Saturday, August 18, 2012

Walking the Balance Beam

Here is another piece created at Art Unraveled.  The three of us had lots of fun with this one.  It's called a Balance Beam bracelet because the focal piece, in this case the turquoise stone, balances on (is soldered onto) an 8 gauge square copper wire.

There was lots of soldering involved, which taught us how to tackle different situations.  This clasp is made with 6 gauge wire that has jump rings soldered on at each end.  As you can see, it hooks onto the flat copper piece that has been sawed and curved to fit the 6 gauge wire.

And here is the finished product.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Creating Dichroic Glass Cabochons

   Have you ever wondered how those beautiful glass cabochon pieces are created?  Maybe you thought you would like to try fusing glass but have been intimidated by the process.  Hopefully this mini-tutorial will give you that little bit of extra motivation to sign up for a class.

  First you must decide what you want to do with the finished cabochon.  This will determine the size piece you will make.  Your next decision will be whether to have a black background or one that is transparent.  Then it is time to pick out what dichroic glass you want to use--color, shape of design, combining different patterns, etc. There are many choices.

Glass Cutting Board and Cutters
Now it is time to cut the glass to the size you want.  I know this looks and sounds intimidating but it really is quite simple.  Trying out different styles of cutters gives you a chance to choose the style that best suits your hand.    In order to have a smooth rounded surface to the cabochon, you will need to cut three layers. The bottom layer or backing, the center layer of whatever dichroic glass you want to use and then a clear piece on top. If you would rather have your piece more organic, then the top clear layer could be omitted. The choice is yours.

Cleaning each piece of glass in the cabochon with alcohol is essential because touching the glass leaves oils from your fingers that won't burn off in the kiln. This piece has been layered and cleaned. Now it is ready to be fired in the kiln.

    Then into the kiln they go to be fired.  The temperature needs to increase very slowly so the glass heats up gradually.  When the temperature reaches 1475 degrees, it holds for 15 minutes so the glass can melt together.  Following the fusing it has to be crash cooled.  This means the kiln door is held open until the temperature goes down to 850 degrees.  The kiln door is then closed and the waiting begins.  The kiln must drop to room temperature before opening the door again.  If you open the door before that time, the glass will crack and all of your work will have been in vain. peeking!

Oh so pretty!

Be sure to check out our classes.  We have several to choose from and will schedule them according to your availability.  You can come by yourself or bring a friend.

Creativity is Contagious!