Thursday, 31 May 2007

It's Sale Time! Spring into Summer.

The CGGE is having a grand sale from June 1 to June 7. There will be lots of glass bargains to be had, including some of the beauties shown here on the right. Just go to and search for CGGEsale. You can also go to to view all the members and their glass work.

What does CGGE mean? It's the Creative Glass Guild of Etsy, a glass collective who are all etsyians.

Why does Etsy need a glass collective? To support each other and promote our glass work. CGGE is an inclusive group that is non-juried. Instead members are asked to "strive for five" - that is to have a minimum of five glass items in their shops.

What's in the sale? You will need to visit the individual shops to find out which bargains sellers are offering. Some will offer BOGOs, some % off, some will have reduced items, I, personally, will be offering free shipping, anywhere!

Which types of glass are available? Cold worked glass (etched, painted, stained glass) warm glass (fused and slumped) and hot glass (glass blowing, bead making).

Where else can I see CGGE glass? Check out the CGGE group on Flickr or visit the various blogs. Coming soon - a CGGE blog totally devoted to glass.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Creating a Glass Dish Part 4

After one day fusing and one day slumping the dish is finished. I take the cold dish from the kiln and check the back to see if any kiln wash is stuck to it. I then wash it in warm water with washing up liquid and dry it. Now for some kiln maintenance - I check the kiln shelf to see if it needs repainting with kiln wash and vacuum out the kiln ready for the next fusing.
These dishes are available from the following outlets:

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Creating a Glass Dish Part 3

So here is the glass, fully fused. It is really a glass tile that now has to be slumped. Glass can be slumped (falls into a mould) or sagged (falls over a mould). This occurs at a lower fusing temperature than full fusing. I prepare the mould in the same way that I prepare the kiln shelf, by applying kiln wash with a brush. I take care when applying the wash so that it doesn't run down the inside of the mould and gather at the bottom only. Before I place the glass tile on the mould I check the base to see if there is any kiln wash stuck to it or any residue. I rinse the glass in hot water and vinegar and dry it carefully. In this image you will see that the glass tile has been placed on the slumping mould. The glass should be the same size or slightly smaller than the mould. Any larger and the glass will slump over the edges as well as sinking to the bottom of the mould. The pink edge of the glass is actually the fresh kiln wash showing through the clear glass.
Now I fuse the glass to exactly the same schedule as before except, when the kiln has reached 1,400f, I turn the kiln dial down to 2 and leave it for two hours. The glass will have slumped into the mould but hasn't reached its strain release point so I don't put the glass through an annealing segment.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Creating a Glass Dish Part 2

When the glass components of the dish are dry I arrange them on a primed kiln shelf and glue some decorative fused glass blobs onto the hearts with Elmer's glue. I leave the glue to dry thoroughly before I place the kiln shelf in the kiln. I us a liquid primer that I make up myself and apply it with a haik brush. Haik brushes are quite hairy so I am careful to rub off any hairs that stick to the shelf. I give the shelf five layers of wash and dry each one with a hair dryer before applying the next. I used to spray the wash onto the shelf but this was too messy as the spray bottle kept clogging. Also, I like the texture the brush marks give to the base of the glass.

Now I switch the kiln on for the initial heating phase. I start at No. 2 on the kiln dial for the first hour and bring the glass up to it's strain release point by 150f every 30 minutes. When the heat reaches 1000f I put the bung in the kiln and take the kiln up to 1,500f at a faster rate. When the glass reaches its strain release point I look through the bung hole to check on the glass. The kiln holds this temperature for between 5 and 15 minutes (longer if its float glass) to soak the glass. By now the glass should look nicely rounded and glowing. I remove the bung and turn the dial back down to 2 (on my Aim kiln I reach 8 on the dial) until the temperature reaches 1000f. This is the rapid cooling phase and when the kiln reaches 1000f I replace the bung and leave it to soak at this temperature.This enables the glass to anneal so that becomes tempered and won't shatter when the kiln is cold. I like to leave the glass to soak for a minmum of one hour . Then I turn the kiln off and leave the glass to cool to room temperature.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Creating a Glass Dish Part 1

This is Bullseye glass and it's my favorite. The Bullseye factory is in Portland, Oregon which is why it is more expensive than in the US. Must be the air miles! But the colours are lovely, it is easy to cut and grind and doesn't lose its intensity when fused. I'm a big fan.

So these are the colours I am going to use in my glass dish. I have cut a square of 5" in thick clear glass, a slightly smaller square of thin vanilla opal and now I am going to cut the heart shapes in red, orange, amber and lime green thin transparent glass. I draw round the paper heart template with a permanent marker pen and cut the hearts with a Toyo cutter. I try to be as economical with the glass as possible, saving small fragments to use as frit and larger pieces for other projects.

Here is the glass dish prior to grinding. I have a small Glastar diamond grinder which I bought from Tempsford Glass about four years ago. It gets a lot of punishment but its still going strong. I like to use a fine grinding head for Bullseye and change to a coarse grinding head for float and very thick glass. Once the glass has been smoothed I wash it in hot soapy water, rinse it in vinegar and water then dry it very carefully.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Glass Fusing Courses and Workshops in the UK

Liquid Glass Centre, Trowbridge, Wilts.
Weekend workshops and occasional Monday workshop on the following:
glass blowing, fusing and slumping, bead making and other kiln techniques. Prices range from £145 for a one day workshop to £545 for a week at summer/winter school. Workshops held all year. Contact Liquid Glass for more details.
Tel: 01225 768888

Bucks & Chilterns University College High Wycombe Bucks
Evening course in kiln formed glass from Autumn 2007. Fees: £150, some materials provided. Suit experienced glass students. A CV and 3 images required on application (is this a course or a submission???) Contact Jacque Pavlovsky for more details.
Tel: 01844 345498


Northlands Creative Glass Caithness Scotland
Bullseye Masterclass - kiln casting techniques. 30 June to 8 July 2007. Fees: £785
Kiln casting Masterclass. 22 August to 30 August 2007. Fees: £785
Glass blowing Masterclass. 25 August to 30 August 2007. Fees: £580
Cold working Masterclass - stained glass. 4 September to 12 September 2007. Fees: £785
Glass blowing Masterclass - hot sculpture. 4 September to 12 September 2007. Fees: £825
Reduced fee for full time students: £110
Tel: 01593 721229

The Good Shepherd Stained Glass Studio Seaton Devon
5 week beginners creative kiln techniques course - includes fusing, slumping and sagging. From Monday 4th June 2007. 7pm to 9pm.
Tel: 0129 21443

Glass Dreams East Sussex
Fusing and slumping workshops. Thursday 12 July, Friday 13 July, Saturday 14 July, Sunday 15 July 2007. £6 per hour, including materials.
Tel: 01435 866547

Favriles Southend on Sea Essex
10 week Glass fusing courses by arrangement at 2 hours per week. £150 including materials.
Tel: 01702 416153

Lorraine Cole Southsea Portsmouth Hants
Fused glass lessons from Monday to Saturday 10am - 4pm by arrangement. £140 including materials.
Tel: 02392 297741

Sunderland School of Art, Design etc, Sunderland
Courses on hot glass, kiln glass, architectural and stained glass. School uses facilities at National Glass Centre (see below). (A really bad website to navigate and poor information)
For details contact Professor Peter Davies.
Tel: 0191 5153653

National Glass Centre, Sunderland
Glass blowing sessions. Prebook. £150 for half day.
Tel: 0191 5155555

More to follow......

Float confetti and bubble powder

Monday, 14 May 2007

About Float

"One day we'll float....take life as it comes" PJ Harvey

I first started out fusing with float glass. It's cheap, it's plentiful (ask for scraps at your local frame maker's) and it's easy to cut. Float is called "float" because it is poured onto a bed of molten tin within a furnace and then machine rolled. It is totally flat and is used for window panes and picture glass. It's disadvantages are: it takes longer to reach full fuse temperature than most other glass, it sometimes becomes cloudy or milky during fusing and it can send splinters out when grinding. If you want to avoid cloudy glass (devitrification) then spray it with A Spray before it goes in the kiln and wear those goggles when grinding! Tempsford Glass sell Spray A.
At first I fused copper wire and copper sheet between two pieces of float but then I discovered coloured float confetti. Now coloured float is widely available (only in transparents at the moment) which makes it cheaper to create dishes and coasters than using Spectrum or Bullseye. The good news is that dichro coated float is also available, although it's not as nice as dichro coated Bullseye.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Dichroic glass is lovely

I love dichroic glass. I first saw it on a US glass website and thought "that is the glass for me". I originally used Dichromagic but now I only use CBS (Coatings by Sandberg). When I first started making dichro jewellery there wasn't very much made in the UK and so the galleries I approached were quite taken with it. I went to the British Craft Trade Fair at Harrogate and most of the dichro I saw there was fairly awful (quite a lot of badly cut and underfused pieces) which encouraged me to invest more time and energy into making dichro fused pieces. Now, of course, the market is saturated with dichro and I am constantly changing my ideas and designs to keep it fresh. There is so much mass produced dichro on eBay that I can't get a good price so I'm quite glad there's Etsy now. I like to add small pieces of dichro on fused glass dishes to give them a sparkle but dichro is so expensive I have to use it sparingly. Like all my glass, I save every fragment when I have cut it and fuse the small pieces in the kiln to make decorative "blobs".
What is dichroic glass? Dichro isn't a glass in itself but layers of quartz crystal and metal oxides that coat a glass surface. As long as the coated glass is compatible with other glass then dichro coated glass can be fused with transparent or opaque glass. CBS dichro is coated onto Bullseye therefore CBS is compatible with all glass that is 90COE, including Bullseye. You can also buy other dichro coated glass, such as float, which will be compatible with glass that is 82COE. Both these types of dichroic coated glass are available from
Why use dichroic coated glass? The dichroic coating transmits a colour which, once heated, reflects a different colour from its surface. This reflection is dependent on the angle you hold the glass at because the refracted light from the surface makes it faceted. Dichro can also be influenced by the colours you are wearing as dichro jewellery can pick up different variance of colour. A good example of this is the blues which can range from cyan to violet. Wear it against black and it will be different than wearing it against, say, green. Wearing dichro jewellery is very attractive because the flash of changing colour catches the eye as the wearer moves around.

Dichroic glass jewellery by Glassprimitif is available from:

Friday, 4 May 2007

But these aren't red!

No they're not but if I worked with red glass all the time I would get stuck in a rut. Instead, I really like these Bullesye opals I bought in turquoise, soft blue, lime green and vanilla. I have mixed them with transparent blues, turquoise and greens to create these dishes. There are two sushi dishes, both starring on and a larger glass dish that I don't want to part with yet as I like it so much. I'm going to order some more opals from Warm-glass in funky colours.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

It was made for me!

I want to rave about my new tote bag that came today. Created by Stacyhandmade, she designed it with red and black fabric just for me. I was so pleased with it I just had to share. check her other bags out at
She also makes beautiful books and cards.