Success! The tack fuse 2nd cap fire with stringer and frit worked. I blocked it and took it up to 340 deg for 10 minutes. It was just enough to fully cover the glass without losing the texture of the trees and leaves. The overall depth of glass is about 3/4" at its deepest point.
Now to take on a larger, more complex piece.
There is nothing more simultaneously rewarding and frustrating than experimentation. Experimenting with new products, new methods and new media can make for many sleepless nights. An incredible fine artist and close friend, Ann Cheeks (anncheeks.com), has joined me on this adventure to elevate glass to another level.
Bullseye Glass' new product, Color Line Enamel Pens, has really brought painting to fired glass. Ann and I are in the process of testing the paints in various firing ranges, color durability, clear capping, etc... but so far, it is an amazing product. I have included pictures of paint testing both capped and uncapped taken to 1400 and 1465 degrees respectively. The first picture on the left are prefire test pieces once they were kiln dried (250 deg/30 min). The center picture is post fire to 1400 degrees--then the picture on the right is post second fire with a 6 mil clear cap of the two pieces on the right (1465 deg. with bubble squeeze). There was some slight color loss with each fire, so it may require a second layer of paint prior to capping in order to maintain the clarity and color vibrancy qualities of the first fire.
Ann and I are doing the experimentation in order to do multi-layer fusing (that is near casting in depth) of layers of paint and frit to create depth in glass. I will provide a chronology of the test samples as soon as the final firing is complete. Once we understand the product behavior and firing regimen, we will then begin building the full artwork.
My mom just had her 91st birthday in Houston and once again, I was not there to celebrate. This year was particular hard since Mom had a stroke several months ago and it has reminded us all that her time here on Mother Earth is nearing its end. There are days when she is alert and can remember the face of the person who walks in the door, and then there are days when she sleeps hours on end.
As is common with dementia patients, she continues to slip quietly into past memories. She loves to look at pictures of grandchildren and places she has been or events that left an impression. My sister said she is particularly drawn to the color red, which is odd since her favorite color was always blue. She always hated green, I think mostly because her own mother loved it so. Funny how that works--we reject the behavior and passions of our parents. I love green and don't like blue to this day.
I made her a bright red tulip in a blue vase stained glass piece for her window at the assisted-living center several years ago to brighten her room and to ask for forgiveness for not being near enough to help in her care. She has been proud of my work--my work as an artist seems to bring her joy since she always knew how much I loved to paint and work in glass. It is the one thing I believe I have to offer her since I brought her so much misery and disappointment in my younger years.
With her stroke, my sisters had to move her to a higher care facility in Houston--a place she has always hated and spent a lifetime trying to be free of. At least at this point, she is too unaware of her surroundings to know she has come full circle and returned. The new facility would not allow my stained glass to be hung since it requires drilling into the wall, etc..., but without it there, I feel disconnected somehow. My glass in the window served as my emotional and spiritual connection to her. It just had to be replaced somehow.
So with that, I crafted a small, simple frit painting in salmon and pimento reds that can be wall mounted with adhesives for her 91st birthday. She should be able to recognize it since it is in bright reds and it is meant to remind her of what my life has come to represent--the road less traveled. I am hoping when it goes up, both Mom and I will feel that the world's delicate balance is once again restored.
Welcome to the blog! I am the artist and gallery owner, Diane Quarles. I will post day-to-day outcomes and events here so you can see what is going on in the studio this month.