I went to a wedding on Monday and picked up a commission. I was actually a bit irritated at having to be at the wedding at all. Bad enough that somebody had had the silly idea to get married on a wet afternoon at the beginning of what’s shaping up to be a very squally September, but they did it during my glass-making time and I don’t like to have glass-time interfered with.
I realize that I’m a bit crazy that way – I’d far rather be making glass than doing almost anything else with the precious hour or two in the afternoon when my babies are asleep. It’s turning me into an increasingly cantankerous hermit. But anyway, more of that some other time, I’m sure. Meanwhile, back to the wedding.
I’ve sold a couple of bits and pieces to my aunt before now and she just casually said, “you couldn’t get something to me by Friday, could you?” Well, that’s what Special Delivery (overnight mail service) is for, so of course I said yes, as casually as was compatible with immediately. It seemed she wanted a heart pendant for a friend’s birthday. Green, quite large, with a bit of decoration (but not too much), and on a ribbon, please.
I’m not one to turn down a commission. No problem… What sort of green? Well, a bit bright and a bit dark – only not too dark, and not loud – but not sludgy either and sort-of transparent but not totally so and not too garish but a little bit jazzed up all at the same time.
I think she is one of those people (and there are many, many of them) who don’t really get glass. They think you can mix the colors like paints and somehow just cut holes out of the middle, and so forth. Do they think we take scissors or a long spoon and reach in at 1450 degrees and swirl the stuff around, or what? I know I don’t. One day I’ll get into sharing my experiment with graphite tongs, but that’s another story…
So, yes, all this I agreed to, and of course it is also a heart (which I’ve never made before) and in an unspecified size known in the trade as ‘Goldilocks’. I’m not overconfident, but I figured I could have a reasonable attempt and I’ve got time to put it in the kiln twice (once Tuesday, once Wednesday, because Monday had by now already gone up in smoke, glass-production-wise) and ship it out Thursday. Time to have a stab at it, and then grind and firepolish the stab.
OK. On Tuesday I had a look at all the greens I’d got and picked out the candidates and laid them on top of one another and squinted at them for a bit and did a little generic despairing and had another look in the bits box. And I found a perfect piece of glass. It was the edge of a sheet of 2mm Bullseye fern green and – because of being the edge, and therefore fairly irregular – it was almost perfectly heart-shaped already. Wow. There was a “bobble” of glass that formed a very passable top of a heart. I added scraps of opal spring green and olive green and some silver dichroic on clear and some other silvery-green dichroic on clear and a little piece of stringer and a layer of 3mm clear over the top about 1mm larger all round (but less perfectly heart-shaped as luck had been a better shaper of the green than my grinder was of the clear).
I was absolutely sure I’d have to grind it down the next day, and I also thought that the layers might not be perfectly fused together. I generally hate it when you can see the seam between layers of dichroic jewelry: I think it’s amateurish and slapdash (though obviously it can be used as a deliberate effect). So I was looking for a firing schedule that was conservative enough to keep the heart shape as intact as possible, but hot enough to fuse the layers properly together. I got so lucky I can’t believe. Top temp of 1385 for 20 minutes.
Here’s the result. And yes, my aunt did like it. And her friend? We have yet to find out.
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