Design Processes for Glass

As featured in Fired Arts & Crafts magazine, July, 2013:

Glass Design & Ceramic Glazes At the Glass Craft & Bead Expo 2013 Mayco caught the attention of many an on-looker with a fusing technique using Stroke & Coat® and Designer Liner glazes.


The technique demonstrated at the expo is fairly straight-forward: use a template to trace a design on a piece of glass using Designer Liner; fill in and around the design with Stroke & Coat® glazes; lay a second piece of glass over the design and fuse. Cone 06 glazes mature at 1829 F° and glass usually fires to a full fuse between 1450 F° to 1500 F°. As a result the glaze will look more like the wet color after firing. Unlike applying glazes to ceramics you’ll only need one thin coat of Stroke & Coat® to obtain opaque color. Too much glaze and you may develop bubbles between the sheets during fusing. (Same advice holds true for Designer Liner) Using a pattern is optional, of course. Those gifted with drawing skills will find Designer Liner a joy to use as it produces a crisp, precise line much like using a pen. (Curved piece with Owls, free-hand tree on red glass as example photos)

glass square bowlCreating Glass Texture Molds Producing your own casting or texturing glass molds is really very easy – all you need are moist clay and something to create texture. We’ll go through the production process below and take a look at samples of finished pieces using “home-made” molds. In this example we are going to make a mold from Mayco’s Designer Mats, which are 6” x 9”. You will adjust the amount of clay needed based on the size of your texture source. Step 1: Take a chunk of clay (approximately 3 lbs.) and flatten it with your hands until it is about 1” thick. Note: since we are not firing the clay to its maturation temperature it doesn’t matter whether the clay is earthenware or stoneware. Step 2: Place a piece of canvas on your work surface and lay the clay on it. Place two wooden slats, 3/8” thick, to the left and right of the clay. Use a rolling pin or a 1" dowel to further flatten the slab until it is the same thickness as the wooden slats. Step 3: Place the Mayco Designer Mat on the clay and use the rolling pin to press the mat into the clay. Step 4: Drying is a very critical step as we want to avoid warping and cracking. Using two pieces of sheetrock or drywall carefully place your mold on one piece and then lay the other piece on top of the mold. The drywall will draw out the moisture evenly and slowly and keep the mold flat. A good way of testing to see if your clay is completely dry is to touch the mold against your cheek. If the clay feels room temperature on your cheek, it is dry and ready to use. If the clay feels a little cool on your cheek then it is not completely dry. When moist clay is fired in a kiln the water in the clay turns to steam – which is usually a bad thing. The clay will break or crack – at worst explode – and make a mess in your kiln.

 

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