Last weeks

Over the last few weeks I haven't had much chance to update the blog. I have been concentrating on my making and finishing and taking full advantage of the workshops.

Last time I left the blog it was during the easter holiday, which wasn't much of a holiday really as I spent alot of time hand lapping Sven who was being dificult and kept chipping which was rather annoying. I had pollished up to 220 on the flat beds then when to 320 grit hand lapping on sheet glass forgetting that the flat beds arnt (flat that is, or beds really, I wouldn't want to sleep on them they don't look very comfortable), so after a couple of days on 320 and not really getting anywhere I found out some 80 grit and pretty much started all over again. Once I had managed to get it glass flat on 80, 120, 220, 320 were a lot easier and by the end of the holiday I had managed to get to 600. I think it would have been a lot easier working in the cold work shop with the linisher to bevel off the edges when they are looking a bit sharp, but insted I was left with some sheets of linisher belt and sanded it down by hand.

Week 10

Duing this week I finished polishing off Sven and organised a setion in the photography studio to get some pictures of my work on a better back ground (not like my makeshift one on the black sugar paper) and have a go a photographing work on a sheet of black glass.

And I have started working on a few newer pieces, so I have plenty to chose from when the degree show comes around. Have been having some problems with my little camera so I'll upload some photos ready for next week.
One of the piece I've been preparing is one of the larger triangles I carved and qel flexed last week, the mould has been steamed and is drying out in the drying cupboard, and as has the plain triangular shape I made last is drying out too, so I need to book myself a few kilns ready for them.


Business Card

Any feed back on this would be really great, I think I need to make the text size a little bigger, but I thought the image was pretty good, but still not that sure.

I've seen worse buisness cards...

Alternitivaly I've been woking on a card to get printed though zazzle.co.uk they do slim cards, here are the designs I've come up with to get from there

Photoshop Work

Studio* Photography

*When I say Studio I mean the Glass Studio and a sheet of paper - Make shift studio...

I had a go at photoshopping my piece I submitted for the international glass festival, I think this images looks alot better...oh well

This is a close up of one of my pieces. It was looking a bit dark so its just been brightned up a bit, havent done much with it but I still think it a nice image.
I am thinking about using this as the images for my buisness cards.

For all my other random photos pleas
e visit my Flikr page

It's me again :)

International Glass Festival 2010 Submition


These are the images and addional information I submitted for the international glass festival this year, I hope I get in.
Oh and all the photography is by me :)

Additional Information

The inspiration for this piece is taken from architecture, and the ever-changing skylines of towns and cities mixed with soft organic forms and surfaces, so that the two to contrast yet complement each other.
The angular forms in my work seem to change as you move around it, and the organic curves are hand carved to create a water like flow through the pieces, the colours used reflect this to pull the piece together to give a serene and calming feel.
I use glass as my medium as I feels it captures the fluidity of the flow in my work and when polished adds extra dimensions to the angles of my pieces.

And last but not least....

It's Me!
My portrait picture to go with my submition.

Week 9 (Week Beginning 22/03/10)

Tell me why I don't like Mondays...

I don't really need to tell you when I can show you...

My piece decided it wanted to have a go at flying when I introduced it to the pumice wheel. I had been doing fine for most of that day on a flat felt wheel to get the flat surfaces all polished up with pumice. Some one else needed to use it so I went on the the brush wheel to polish off the curvier surface. I was going quite well until the tip got caught in the bristles and the wheel pulled it out of my hands launching it into the metal trough under the wheel breaking off the tip of the piece and scratching the piece a little too.

I was left in tears and shock for a little while. I'm really glad I have some lovely friends around to take care of me and cheer me up with chocolate. I managed to pull myself together faster than I expected I would have at the moment I felt the piece pull away from my hands and smash, it's a wounder what chocolate and a bit determination can do.

I had also decide last week that if I got this piece finished I would submit it to the international glass festival for the student prize. So at the end of last week I was preparing to get photos done and finish filling out forms, for this reason I really waned to push on and get the piece finished. After a little break me Dave and Jo had a little conference about what could be done with the piece (binning it was not an option, not that I would have done that anyway) We decide to try to follow the flow from the curves in the piece and curve off the edge by carving it down on the diamond wheel.
I couldn't get this done straight away like I would have wanted to because Simon the only one able to change the diamond wheel wheel wasn't in, so I tried to think of something else to get on with and keep positive about this piece.

Other things to get on with

I carved a plaster modle a couple of weeks ago but with all the polishing I had almost forgoten about it to I dicided that I would eventually like to get this into glass and so started cutting up all of my gelflex I could find and start soaking the plaster. Also I have a feeling over the next few week people are going to be after all the equipment they can get their hands on so I'm better off getting it done now so I can get some waxes out in the week and make some moulds to dry over the easter holidays.
When cutting up the gexflex I suspected that I wouldn't have enought  to fill my mould. I found this to be true when pouring the gelfex into the mould. As the gelflex statered to cool I tried using a stick to push the gelfex up over the bit of the mould that wasnt completlyey covered. This shouldn't be too much of a problem, when the gelflex has cooled I will pour over some plaster this will keep the shape and stiffen the mould.
On a positive note the gelfelx didn't bubble.
Also during the week I managed to get two waxes done and in moulds. 

While I was gelfexinging I also got a wax from my two part mould from the other week and set up some boards to make a two part mould. Not quite sure what I'll do with it yet but, I have thought about carving into the glass surface with the diamond wheel rather than making the modle and carving it first and making multiples of the one shape. If I were to carve the glass insted I could make it so every piece is a one off. I might cast this with clear glassma and have a go if I have time or I haven't come up with any better ideas to work on over the holidays. Alternitivly I could use the gaffer colours and polish like in my other pieces so that the contrast is between the the form and the shapes within the glass rather than, the contrast in the form. I don't think that the colours and the flow within the clours of the glass seem to suit the form very well. Or if I don't do any of this keep the mould cast it later and polish in my own time then sell it when I've finished university when I've finally thought about what I want to do with the piece.
Anyway back to mould making, when making this mould I found out that we wer out of HT, so insted I would need to use fiber strands. So the mixture for this mould was 4liter of Water mixed with 2.8kg of Plaster, 2.8kg of Silica and 4 spoon fulls of fiber strands. The mix filled the mould very nicely no excess, yay.


After some work on on the diamond wheel, linisher and the pumice wheel I managed to alter the piece to a form I was happy with. Originally I wanted the piece to stand with the wave underneath but when I was polishing I started looking at the piece from different angles and thought that this way suited the piece best and in a way I thought it looked a little like a butterfly wing, very pretty. The shape also looks like a wave now and the clours really add to it. I'm really proud I managed to do something with the piece even after it got broken. Some people have even said how much they prefer the way this one looks to the way it was before, they are probably being nice. I like it any way :)

Now to get it cleaned up and photographed...


Week 8 (Week Beginning 15/03/10)


Not the most exciting of weeks spent the whole week polishing the piece I had just gotten out the kiln. I definitely prefer the look of this new one to the one from last week, I still want to get both polished up for practice but I will be making this new one a priority.

While all this exciting hand lapping is going on the other piece is still wiggling away on the vibraplap and taking forever . I did take it off and hand lap it for a bit but it chipped several times even when I had beveled down the sides. Starting to get annoyed with this one...

I like 600 grit its soooooo smooth, like rubbing silk on silk...And one step closer to shiny.

At the end of the week the new piece (one on the right) was at 600 grit ready for the pumice wheel next week and the other piece I had hand lapped up to 320 after getting fed up of waiting for the vibralap to do it.

When I got the glass out of the kiln last week I needed to cut off the excess glass so I covered the glass in plaster and set it up in the lap saw. I managed to get the plaster off the glass in one piece, I thought it was quite interesting so I've kept it, might help me develop my ideas.

Week 7 (Week Beginning 08/03/10)

Kiln Casting With Gaffer Casting Crystal

The image to the left is that of the glass that came out of the cast I put in at the end of last week. The effect isn't really what I wanted but it is really pretty. The jade green and clear have mixed quite a strange way creating waves of colour within the piece and the jade green has split in to lots of different shades of green.
I have another couple of
moulds for this shape I will try another method of casting them with the other billet and a half of clear and jage green I have left to see what different effects I can get.
I have already started cold working this piece getting the excess cu
t off and flat bedding the surfaces at 120 and 220 grits, I would like to get this to a finely polished standard so I get more practice for future pieces. And i wrote in my proposal that I would need to practice my pollishing skills.


After a couple of days of hand lapping I started to lose the feeling in my hands and the will to live so I inquired to the use of this little piece of kit, the Vibralap. It's like a flat bed but you leave your piece of work on it and it grinds the surfaces down for you, but it takes a lot of time. I had gone through the grits 120, 220, 320 and started on 400 but for some reason it was taking ages to get all the permanent pen cross hatching off (you cross hatch with a permanent pen or using a china graph pencil so you can tell when you have ground the layer back to a flat surface) I think it's because I started using a different sheet of glass than I had the day before so one of them mush have been ground down too much in one spot making the sheet uneven. So I set up the vibralap, it needed to be level so the bottom of it was propped up in places and the legs adjusted while a spirit level was sat on top so I could tell when it was level moving it around occasionally to check the whole thing was level. Next I needed to clean off the bed that the glass piece vibrated on, to get rid of any bits of glass dust or old grit. When that was all clean I poured on some 400 grit and mixed it with water, I was told to make it a little thinner that I would if I were hand lapping then when it was turned on come back to it every 10Min's or so to check on the glass or top up the grit or water if I think I need to.

The image too the right shows how much was ground down after about twenty minuets. I returned again to the piece every 10 - 15 minuets during the day and the amount ground down didn't seem to be very much. It would probably work a lot faster if there was some more weight to the piece also the glass that I had been hand lapping on to begin with may not have been that flat. It seems this may take a few days just to get this one surface flat, think I may go back to hand lapping but for now I'll leave it on a little longer to see how it gets on, and I'll get on with something else...

Casting Billets (Second Attempt)

It's not that I don't like the other piece, it's just not how I thought it might look. So I'm going to try popping the billets straight into the mould. I have been told that with this method I will be able to see a seem between the two layers of glass, but you might be able to make them blend together the two colours the longer you hold the kiln at the top temperature. I'm going to use the same kiln program as I did for the first piece as it seemed to cast quite well, I shouldn't have to hold this as long because it hasn't got a resiwar to flow through but the longer time might help the colours blend. Again I have used a billet and a half to cast with and like the other there will be excess which is a shame. It might be worth trying with the gaffer frits at some point so that I don't end up with as much waste.

Here is the kiln program I used:

50 ⁰C/hr → 500 ⁰C → Pass hrs
Full ⁰C/hr → 830 ⁰C → 3.00 hrs
100 ⁰C/hr → 600 ⁰C → Pass
15 ⁰C/hr → 440 ⁰C → 4.00 hrs
10 ⁰C/hr → 360 ⁰C → Pass
20 ⁰C/hr → 310 ⁰C → Pass
50 ⁰C/hr → 21 ⁰C → Pass

More Plaster Models

Here are some of the plaster pieces I got from using the two part mould I made last week, I am strating to use them to think about how to arange and carve my final piece.

And here is a nice bit of carving I did...

Week 6 (Week Beginning 01/03/10)

Looking For Inspiration

Over the weekend while looking for some thing to draw, I came across my sister sketch book which had a couple of pictures of and eroded sandstone rock face. I thought the curves in it were similar to the ones I had been carving in plaster. This is the drawing I did of one of the photos (the images quality isn't very good, my camera was dying when I took the photo).
I found out that the photos were taken in a place in Bridgenorth called the Hermitage. So on the Monday I took a bus to Bridgenorth (not sure why, but it is a nice place) and carved caves into the sand stone. I had been told that the are had been closed off after the caves collapsed about a year ago this was probably why I wasn't able to fine it or see any directions. Any way I managed to find a steep muddy path to a sandstone rock face that had eroded.
Looking at the drawing now it
looks a bit like body, might be worth doing some life drawing at some point in the future for my sketch book. Anyway....

Here are some of the photos I took (of Sandstone):

Making Multiples

I've started getting bored of carving shapes I might never use and didn't particularly like so I thought I'd try to cut a shape I was happy with. So using one of the larger triangles I'd cut I used my small arcitectual form to measure out how to make a scaled up version of it but without the corner cut off. I took the piece after soaking it for a while and stated to cut it out on the architectural could get it cleaned up and make a mould of it.
I managed to cut the edges that were at 90 degree angles to each other bu
t there was an angle I had a bit of trouble doing, at first I tried drawing out the kind of angle I would need on the plaster and follow that along but I didn't seem to get it right, and the pieces stated going some odd looking angles so in the end I just went for it with the view if it goes wrong its just plaster and I'm sure I could cast another block of plaster the right kind of size to do it. Not expecting to get it right, Yes! I DID IT! Go me XD I squealed in delight and I'm not too embarrassed to say I did a little happy dance. But, I didn't take a photo of that, I took a photo of the boring plaster polishing smoothing bit *yawn* fortunately I was still in a good mood and I was quite happy just to be at that stage. The image is the soggy plaster piece on a piece of sandblasted glass then I sand it down on the glass by moving it around in a figure of eight motion. Some of the sides didn'tas they were still flat from being cast onto boards, the most challenging bit was the odd angle I had cut, but still it wasn't that wonky and not much trouble to get flat.
Now for the exciting bit mould making but not bef
ore soaping, not sure if I've mentioned about soap before if I haven't you should know about it cause it's somethign mould maker/plaster worker should know about, it lubricates the plaster or anything with a porous surface to stop the plaster from sticking to it.When making moulds you should always soap the table where your pouring your plaster to stop it from sticking also. When preparing to make this mould I soaped my model atleast seven times because I really didn't want to ruin my.
The next step after what seemed like it could have been several hours of soaping, I started setting up the boards around the piece. I left two sides flat against a board and the table so they wouldn't be covered with plaster. So when I make more of these triangular models with the mould in plaster or wax I can choose between a large surface to pour into or a smaller.
The boards around the mould were secured with clay and had rope tied around it. I then had to mix 15pints of water and plaster to fill the mould. Unfortunately my mould wasn't strong enough, and the board at the back that the plaster model was resting on slipped away and the wet plaster started to seep out. Lovely Mark (The Plaster Master) came to my rescue, and caught a large amount of the wet plaster in a bucket and poured in in while I held the boards in place, it's a good job 15pints of plaster was a little too much.
Thinking about it now I s
hould have made my mould with the larger surface lying down as the weight of the plaster was too much for the taller boards, and if I had lay the piece down I could have had boards around the piece saving a lot of plaster, silly me.
When I removed the boards after the plaster had dried I found that I had lost the flat surface for the larger side of the triangle and had to carve down the surface with a surfor

The surform is the red tool just at the bottom of the picture, its a great tool for flattening off edges and carving down surfaces and making them look flatter and neater. To take the weight off the piece Mark cut the waste bit of plaster off for me on the band saw (this is probably the most help I've had off Mark ever, I'm not really one to ask for help I just like to get on with things and make my own mistakes, but I'm not against getting a little wisdom form others now and again) I got that surface surformed and tidy up the edges of the mould a little.

I was originally just going to use a board every time I wanted to use this mould to make a model but because the surface wasn't very flat I chose to make a 2 part mould out of it. Before pouring any more plaster on to the mould I made some natches (little indents) in the plaster so when I take a mould off them (to make little lumps) there is a negative of the natches so its easy to locate where to put the 2 halves of the mould together (you can see these little bumps on the images above and below). Next step soap.... When the mould was all soaped up I put boards around it and secured it with clay and rope (didn't really need to rope just after having the earlier spillage I didn't want a repeat). For the other half of the mould I only needed 2 pints of water and plaster

Mould all done and ready to use :)

Just need to remembered to soap it up well when using plaster and giving it a good soak when using wax.

Casting Billets

After giving it some time and though I decided to use clear glass and jade green as the colour for this piece, I came to this disition after looking at some of my glass work from last semester. The odious colour would have been the copper blue but I found a couple of piece where I had used copper wire and I preferred the colour in this, it had a slight tint of green to it and seem more of a natural colour compared to the copper blue. I also thought the copper blue was a bit too bright and I wanted my work to have a calming flowing watery look to it to reflect the wave I had carved out the plaster model.
Using the both billets in the image above was going to be too much glass for this piece so I got the jade green billet cut in half to reduce the weight.
Again I have chosen to a flower pot as a resavwars for my piece. I put the jade green at the bottom of the flower pot and the balanced on top. I want the jade green to be at the tip of the piece and hopefully as the clear starts to flow to the two colours will blend together to make the colour change suttle. I'm not sure if this will happen as this is my first time using the billets. It's a good job this is a rather small piece, the glass for this cost just over £17, compared to about £3 if I were using just clear glassma.
As I would like to make a bigger piece I think its a sensible idea to make a smaller piece to test before jumping into spending loads on something you have no idea how it will work out.

Here is the kiln program I used*:

50 ⁰C/hr → 500 ⁰C → Pass hrs
Full ⁰C/hr → 830 ⁰C → 3.00 hrs
100 ⁰C/hr → 600 ⁰C → Pass
15 ⁰C/hr → 440 ⁰C → 4.00 hrs
10 ⁰C/hr → 360 ⁰C → Pass
20 ⁰C/hr → 310 ⁰C → Pass
50 ⁰C/hr → 21 ⁰C → Pass

*To come up with this program I used a chart provided on the gaffer glass website