Results – Glass Slumping


A few days later I collected my finished pieces:

  •  As I thought I was disappointed with the small samples where I had used glass paint. The paint dries slightly patchy and I feel that it lacks a professional finish
  • I was pleased with the pieces that contained copper – just need to experiment with more designs and see what works best and have a think about what I could do with this
  • I am really pleased with the slumped bowl and so pleased that I didn’t use the paint on it

Moving forward

Martin mentioned how careful you need to be with the glass combinations, as some are not compatible and can shatter. He mentioned the best glass to use is ‘Bullseye’, I looked this up on the internet and it is because it is tested compatible CoE90
I intend to research further into slumping and fusing and look at the possibilities available. I will then buy some coloured Bullseye glass and experiment further.
In the meantime I would like to try and slump some wine or spirit bottles, as this can produce interesting nibble trays.

Glass Slumping Workshop

Today was another first for me but I was looking forward to learning the basics of glass slumping.

Martin showed us some examples of different techniques, so that we could decide what we would like to try. He then gave us a sheet of soda glass and showed us a method of cutting the glass, with a lubricated glass cutter.

I cut my glass into various sizes and although I was careful I managed to give myself a little cut with a small shard of glass!

Looking at the examples I decided I didn’t really want to use paint as I didn’t like the results it gave. However I used two small pieces of glass and sandwiched them together with glass paint, just as an experiment.

Mostly I used copper mesh, sheet and wire to create my designs. I really like working with copper and I was interested to see how the heat of the kiln would affect the copper inside the glass.

I then cut twelve long thin pieces of glass and placed them in a bowl of water. Using a sharpening stone, I gently rubbed the strips to remove any sharp or rough edges. After drying the glass I led the glass strips across each other in a slumping bowl. Initially I thought I may use some glass paint on the intersections, but decided against it, as I was concerned how the end result would look.

All my experimental pieces were ready to go in the kiln

Small metal workshops – 5th, 12th and 19th November, 2013

I have done spot welding at Howard Gardens, but welcomed the opportunity to do it again at Llandaff. Martin introduced us to different gauge wires and I made a square frame. Using various methods to create different effects, such as twisting wire together and wrapping wire around a form to create circles, I spot welded them to my frame.

I also made some wire shapes including a small pair of spectacles and dipped them in Fantasy Film, this was an incredibly easy method but produced good results. I would like to try making flowers with this method in the future.

Martin gave us the opportunity to make our own laminated paper, using old paper, images and items such as feathers. It might be possible to use this laminated paper as book covers for note books to customize them.

In another session at Martin’s workshop I revisited the spot welding and made wire panels, to join together to form a cube shaped lamp as part of my design project. I had wanted to cover the panels with white tissue paper, as this dries hard and would create a soft light effect. Martin advised against this, as some of the areas were large open areas and he felt the paper would have nothing to adhere to in the centre. Instead he suggested wrapping the frame with a very light wire, unfortunately I feel that this didn’t work out as well as I hoped. In the future I would like to experiment with this again, but this time I would cut MDF panels to the size and shape that I wanted and use them as a profile to shape the wire frame around and have more sections in the design to support the paper.

Martin’s workshop is very craft based and I liked the examples of work on display, as it gives inspiration of other techniques available to explore. I would like to make sections of the human face, in different materials and to experiment with metal, such as embossing copper sheeting.

Hand-building workshop with Claire Curneen – 4th November, 2013

After a very interesting lecture, this morning, with Claire Curneen, she led us in a hand building workshop in the afternoon. Using techniques that she uses in her practice, we moulded clay in the palm of our hand to create a slight curve. Then over lapping them together to form a circular base of a tree and then creating another layer in the same way on top of the last getting gradually smaller. This formed a large based tree that got thinner as it got taller – simple, or was it?!

It was not as easy as you would think, as many of our trees collapsed under their own weight. Claire mentioned that when she is building she sometimes forces the clay to dry with a blow torch, to aid stability.

It was an incredibly enjoyable and informative workshop and I am keen to use this technique again, as you could use it as a basis to build most structures.

‘Out of the Box’ – 29th October, 2013

I really enjoyed the wooden box workshop, it was very satisfying to produce such a beautiful item.

I definitely want to take this further, by experimenting with various permutations. Size is one area that I could explore, producing different size boxes and particularly nesting boxes. While in college I made nesting boxes from cardboard, inspired by the Russian nesting dolls, it would be good to experiment with this concept in wood.

Also by making larger boxes could they double as an occasional piece of furniture?

There are various finishes to try from, dyes, waxes, varnishes and paint. Also inlaid tops, from different types of wood to mosaic tiles.

It would be exciting to look at the purpose of the box. If it was a jewellery box, maybe incorporate a musical feature, or trays on different levels.

Definitely something I intend to pursue.

Wooden Box – Workshop Task continued -29th October, 2013

Today I used the electric sander to sand all surfaces of the box.

Then using the band saw I cut the lid off, just lower than the glued lid and avoiding the copper nails. I cleaned any excess dry glue from inside the box using a chisel and sand paper.

It was at this point that I sanded the outside (following the grain) of the box by hand using different grades of sandpaper from rough to fine, to remove and disc sanding marks. I took my time at this stage as it will gives a better finish when waxed.

I then chose a wood stain and evenly applied it to the box. When it was dry (after 20-30 mins), I applied wax, which you wax on and polish off. It is better to put on a few light coats and remove between each one, to layer up a good protective finish.

Although the wax is not ‘wet’ like a varnish it needs to dry off before you put on any hinges and furniture, or you will leave finger prints all over the box.

Wax Workshop – 29th October, 2013

Today’s workshop was fairly straightforward but as usual health and safety were paramount. Precautions are needed to ensure you do not burn yourself with hot wax or that the wax is heated for too long and the gases that are released catch fire, or the wax is so hot it melts the mould.

I heated the wax on the hob until it became liquid and poured it into the mould. It cools and solidifies quickly, but I put the mould containing the wax into a cold bucket of water to harden further.

Casting wax comes in green or red which is a bit limiting and you cannot mix casting wax with candle wax.

Care should also be taken not to get water or oil in the wax mixture as this does not combine and can cause pockets of steam to develop under the wax. When heating only place part of the pan on the heat source so any steam can escape.

If casting in a plaster mould, soak in water for 20 mins, so the wax is not absorbed into the plaster during the process.

When casting a detailed piece you can brush wax on the surface before pouring the remainder to ensure even coverage and limit the risk of bubbles.

I poured into my pine cone mould that I made last week but the first attempt was poor. Second attempt was better but where some of the mould was removed in the pine cone, it lost detail in those areas.

It is a good material to give a quick indication of how a mould will turn out, but as a finished product it is lacking in durability. This is because it will be affected by temperature changes and can be brittle and fragile.

Again I am pleased to have tried this process but have no immediate plans to revisit this procedure in the near future.

Wooden Box – Workshop Task – 22nd October, 2013

Today I made a wooden box in my workshop session.

Using two long lengths of wood and two short for the sides, I marked out the corners using a ruler, set square and marking gauge, to allow the short sides to fit together with the long sides at a 90 degree angle. I then cut them using the band saw, ensuring I was wearing safety glasses and following the correct procedure for the saw.

I then stuck the corners together with wood glue and secured each joint with 3 copper nails. I used copper nails as these are soft enough to be sanded down with the wood and not damage the sander.

Sticking a slightly bigger base and lid to the frame with wood glue and secured with clamps while drying, means, when it is dry (approx. 30 mins), I can sand it down to the same level as the sides. When I put the clamps on I used scrap wood between the clamp and box so as not to damage the box.

I have stuck the lid on to produce a completely sealed box, which I can then cut the lid off, using the band saw. The reason for this is, it is the only way you can guarantee the lid to be a perfect fit.

Before cutting the lid off, I am able to add other detail, such as routing the edge of the lid.

Vinamold Induction – 22nd October, 2013

Dallas took me through my induction of vinamold.
Firstly I made a surround out of clay to contain the items that I wanted to make moulds from. I had a large pine cone that I had found in the park, but Dallas said that I may have some issues as it was organic and thus porous and suggested soaking it in water first, to prevent air bubbles being created or absorbing the mixture. Also my surround was quite large so was told to use supports to prevent the walls from collapsing under the weight of the vinamold.

The vinamold comes in large partially connected cubes, not dissimilar to jelly cubes. I cut up the cubes into smaller pieces, using scissors and placed it in a microwavable jug.

I made sure that I was wearing a heavy protective apron and gauntlet gloves and then heated it in the microwave, stirring a couple of times during the process to ensure it was all melted.

When the mixture was fully melted I poured it into the surround, ensuring I poured around the object first, so there would be no gaps and up to the top, to allow for shrinkage.

I then left it to fully cool (approx. an hour depending on size). I then removed the clay and using a sharp scalpel cut a slit big enough to remove the item inside.


My mould turned out reasonable but not perfect, because of the nature of a pine cone, vinamold became stuck under some of the scales and came out when the cone was removed. If I had chosen a non-organic item I think the result would have been better. However I quite like the fact things don’t always work out in a workshop, as I think I learn more about the processes than when the outcome is perfect.

Vinamold is a very flexible material but I can see that it is not that durable. I am pleased to have had an opportunity to experience the process and although I will keep an open mind, I do not have any immediate plans to use this again in the near future.

Stitch Workshops – 2nd, 9th and 16th October, 2013

I have very limited knowledge of the sewing machine, so was looking forward to this induction at Llandaff.

Maggie took us through the basics in the first session including how to thread up the machine and wind the bobbin. We then experimented with the different stitches available.

In the next session she introduced us to free style machine embroidery, using a clear plastic type fabric (dissolvable) on a hoop frame. In this session we moved the hoop around to create patterns and designs as we wanted: I made a simple flower design. When we were happy with the design we plunged it into water and squeezed out the excess. This dissolved the plastic and we were left with a slightly firm lacy fabric, made from sewing thread, which was quite a pleasing result.

In the last session we made another design on dissolvable fabric. This time we moulded the design onto an upturned bowl covered in liquid soap (to prevent sticking) and left it to dry, this produced a lacy bowl which held its shape.

I really enjoyed these sessions and intend to revisit these techniques as soon as I can.