Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Copper Shapes

Copper, as well as other metals, can be used in glass to achieve an artistic affect. I have used copper mesh in the past; I love the change in color when it is encased in glass. I've tried using copper sheet as well, but the sheet I bought was a little thick and because of that it was hard to form to the shape of the bead. I liked the idea, though!

A couple of weeks ago I saw a fellow lampworker offering copper shapes. The shapes were punched out of a very thin gauge of copper sheet. I had to buy some. This weekend I was able to make good use of them. Since I have been on a heart kick lately (they are just so fun to make!), I decided to use the copper shapes to accent the hearts. I tried out a butterfly, a tiny heart, and a snowflake and I am very pleased with the results! They added a very nice touch. Copper shapes are definitely going to be a recurrence in my work now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trying Something New

Inspiration comes in many ways. I recently saw a beadable bookmark with a heart design, and I thought, "A dangly heart would look so pretty on the end of that!" So, naturally, I next wondered if I could make one. At my first opportunity on my torch, that is exaclty what I tried to do. There is a way of making glass art called "off-mandrel." This means the artist does not wind the glass on a release-covered glass rod, and instead does everthing on the end of a glass rod (called a punty), removes the piece from the punty, and places it in the kiln. I've had poor luck at off-mandrel work in the past; I usually end up dropping my piece on my table (I have the burn marks to prove it!). However I recently began using a new method to make twisties; I learned about adding the glass to the end of a clean mandrel, and pulling the twistie that way. I decided to try to actually make the entire heart on the end of a clean mandrel. I don't know if this has been done before (it probably has), but that is how I decided to try it. I added my glass, shaped my heart, formed the loop, then heated and pulled the heart of the clean mandrel and popped it into my kiln. I made two attempts, and then waited quite impatiently until the next morning when the kiln had cooled.

I was very pleased with the result! In my humble opinion, they came out fabulous! I was so excited that I spent the entire torch session that afternoon on making hearts, and I made a nice raku pendant in that same manner. I think this technique is a valuable one with lots of potential, and I can't wait to see what else I can do with it...after I make some more hearts, that is!