Yesterday morning, Mike and I went to an art glass workshop, a fun four-hour workshop in which we’d get to try out three different art glass techniques. In four hours, we rotated through stained glass, slumped glass, and hot glassworking. Mike and I got to take two of our three pieces home; the slumped glass needs to be fired, and we’ll be picking it up next week sometime.
I am ridiculously proud of my stained-glass piece and my new swizzle stick:
The stained-glass piece is lovely and reasonably well-made (though I should mention that they pre-cut the glass for us, so the difficult work was already done), the glass swizzle stick has some drips because I didn’t separate the end cleanly. Still, I had lots of fun, and I got to play with torches while making the swizzle sticks! What could be better than playing with fire? (Besides running with scissors, that is.)
For the slumped glass, I was feeling romantic (I was sitting next to Mike, after all 🙂 ), so I made a heart with an arrow through it. Totally cliched, but it gave me the opportunity to practice cutting a curved shape, and was simple enough that I could complete it in time. I had to cut it in two pieces, so I’m hoping the pieces don’t separate in firing. (Of course, if they did, it would create a whole new cliche, the broken heart pierced by an arrow – but I digress.)
Anyhow, we had loads of fun, which was a good thing since the dyework did not go nearly as well as I had hoped. The sodium alginate came out lumpy, took forever to dry (I finally took a hairdryer to it before remembering I was trying not to heat the fabric), didn’t stencil gracefully, and I’m not sure it worked well as a resist. The whole thing is now rolled up in plastic wrap and batching, and I’ll be undoing it and rinsing it out this weekend.
The whole process took four hours and was extremely frustrating – by the end, I was feeling crabby, impatient, and generally ready to break down and cry. Then, just to cap things off, I dropped one of my glass dye jars on the floor (empty, fortunately), and got to pick up a million pieces of shattered glass. I called Mike over to put the cat in the bathroom until I could sweep and mop up the remnants, and mentioned that I was feeling really cranky, things were not going well, etc. Mike looked at me and said, “I bet you’re dehydrated.” Duh! I had been working outside in 85 degree weather for four hours straight, without drinking. I downed a quart of limeade and felt much less cranky, though still exhausted.
But, another quart or two of water and ten hours of sleep later, I’m feeling much refreshed, and ready to take on the world again. The dye samples, while not beautiful, will tell me most of what I want to know – whether smooth color gradations, blobs, or swirls of color are the way to go. And I have time to practice my surface design techniques before doing the next piece. I will definitely be practicing on leftover muslin before proceeding further!