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Glass Artist Tips & Tricks Archive

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

Tips for January 11th, 25th and 26th were removed and put in the glass article - Why did my glass break.

January 31, 2007

Yesterday we talked about intentionally creating bubbles in your glasswork. However, if your not going for the bubble look then it can be very frustrating to open up your kiln and see one staring you in the face. So why do bubbles form in fused glass? The bubbles are trapped air between your glass layers. And the short and sweet reason why they form is because your glass layers seal before the air can escape.

January 30, 2007

Like the bubbles? Most of the time when people get bubbles in their glass artwork it's because they have made a mistake somewhere down the line. However, what if you want to create bubbles in your glass? Try placing an organic material between the glass layers. (Safety Note: Be careful what you put in your kiln) With time and practice you should be able to produce some interesting bubbles in your glass.

January 29, 2007

Always keep a log of your kiln firing times and temperature. This will help you with the consistency of your glass work and also help you hunt down any problems you might be having.

January 28, 2007

Avoid making your punties too hot. If you don’t you will have trouble knocking off your glasswork.

January 27, 2007

So you gave a piece of glass artwork to Aunt Martha that is sitting proudly on the table and suddenly shatters, “for no reason”. Wrong. There is always a reason. In this case, it looks like stress, probably from improper annealing. The stress builds up and poof. You may think you annealed per usual, but perhaps the thickness was different, the shape of the piece was unusual, your mother-in-law unplugged the kiln for a minute to plug in the vacuum sweeper (ignore that one – look in your firing log..)

January 24, 2007

Want to improve your hot glass skills? Try this jack line challenge. Make a glass chess set - the king takes 4 jack lines (looks like 5 marbles stacked on one another). The queen takes 3, (she’s 4 bumps high). The bishops and rooks are only jacked twice – pull on the bishops top one for a miter and flatten the sides of the rook for a castle look. The pawn is just jacked in the middle. The challenge will be getting the pieces that are duplicates (bishops, rooks and especially pawns) to resemble each other close enough in size not to embarrass you. But it’s GREAT practice and non to boring either.

January 23, 2007

If your looking to expand your glass tool arsenal then you might want to consider buying a type of shears called “cup shears”. These can be used for goblets but give the gaffer a little more versatility by being a but sturdier. Ergo, they can be used on a larger variety of pieces.

January 22, 2007

What did YOU get for Christmas? I know someone who wanted to make glass goblets so they got goblet shears. Jim Moore makes some that are so special they are numbered and registered. They are great for very delicate stem work.

January 21, 2007

Do your jack lines wander? One way to make practicing better jacking technique is to make caterpillars. Add a couple eye dots, flatten the bottom on the marver and you have improved you skills and made a little kid happy (even if the kid is you).

January 20, 2007

Knocking off – there should be a joke there. Actually “knocking off” and “bonking” refer to how glass blowers get their piece off the pipe. It’s better not to knock it off between your hands and the work. The wave amplitude will be greater if you strike farther away from the piece –above your hands. That pipe looks solid but bonking it does cause movement all the way down it’s length, and it does pick up momentum.

January 19, 2007

Work your glass as hot as you can control it. It’s not only more efficient (more pieces made per blow slot) but expanding your comfort zone of temperature makes you a better blower.

January 18, 2007

They might be clean by gaffer standards (no wax, ready for work) but your glass tools will never look as bright and shinny as the day they were purchased new. If you really want to spruce them up though, ethyl alcohol on a green scrubbie (or other abrasive surface like steel wool) will do the trick. It’s messy, but effective.

January 16, 2007

A sheet of dichroic glass can ruin your New Year’s budget. Try buying a selection of pieces by the pound for a better selection of color and a lot less money.

January 12, 2007

Are they cute? Those little animals/flowers/ doodads that glass blowers always seem to make at the beginning of their session, that is. Actually, that’s how gaffers make sure their tools are ready - it cleans off any wax or oxidation (rust and yucky stuff) that may have accumulated between sessions. Also, in gathering for this practice piece you don’t use much glass or much time but you do test the height of the glass in the tank. I know a guy who makes a knot out of glass as a warm up to each session. Now THAT’S a scout.


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