Glass Archive Organized by month.
July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / January 2008 / July 2008
November 2010 / December 2010
It is easier to gather over a bubble that has been allowed to cool a bit. You don't want it stone cold but control is easier to achieve with subsequent gathers, if it's predecessor isn't flopping all over the place. How cool? If the bubble doesn't move much when you stop roataing, or if the orange color of hot glass is turning clear, the piece is cool enough. This is especially important when your piece is thin - the heat of the new gather could cause your bubble to collapse. Relax - you have time - go cool you pipe!
When making a cookie foot for you piece, remember to take your diamond shears to the marver. Even if you can drop the glass without having to cut off a stringer, it's a lot easier to center your piece on the cookie if you have the shears to hold close to the hot end of the pipe.
When blowing glass comfort is key. Cool that pipe at every opportunity, especially if you are A. gathering from a tank that is half empty or B. making a big piece. Cooling the pipe allows you to "choke up" on the glass - hold it closer to the gather- for better balance.
If it is hard to see the level of glass, gathering is more problematic. It's more comfortable to gather if your height fits the tank. . Some people have a step they stand on when gathering. Some find they are using the wrong (or nor) safety glasses. Polarized sunglasses make it hard to see the reflection of the glass so you can find where to stick you pipe before you have submerged it. No safety glasses can burn your eyeballs and you won't ever know that the radiation got you until you need cataract surgery. Any endeavor is only safe if you use the proper precautions (along with an ounce of common sense and we know you have that - you are reading these tips!!!).
If you have gotten your piece too long, don't be afraid to hold your gather up and let gravity restore a more rounded shape. For some reason (it looks cool?) people do not seem to mind swinging their piece to lengthen it, but are shy about holding it up to reverse the process. Remember, you are the master of the glass!
Marvering - one of the few glass related words that we don't get from the Italians. It comes from the French word for marble . The original marvers were made of marble and still would be the tool of choice (marble takes less heat away from your glass) but the cost and availability of steel wins out.
The marver is often overlooked as a great tool for shaping glass - it can help you do many things
A. get the glass under control - marver with your pipe held low to get the back and neck of the gather first.
B. shape or cool the sides - marver with the pipe level.
C. to get your cone/bullet shape - marver the tip by holding your pipe high. This is also a good way to take heat out of a properly shaped gather so you can blow out the shoulder of the piece (create a thin lip) without blowing out the bottom.
Stencils can be a creative way to add crisp looking graphics to your fused glass art. Even though there are a variety of companies out there that sell stencils remember that you don't always have to buy them. When it comes to glass stencils you are limited only by your imagination. Found objects are an excellent source for stencils. Recently after purchasing a board game and "punching out" all the pieces from the cardboard I found that I had just made a very creative glass stencil.
Glassblowers who work in the hotshop during the summer should take a few extra precautions. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your blowslot. Also try to work with a partner and if at any time your do not feel well stop blowing glass immediately.
When purchasing art glass materials make sure that the glass you select is compatible with one another. If you don't your glass may crack and shatter after it cools.