Eureka!

Prototype The prototypes for the new design came out of the kiln looking better than I had expected!! These are prototype attempt #2, as the original prototypes were in the kiln when it decided to run away last week. They look a lot different when they come out properly, instead of kiln floor geodes.

These beauties will be available for purchase at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo, April 28 – May 1.

12 Apr 2016

Runaway Kiln!

Last week my kiln ran away…. Yup, that’s not a typo, it ran away.

A runaway kiln is when there is a kiln failure that allows the circuit to stay open and therefore provide power to the heating elements. This causes the kiln to significantly overfire, which destroys the contents of the kiln, damages the kiln, and potentially can start a studio fire. Bad, all bad.

This kiln failure was particularly frustrating because I had a load of brand new prototypes inside the kiln. All of my experimentation and testing was melted into a messy crater of tears. The floor of the kiln is honeycombed with crystalized glass bits, jeopardizing the functionality of the kiln.

But, this is not a post of negativity… It’s a post of hope!

After a weekend of creative fix-it-ness (yes, that is a word in my world), I have a functional kiln again. Plus, I have caught up and am back to the point in my experiments and prototypes that I was at before the kiln decided to runaway. Baring any further setbacks, I should have new beads to show off by tomorrow!

Plus, the mess of scorched glass on the floor of the kiln looks really neat. Like a glassy geode. This inspires me in all new directions, and now I have to figure out how to recreate this effect without incurring damage to the kiln.

In the meantime, learn from my mistake kiddos! This is what happens to the floor of a kiln if the kiln goes on runaway and there is glass inside.

11 Apr 2016

Memory Glass

Recycled Glass

These beads were made from window glass brought from the family mill in Ontario. It was broken down and then melted to create a limited number of beads which were then given to family members who attended the family reunion that year.

11 Nov 2015

Egyptian Faience

Faience (French) is the general English term for ceramic pieces made with a white buff clay covered in a white glaze suitable for painted decoration. The addition of tin oxide to lead glaze was a huge leap in ceramic technologies in the 9th Century, as it required a kiln capable of maintaining temperatures of 1,000 degrees C (1,830F).

Why would a glass artist be interested in ceramic technologies? The term “faience” also encompasses the glazed beads and objects found in Egypt, Indus Valley, and Europe from as early as 4,000 BCE. These objects are not ceramic, as they generally do not have a clay body but are made from a mixture of silica and salts. Egyptian faience is generally considered to be the parent technology to modern glass technologies. But, more on the history of faience in coming posts…

Test Batch #1 This is the first test batch of Egyptian faience using the same (modern) recipe for four samples, two using copper (turquoise) and two using chrome (green), of a 1% and 3% saturation of the colourant to test both the colour and the firing schedule. From this initial batch, I have concluded that my further testing will be done with a 3% saturation of copper. While the chrome created a gorgeous green, it remained a matt surface and did not create the gloss of a surface glaze.

Next test batch will be of four different recipes using a 3% saturation of copper fired to 1700 degrees F, after three days, one week, and two weeks of drying to determine the length of time required to properly allow the salts to bring the glass and colourants to the surface.

Egyptian Faience Faience

11 Nov 2015

Just in time for the Calgary Expo!

I have finally settled on a dragon pendant design that I am happy with. There will be a limited number available at the Calgary Expo, each one unique in colour and facial expression. Come early to adopt yours before they all have new homes!

10 Apr 2015

Extermibead!

dalek

03 Apr 2015

Recycled Glass Beads

Recycled Glass

These beads were created using the vintage window glass saved from a family heritage site. The shards of glass were reshaped into beads and then attached to a card stating where the glass came from. The beads were then distributed to attendees at the next family reunion.

01 Apr 2015

Sneak Peak

New year, new project… Faience!

Okay, I started gathering the materials for this project in November of last year, but I figured New Year’s Eve was a great day to fire my initial test batch. I am over the moon about how well it turned out!… I did not expect to get a glassy coloured surface on my first attempt. But I guess I should start at the beginning:

Faience (French) is the general English term for ceramic pieces made with a white buff clay covered in a white glaze suitable for painted decoration. The addition of tin oxide to lead glaze was a huge leap in ceramic technologies in the 9th Century, as it required a kiln capable of maintaining temperatures of 1,000 degrees C (1,830F).

Why would a glass artist be interested in ceramic technologies? The term “faience” also encompasses the glazed beads and objects found in Egypt, Indus Valley, and Europe from as early as 4,000 BCE. These objects are not ceramic, as they generally do not have a clay body but are made from a mixture of silica and salts. Egyptian faience is generally considered to be the parent technology to modern glass technologies. But, more on the history of faience in coming posts…

Test Batch #1 This is the first test batch of Egyptian faience using the same (modern) recipe for four samples, two using copper (turquoise) and two using chrome (green), of a 1% and 3% saturation of the colourant to test both the colour and the firing schedule. From this initial batch, I have concluded that my further testing will be done with a 3% saturation of copper. While the chrome created a gorgeous green, it remained a matt surface and did not create the gloss of a surface glaze.

Next test batch will be of four different recipes using a 3% saturation of copper fired to 1700 degrees F, after three days, one week, and two weeks of drying to determine the length of time required to properly allow the salts to bring the glass and colourants to the surface.

Next Update: Test batch #2 results.

02 Jan 2015

It Has Arrived!

After much anticipation, my English copy of “Ricette vetrarie del Rinascimento” has arrived! I haven’t had a chance to browse through it in depth, but I figured that first I should solve the question of just how badly I translated the first few pages with Babelfish. In short, not bad at all! Any guesses on which of the following translations was mine?

 

In preparation for the Millennial exhibition of glass art in Murano, held in 1982 at the Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Correr in Venice, a small group of experts were brought together to review the documentation. In preparation for the Millenium show of Glassworking At of Murano, held in 1982 in the Ducal palace and Correr building in Venice, a small group of experts was created to organize the documentary support for the show.
It was on that occasion that two manuscript collections of glass recipes came to light which were of great importance for the study of the history of Murano technology since 1500. It was on that occasion that there came to light two manuscripts with collections of glassmaking recipes of great importance for the study of the history of Muranese technology beginning from 1500.
In the observation of those two collections was discovered the existance of an anonymous manuscript, which is the subject of this study. With great surprise we discovered for the first time that one of them was an unknown important anonymous manuscript, the object of the present study.
Experts from the ancient archives placed the writing back to the 16th century, and Luigi Masiello and the experts at the Venice State Archives confirmed that the writing dated the text to about 1560. To the eye of expert readers of ancient papers or files one cannot escape the conclusion that these writings came from the XVI century. Both Luigi Zecchin and the Venice State Archive gave authoritative confirmation that the writing dated with certainty to around 1560.
Keeping in mind, the first glass recipe book – L’arte vetraria by Antonio Neri – was printed in 1612, the anonymous author understood the importance of tempering. If it is kept in mind that the first book of glassmaking recipes – L’arte Vetraria of Antonio Neri – was printed in 1612 the importance of this discovery can be understood.

 

So with only a few obvious differences (particularly in the final sentence), I think I did a pretty fine job of it. And, now that I have a full English translation, I can skip right ahead to reading the book and starting to play with glass!

Next Update: My adventures in finding arsenic and mercury sulfides!
Previous Update: An unexpected turn of events.

(oh, and the left column was my translation)

03 Sep 2013

Update on Ricette Vetrarie del Rinascimento

You know that feeling you get when it seems that the fates are just having fun laughing at you?

Today I am both ecstatic and frustrated. After about a year of hurting my brain on trying to translate Ricette Vetrarie del Rinascimento through Babelfish, I did a random google search to see if there was any new discussion or information on the topic. I found two things: First, Fuzzy Lizard Studio is the top few listings when you google “Ricette Vetrarie del Rinascimento”!!! (Go me!)… And second, a professional English translation was released in Europe a few months ago.

So, this project is now on an indefinite hiatus. I have ordered a copy of the translation (which has added illustrations and annotations from the original Italian transcriber) and it should be here in a week or so. If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, email me and I will forward you the contact information. Also, I have been in email communication with the author, and he has given me some great research contacts here in North America for ancient glass techniques. Time to start saving my cash for buying more books!

When the English translation arrives from Europe, I will go through what little translation I have accomplished in the last year and compare it to his translations. I am very curious to see just how well Babelfish did. I will post my findings under this project page and then close the project as complete. Now to find something else just as crazy to start working on… Perhaps Kingdom level A&S champion?

 

Next update: Comparison of my translation to the professional translation.
Previous Update: Discussion on the translation process and the first page translated.

17 Aug 2013