Sunday, 25 May 2014


Yesterday, I went with Janette and her friend Sara to make glass birds at the Toledo Museum of Art. We had taken similar workshops and made pumpkins, icicles and flowers. Each used different techniques to shape the glass. I didn't know how we would make the birds, but it turns out that we didn't really use any different techniques.
The people teaching the course did a demo bird to show us what to expect and then they took us one at a time through making our own. First they used the rod to dip a bit of glass out of the furnace. They brought it to us where we dipped it in up to two colors. I chose red and orange. We let it sag into the one color then flipped it into the other. Then it was into the furnace to melt the colors into the glass.
The next step was to twist up the colors some. They brought the rod to us and we gripped the end of the glass with forceps while they turned the rod. They let it cool a bit so they could get another layer of clear glass on it.
We used a shaped wood paddle to shape the glass a bit, then used another tool to make an indent for the neck and where it will be removed from the rod. This gives it a body and head. Then it's back into the furnace so it can be shaped more as the glass cools quickly enough that it is hard to shape without reheating. The next step is to use the forceps to grab a bit on the head to form the beak and pull it out and then flatten it.
After a bit more reheating it is a similar move for the tail.
Then it's a bird on a rod.
They put the bird into something to hold it so we can remove the rod. They use diamond cutters to make the attachment small then they hold it while you rap the rod with the handle of a butter knife. A torch melts the glass enough that we can use a graphite paddle to flatten the bottom so it can sit.
The birdie. It had to be put in an oven to cool slowly so I don't actually have the bird yet. Because it was hot while working on it, we didn't get a good idea of how the colors will turn out. Shawl update. I got into the pink, so I'm over half way. I'm having trouble getting the picture transferred at the moment, but I'll update about the shawl again.

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