Slumped glass vases are fun to make and really quite lovely. It’s fun to see the random draping of the glass. But, what if you need a more clearly defined drape, or you’d like a more wide open shape? It is really quite easy to make your own custom floral former using a terra cotta pot, fiber paper and a stapler.
Begin with a square of fiber paper larger than your glass, a stapler, and a terra cotta pot:
Start by centering the square of paper on the terra cotta pot, with the smoother side up. The idea is to fold the fiber paper down around the pot and staple it through the folds. Think in terms of a fiber paper cupcake cup, upside down on the pot. Start by folding the paper down on the sides so the corners flare out:
Crease the paper from the center out to the corner and staple through the fold. Staple about an inch from the folded edge. Repeat for all four corners:
Your fiber paper will still be pretty loose on the pot. Next, carefully pull out the fiber paper in between the corners, crease and staple. Use caution as you do this step so you don’t pull your staples loose.
What you have here is a fiber paper floral former. You can practice stapling even more complicated arrangements of folds to vary your floral forms even more.
After you are finished stapling, center your prepared glass on the form in the kiln (on a prepared shelf, of course). Here I have two identical pieces of glass, one on the fiber form we just made, and one on a traditional floral form that has been kilnwashed. Using a slump firing schedule, I can slump both pieces of glass at once.
*A quick side note on slumping with floral formers – since you are balancing a sheet of glass on one contact point, you are putting additional stress on the glass as it heats, and increasing the chance of thermal shock. I strongly suggest that you slow your ramp rate to no more than 250 F/hr on the up side to compensate. If your glass thermal shocks, slow down even more. Every kiln is different, so use what works best for your equipment.*
You can see that we have two quite different shapes here with our vases. The traditional floral former makes a narrower, taller shape with closer folds:
Our custom home made floral former makes a more wide open vase, nearly a bowl: