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Pot Melts with Recycled Glass

finished casting on top layerSometimes a girl just has to melt a whole bunch of glass.  I’m working on samples for a possible project, so thought I’d give a quick run through of setting up and firing a bunch of pot melts.  The end goal is 4 large pieces and 2 color samples.  I’ll be casting 4 solid colors and 2 mixed colors.

kiln washed trayThis is the saucer for the bottom layer.  I need to use this for two different colors, and keep them separate, so I’ll put in a kilnwashed divider made from a strip of old kiln shelf. Continue reading Pot Melts with Recycled Glass

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July Kiln Carving Pattern

Fused Kiln Carved Bottle Glass Project

The free kiln carving pattern for July is ready!  As you may know, I live in the lovely state of Utah.  We’ve had a very hot, dry, spring, and much of my state has been on fire for the past week or so. Continue reading July Kiln Carving Pattern

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June Kiln Carving Pattern


Kiln carving pattern Ivy

June’s free kiln carving pattern is a twisty ivy leaf.  This pattern is probably a bit more difficult than beginner level.  It has huge potential for green glass sun catchers, or dishes with ivy around the edge and on the bottom.  This pattern was inspired by the mass of ivy that I really need to remove from the wall in my garden.  It’s gorgeous, but kind of a pain. Continue reading June Kiln Carving Pattern

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The Case for Desperation in Creativity

It all started out innocently enough; we were trying to figure out a way to modify the Self Portrait Paperweight project for the Hawthorne ELP Artist Residency.  Originally I had planned to have the kids make a clay positive face, then pour a plaster/silica mix mold for each one before doing a pot-melt with recycled bottle glass.

The hassle factor was high, as were the potential material costs. Then it dawned on me, what if the kids made a reverse portrait with clay, I put it at the bottom of a standard size mold, and the glass melts down in.  Reusable molds (in this case, extra deep terra cotta saucers, of which I own exactly 3, but which are cheap and readily available).  Problem solved!

Except no one makes the saucers anymore.  When I bought mine they were everywhere!  I discovered this after submitting my final proposal.  Nowhere in town, nowhere on the web. I’m sure I could have found them eventually, but not in the quantity that I needed (30).

So, to further complicate the process, I decided to make the saucers.  It’s only 30 or so, I have a ceramics kiln and how hard could it be.  Turns out, not very hard,  I made some nice octagonal saucers that fit on my kiln shelf nicely.

The first class to make the portraits is the 6th grade.  They have a great time, understand the concept and do good work.  Back to the studio go the faces.

But there is a problem, what is going to become known as the infamous gap.

The Problematic Gap Continue reading The Case for Desperation in Creativity

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Cutting Bottles With a Tile Saw

Bottle cut with a tile saw

There are lots of ways to cut bottles, I’ve tried all of them that I can find and think of, my favorite is still the tile saw.  There are pro’s and con’s to using a tile saw, it’s a tool that is great for somethings, not so much for others.

Things to consider:

  • It’s FAST!  I can cut upwards of 50 bottles an hour with a saw.
  • Works great for bottles with surface texture or raised patterns.
  • Fairly accurate with practice.
  • Leaves a raggedy edge that is really best either cut off, or ground smooth before fusing.  I usually cut them off.
  • Is pretty darn messy.
  • Needs safety gear.  I STRONGLY recommend a respirator, safety glasses or face shield and a combination of ear-plugs and gun muffs.

I have an 8″ tile saw, so I roll the bottle into the saw blade as I cut.  If you have a larger saw, you can pull the blade through the bottle, I still recommend a slight roll, it will keep your cut smooth and keep the last little bit from breaking.

Once you get the neck and the bottom cut from the bottle, you’ll have a cylinder of glass that is the start point for lots of other projects.

Here is a short video showing how to cut the bottom from a Crown Royal bottle.

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Hawthorne ELP Artist in Residency

In just two weeks I will be starting a project that I’ve never done before.  I have been offered the Artist in Residency at Hawthorne Elementary in Salt Lake City.  The school has 250 kids, grades K-6.  I usually teach just one class of kids at a time, so expanding to include 7 classes of varying age and ability of kids has been very exciting.

The theme of the residency is Using Glass Art to tell the Story of YOU.  Each of the four projects that we will be doing will tell some part of what is unique about each persons life.  Three of the projects will be recycled glass, one will be fused art glass.

Continue reading Hawthorne ELP Artist in Residency

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Bottle Glass and Kiln Carving

Texture Tile with Recycled Bottle Glass dishRecently on on my facebook page, there was a question about how to flatten bottles enough to use in a kiln carving project.  The short answer is:  You don’t have too.  The long answer is more easily explained with some photo’s and instructions.  The cool thing is, this works for texture tiles too. Continue reading Bottle Glass and Kiln Carving

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Flxible – Cast Recycled Glass

Last Christmas I made a very cool custom gift for a friend.  Her hubby collects Flxible busses.  (yes, I did say bus, yes, it does take up a lot of room)  As a surprise, Jodie decided to have me make a glass copy of the hood emblem of a bus.  Here is the process starting with the cast aluminum original that I used to make the molds.

The steps:

Mold making:  the black piece of laminate that you see here is 18″x 10″, just for a sense of scale.  The original is also slightly curved in order to fit on the front of the bus, so I had to dam the underside to keep it from filling with plaster.

Setting up the mold.

Continue reading Flxible – Cast Recycled Glass