, March 31 from 10:00-4:00

Lunch provided

Tuition: $250 + $60 for materials and firings.

To register email me at Please write REGISTRATION in the subject line to avoid delivery to my spam folder. 

Thanks! And I hope to see you this Spring!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Fused Glass Pendants - How to Shape and Fire Polish

With 500 pendants in progress, I thought I'd talk about one of the finishing techniques.

After the fused glass has been kiln cast in "bricks", sliced on the tile saw, and fused again with a layer of dichroic glass, they are finally ready to be shaped, grooved and polished.

The pendant on the left is "before" shaping/grooving the pendant on the right is "after" shaping/grooving.


Can you see the narrow groove/channel that runs along the edge of the pendant in the side view? That is there to hold the sterling silver wire in place when the piece wire wrapped.

I recently bought a Glastar All-Star G8 grinder and have been very happy with it. The grinding bit on the left that is just sitting on the top is the one I use to shape the pendants. The bit that's on the grinder head is called a jewelry bit, and it's how I put that groove into the edge of the pendants.

All that grinding and shaping leaves the edges rough and cloudy. Pendants are too small to be cold-worked with progressively finer sandpapers, so I fire polish them.

Here's a blurb from the Warm Glass website that explains fire polishing: "Fire polishing is the simple technique of returning glass items to the kiln to melt them just enough to give a smooth, polished appearance. It typically takes place at a temperature that ranges from 1300 F/700 C to 1400 F/760 C."

I've mentioned before that I fuse all my glass in a ceramics kiln. Here they are loaded into Gladys, my Skutt glaze-tech test kiln.  

Here's the four segment firing schedule I use to fire polish:

Segment 1: 500 deg. F/hour to 1000 deg. F and hold for 10 minutes
Segment 2: 500 deg. F/hour to 1275 deg. F and hold for 10 minutes

Segment 3: 9999* to 1025 deg. F and hold for 15 minutes

Segment 4: 9999* to 975 deg. F and hold for 10 minutes

(*9999 is how I program the controller on my kiln to cool as fast as possible. Some kilns will say "full" instead. Just check your owner's manual if you aren't sure.)

Below is a shot that shows what the pendants look like pre-fire polish and post-fire polish. The pendant on the left is still rough and cloudy from shaping. The sides of the pendant on the right are all smooth and glossy again after fire polishing. Hooray!

Now they're ready to be wrapped in wire. Stay tuned for a video detailing how I wire wrap a pendant.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Low Fire Friday – (My Favorite) Crawl Glaze

In honor of the New Year, I'm starting a new monthly feature - Low Fire Friday!!

The first friday of every month this year, I will be posting a low fire glaze/slip recipe, commercial glaze review, or other low fire related technique/product.  Some of the recipes will be my favorite standbys; some from other potters/ceramicists. I've got an exiting line up of select Guest Artists willing to share their secrets so stay tuned in the months ahead!

Hope you enjoy this new little feature. And without further delay, here's the first recipe...

(My Favorite) Crawl Glaze

 This is by far my favorite Crawl Glaze. It is very reliable, but the trick is that is has to be applied THICK! And by thick, I mean super, super, think. Think cake icing application, not typical pot glazing. The thicker the application, the more it will crawl.

Crawl Glaze
- Cone 04

Gerstley Borate            46.5
Magnesuim Carbonate 31.0
EPK                            18.6
Borax                            3.9
+ Zircopax                     5.5


[beige, dark truquoise, light turquiose]

For color add...
Beige/pale yellow: + red iron oxide 1%
Dark turquoise/jade: + copper carbonate 5%
Light turquoise/jade: + copper carbonate 1%

[light turquoise]

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Sculpture - Tribella familiea

Well, the progress was slow but the pace was steady. I finally finished up this piece and had it photographed just before the holidays. (Thank you Charlie Cummings for the wonderful photos!) 

Tribella familiae
earthenware, cast glass, steel, found objects
20" x 10" x 11"

I'm excited about this piece. It presented a lot of technical challenges that I slowly hammered my way through. (clay shrinkage to account for, found objects to add, glass to cast, and then recast, etc)

As with any new sculpture, I can see places I'd like to develop further in the next piece, but that's what keeps the work exciting. Growth and change. And there's been a lot of that going on around here lately. Our "baby" is almost 15 months old and he keeps his Mama on her toes! Sometimes juggling everything feels like a 3-ring circus, but I'm learning to embrace the chaos and relish studio time.

Cheers to a New Year!