Taking a break from recycling bottles to do some proper glass cutting and make something. Wanted to make something for the garden and found inspiration in glasshoppa’s sunflower tutorial. Video can be found on Youtube and info sheet is here

I followed this method to create a multicoloured flower. I used glastac rather than aloe vera gel to keep the pieces together and i used black glassline paint to do the pattern on the centre of the flower ( as had no frit).

Very pleased overall. Middle of flower was full fused on the preprogrammed contour fuse on the Kcr controller.

Before firing ( dots done with glassline) . Circle on yellow/ amber over circle of clear tekta.

After firing

I then altered this for second firing with petals for an intended tack fuse to retain petal definition.

Before firing ( papyros is keeping a hole retained for later hanging). Put flower together on papyros paper on kiln shelf before moving into kiln.

After fusing ( fused more than hoped with regards tacking the petals)

I took the top fusing temp down to ? ( my first tack fuse). This was too hot and if repeated I would lower the top temp further to retain more definition.

But pleased with the outcome. Used papyros paper to retain a gap in the piece for use for hanging and this worked well too.

I would maybe move the ‘hole’ nearer a petal edge for hanging if I made this again.

Lots of room for improvement, but good glass cutting practice and a good first attempt!

Thoroughly recommend glasshoppa tutorials. Very simple and clear to follow.

I have played around with some different firing schedules. Quite time consuming. There are so many available on the internet. Here’s my results and think I have found something I’m kind of happy with.

 

First schedule was from a Facebook forum and as often is the case I had to convert the schedule from F to C. So this was my test schedule;

149/hr to 316 hold 15min to dry bottles

121/hr to 595 hold 20 min

204/hr to 787 hold 10 min

AFAP to 571 hold 45 min

10/hr to 382 hold 0 min   END

So the result was OK. The glass slumped to shape and the necks had closed. However, there were lots of spiky edges, which I believe probably meant that the temperature had gone too high. So for the next trial I decided to try a schedule with a lower top temperature.

So the next schedule used was the mould manufacturers schedule (I had not used this as had found other people using the same moulds who had said that the schedule doesn’t work and had suggested the one I tried (above) as working.

This schedule had a cooler top temperature:

260/hr to 82 hold 30 mins

260/hr to 593 hold 20 mins

93/hr to 732 hold 5 mins

AFAP to 549 hold 45 mins

66/hr to 371 hold 0   END

The feel of the resulting glass was very smooth and definately better than the first result in that way, but the neck bottles had failed to close and the bottom of the bottles were still too chunky and not melted enough for my taste.

My guess was that either I needed a higher top temperature and/or a longer hold at the top temperature or a slower and hotter ramp up. I looked at some other schedules and chose the glass campus bottle slump schedule, mainly because their flatten bottle schedule had worked well for me and my kiln. It also had a top temperature less than my first trial and more than the second. Unlike other schedules it also had a long hold at the top temperature (most other schedules for bottle slumping into molds have max 5 min hold at top, often it is 0 or couple of mins). The ramp up and down varies between schedules being around 535-595

So I largely used Glass campuses bottle schedule, just adding the bottle dry from the first schedule I tried (cos this sounds like a good idea and doesn’t seem to do any harm)

Schedule:

149/hr to 316 hold 15 mins

200/hr to 535 hold 20 mins

500/hr to 760 hold 30 mins

AFAP to 535 hold 60 mins

200/hr to 150 hold 0     END

 

The results of this I liked. Smooth, necks closed, no real obvious bubbles inside. My only question would be whether I could stop the curve in in the sides, but I’m guessing not, as even when I look at the lower temperature fuse of my second trial, this is the shape of the bottle coming out of the mould.

Comparing the first and third trials, the overall look and feel of the first is a lot chunkier. It seems to have more bumps in the glass and is less well defined. I could continue to experiment with ramp up temperatures and hold lengths, but as I was pretty happy with trial 3 , I decided to use the same schedule again on different moulds and with a heavier bottle in the split dish mould.

 

The fourth trial used the same schedule as the third.

The heavier bottle in the split mold came out a bit chunkier and with a few glass spikes. I guess I don’t want to increase the top temperature further , so one option may be to experiment with a higher temperature at the ramp up as per the first schedule ? The big dish worked out fine on this schedule. The candle holder dish did not work. This was left far too chunky and the bottle folding over ruins the use of it.  Therefore, I was happy with the basic dish slump, but I thought maybe try another method that I had read about for the candle holder. That would be to fully flatten the bottle first and then slump into the mould

For my fifth trial I played around with the schedule in that I removed the hold at the top temperature. My thinking was that the bottle was already ‘melted’, it needed only to ‘slump’ into the mould. I tried this out on both a thicker bottle in the split mould and a normal bottle in the candle mould. I reused a couple of bottles I had previously slumped flat (using glass campuses flatten bottle schedule). I then placed them in the kiln using the following schedule:

149/hr to 316 hold 15 mins

200/hr to 535 hold 20 mins

500/hr to 760 hold 0 mins

AFAP to 535 hold 60 mins

200/hr to 150 hold 0     END

 

 

I was quite happy with the results for the candle holder and think this is probably the only way to use the mould. The split dish worked fine also. The ‘shoulder’ bubble from the flattening however remains in the dish, so better reults are probably gained by just slumping a bottle (though depends what look you like at the bottom end, as in this version there is a far smoother end of the bottle and a more spacious dish space as the bottle end is less prominent).

I also placed a non flattened bottle into another split dish mould on the same firing just for curiosity of what effect the hold at the top temperature is having. The result was a slumped bottle with the neck still open – thus this confirms to me that the 30 min hold at the top of the schedule is needed in order to close the neck.

Thus I think now I have a schedule for flattening bottles (glass campus), a schedule for slumping into dish moulds (trial 3) and a schedule for slumping into the candle mould (flatten bottle schedule and then trial 5). Obviously some tweaking may need to be done around the schedules for different weights and colours of glass, but happy that I have some basics to start from.

 

So after a few days of manic painting, cutting lino and stopping a passerby to help us to lift the kiln out of the back of the car and into the studio, we’ve got to the point of having a space to use. It may still have quite a long snag list but today I got a dust free space to put my table in the room, with tablecloth and cutting board and some tools ready to go. Have acquired a metal frame from facebook marketplace that we will eventually turn into a nice workbench across one wall.  So excited, but had also anticipated the ‘lost’ feeling of ‘what do I do now?’. Where do I start? See my next post for that….

So, collection of the kiln is imminent, so the question of where to put it ! I have started to clear out an outhouse. Hubby has helped to replace the ceiling in it and add roof insulation and it is turning from a junk store into some sort of studio. Luckily it already has electrics. I’m not sure it will be ready for when the kiln arrives , but at least we have a plan. The pictures show the early stages of what we are working with. From what I have read, important issues are to be able to plug the kiln straight into the socket with NO extension leads being used and to have a good clearance (30cm at least) around the kiln. It needs to be sited on a flat surface and away from kids. The outhouse has an ideal socket right next to the electrical circuit box but it is sited near the door, so on consideration, that actually seemed the craziest place to site the kiln – right where people would come into the studio!  The HobbyFuser3 manual gives some of the main tips.  I’m trying to start pretty uncluttered , so I have ordered a lino so I can keep the floor clean, and I have an old table lined up for my cutting table. I’ll obviously need some storage as we go along, but my only other ‘wish’ is to get a sink into the studio. I think this will be useful , if only from a health and safety angle and for making cups of tea 🙂

I am based in the UK and am completely new to glass fusing (and also to creating websites!) and so here begins my journey. I am a researcher by trade and so as I began to research fusing, it struck me that I needed to collate all this info somewhere. There’s so much to learn, read and ask. What do I need?, what can I do?, how do I navigate through firing schedules and keep good logs of both my successes and failures!? Well, I’ve decided to put it all here for you all to see, (and for me to refer back to). This isn’t a blog of ‘how to do glass fusing’ but more a ‘learn by mistakes’ approach, until I hope I reach a level of competence and knowledge in the art of glass fusing. Feel free to join me on my way through the bubbles and cracks of my attempts at creating fused glass……..