Wednesday, January 13, 2010


With the holidays over and everyone back to work and school, I'm in a simplyfing mode; emptied out my makeup drawer and pared it down to the stuff I actually use. I'm eyeing my closet and remember reading that most people wear 20 percent of their clothing 80 percent of the time, so that's my next pruning project.

I probably get into this frame of mind every year but it's more noticeable to me as I look at a couple new sets of trays right out of the kiln. I often like to cut-once-and-make-two when I work, to maximize my glass usage as well as create pieces that complement each other. I had some patterned glass in my scrap pile and let them dictate these new designs.

It was only after firing the first two that I noticed I hadn't used any dichroic bits or frit or stringer. Strange for me, since I always tend to accessorize a piece just a little before closing the kiln. In fact, I often have to remove a few bits before firing, since I love adding details.

These pieces seem simpler, cleaner, dare I say, decluttered? Obviously the patterned glass adds detail, as well as the carving but they are much more restrained than what I usually make. Maybe my vacation from the studio uncluttered my mind a little, too!

Another interesting thing about these pieces (they measure 11" square and 12" round, by the way. I seldom photograph pieces before slumping but wanted to show how similar they are while flat.) is the amount of tiny bubbles.

For the green square and coral round, I used my standard fusing schedule. These pieces were both arranged on the kiln shelf and then capped with clear. Notice how many bubbles they have, which isn't always a bad thing, especially the way they've formed around the carving:

 For the next two, I incorporated a bubble squeeze of 50° per hour from 1150-1250°. I don't always use a bubble squeeze, mostly because I'm so impatient but also because I didn't really think I'd noticed much of a difference in the glass. But these two are much less bubble-cluttered:

So, better with lots of tiny bubbles or not? I'm still deciding but I'm finally convinced at what a difference moving slowly through that temperature range makes. I'll definitely move this schedule to the front of my kiln notes book.

Speaking of notes; I spent some time over the holidays with my glass sketches, notes and clippings. I have several Moleskin books full of ideas, as well as notepads, folders and tear-outs from magazines, catalogs, etc. As I was flipping through everything trying to decide which ideas deserved testing, it occurred to me that a better filing system would make my life a lot easier as well as give me better, more useful access to my notes.

I think a big index card box might be in my future. That way, I could record descriptions and concept sketches and then divide and file them by type or category. I could reorganize them easily and move more promising ideas to the front. I could take a card or cards out to the studio for reference. I love this idea! I can still use my Moleskins when I'm out and about (they're my favorite low-tech organizers) and when I decide an idea is worthy enough, I'll transfer it to an index card.

I might just get my desk decluttered yet!


Ali Drew said...

I can't decide, I like the bubbles because of how they do follow the design, and I like the smooth no bubbles too.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your bubble squeeze reasoning.. I like both but I do like the less bubbles versions better. :)