Techniques

1. Fused Glass Powder Prints – After taking an introduction and then 2 week class with Stacy Smith (first at Bullseye Glass in Portland, OR and then at Penland School of Craft in the NC mountains), I knew I wanted to pursue this technique. It relies heavily on Photoshop, and I learned a lot about “Layers” taking the class. Here are the basics: First, I manipulate photos (or other art pictures) in Photoshop and print the size transparencies (black on clear – laser printer gives darkest images) of the different layers (colors/images) I want in my artworks. Then I make a silk screen – I use a 110-137 mesh silk screen (from Victory Factory) and coat it with emulsion in a darkened room. After it is dry, I arrange the transparencies on a clean clear glass plate (1/4 inch thick or less so that UV light can pass through) on a light box containing UV fluorescent lights). On top of the transparencies I place the silk screen and then some opaque cardboard and books. The emulsion film gets exposed to the UV lights for about 2 minutes (varies with each person’s set up). Then, I wash off the silk screen with a strong water spray (hose outside is good) and dry it again. The areas with the black on the transparency should wash out as the UV light did not cross link that area.
The next step is to print by pushing glass powder through the silk screen (white areas) onto a piece of glass to fuse. Suspend the silk screen above the glass so that it doesn’t smear when making the print. To print, push glass powder through the screen onto a clean sheet of glass. After printing, fuse the glass – high temperature (for me 1450 degrees or higher) will give a smooth glossy appearance. Later, after the first fuse, you can print another image and fuse at a lower temperature (about 1275-1350) depending on color used and textural effect desired. There are so many variations to try that each artwork becomes a monoprint. Note how the WWII War’s Over prints, which use the same images, differ with different emphasis and color.

 

2. Vitrigraph pulls with concentric radiating designs – For the container, either obtain a flower pot (must be Italian clay – dark brown) and enlarge the hole in the bottom to at least one inch in diameter. Bullseye glass sells the one I like to use which is wider and already has the larger hole in the bottom. This pot is really only good for one (or maybe 2 pulls – I wouldn’t trust it).

Layer 29-30 circles of 3mm glass of different colors in the pot. If you look at my sheet (figure 1), I list the glass on the right side of the page going up for each layer. First of all, especially near the bottom, put 2 layers of the same color together for best effect. I show on the left side where the different colors come out in the center of the rods you are pulling. The colors change very quickly at first so that in the first few rods (I make mine about 20 inches long), a lot of the bottom layers are gone fast. That means you can actually do several layers of clear – or say you make layer 4-5 aventurine green. That becomes the outer color of the rod for most of the pulls. You can see from this chart that the layers at the bottom come out very fast (in the first few rods) whereas the top layers will show up in many layers at the end.
This means that if you want a lot of one type of murrini, place that layer at the top of the pile.

The main thing to keep in mind is that whatever is at the very top of your pile will become the center at about ½ way through the pull (about rod # 8-10 for me), and the rest of the pull will have that type of center. That makes it really nice if you put a design like radiating spokes (figure 2) or a daisy pattern (figure 3) at the top. For the daisy pattern (3 layers of 3mm glass) and the green cells (orange and yellow spokes, about ½ inch thick), I prefused them (just to tack it – at 1300 degrees). You will get a lot of variations of this design in about ½ of the rods. See the Sushi plate in progress (figure 4) and the detail (figure 5) that shows a lot of the daisy pattern variations. I also show in figure 6 a sample of the radiating murrini I have made. I just finished teaching a workshop where we made two pulls, one was the daisy pattern at the top, and the other was a blue and turquoise spokes pattern (figure 7).
Here is the Vitrigraph kiln program I used for these pulls:
200 degrees F/hour to 900 degrees, hold 1 hour
400 degrees F/hour to 1505 degrees, hold 3 hours (long enough for total pull)
Figure 8 shows the chart for the Daisy pattern vitrigraph chart. It goes along with a lot of the other figures.

The last two figures show two of my pieces made with radiating murrini I made with the vitrigraph. These are mounted in walnut stands.