Saturday, December 31, 2011

New kiln brings a new adventure for the new year!

I'm an art dabbler -- painting here, beading there, and a million other art forms in between.  Working with glass is one thing I've always loved though, and I've been lucky enough to take courses in fusing, lampworking (making hot beads), stained glass, flameworking and glass blowing.  But fusing glass in a favorite!  I love to make jewelry, and the few candy dishes I've made were so fun and a chance to stretch my creativity.

This Christmas, my husband surprised me with a kiln that gives me the chance to fuse glass to my heart's desire, as well as work with ceramics.  It's a Paragon Janus kiln, which has a switch, allowing you to use different coils in the kiln for different types of materials.  I never dreamed I'd ever have one, and it was an amazing surprise.  He did his research over the past few months, had an electrician in to give it a specific type of outlet and had this heavy sucker delivered on a big truck while I was home and I still remained clueless!
These are the only two that kinda worked out of my first batch

Yesterday, we tried it out for the first time, since we've had to spend the previous 3 days applying kiln wash to the shelves to prevent glass and paint sticking during the cooking process.  It also gave me time to visit my wonderful art-partner, Pat, who lovingly lent me a newer cutter, nippers, a couple of molds, some kiln paper and some research books.

Unfortunately, the only glass I had on hand at home was my stained glass, and the pickin's were thin!  We tried a few things with an open mind and here are the results (good stuff above, bad stuff below).  Only one or two things are good enough to wear -- I discovered the opaque glass had too much lime in it and it developed a detrification, or milky coating.  I also tried to slump a piece of glass before fusing it, even though I knew you were supposed to do this in a two-step process.  Can you blame a girl for trying?    It took about 7 hours for all the steps in the kiln, and we let it cool while we slept. We checked it constantly throughout the afternoon-- hoping for good results and making sure there would be no fires.  I have complete confidence now in the process, and look forward to purchasing nice, compatible glass, stringers etc. and try again, learning more each time!
These are the ones that didn't work, however, I know where I went wrong now!

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