A student in my studio

My glass shop is 400km away from home. So a visit must be carefully planned and a strict budget set. It is VERY easy to overspend on all the lovely pieces of glas! So… a few weeks ago it was time…

Every sheet of glass is unique and it is always such a pleasure to walk between the isles and admire the exquisite patterns and colour combinations. When I buy glass it is a lengthy process. One colour at a time is touched and considered and held against the light before taking it to the counter. After going through my whole list it is then time to cut each piece according to its purpose (stained glass project or fusing for pendants) and my budget. Glass is realy, realy expensive!

I was wearing one of my fused glass pendants. Another costumer admired it and was very surprised when I told her I made it myself and that it was created in a microwave kiln. She was very interested and I don’t need an excuse to share the passions of my life… so I explained. She asked if I would consider teaching her, and I agreed. I gave her my number and forgot to even asked hers.

Back home I told my family about the lady and my daughter immediately reprimanded me for being so impulsive to invite a stranger into our home. I said she was most probably not serious and nothing will come from it because it is a 400km drive.

About two weeks later she called and said she was serious about coming, is it OK and was I reaaly serious about the invite. Yes! I am not someone who will go back on her word, those who know me, knows. We agreed on a date and what to bring with. She insisted in providing some of the meals for the weekend and I said it would be great, then all our time can be used doing glass.

Last week we made final arrangements and she hesitantly asked if her sister can also come but then they will stay in a guesthouse and not with me anymore. No problem, but they are still welcome to stay with me. (It came out her brother in law reprimanded her sister about staying in a stranger’s house and said he will pay for a guesthouse 😉 …

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching my student new skills. She brought some stained glass left overs and we used some of my dichroic glass to learn just a few techniques in our available time. Roelf also contributed to her experience by showing her how to cut rings from bottles and helped her to fix a metal wind chime.

It makes my heart throb in my throat to know that I have spent a day, just one day, with purpose. For one day I didn’t just exists, I meant something for someone else.

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Mosaic table

I sometimes walk around with an idea for months and months and then just one day, it is THE day. This is applicable for a mosaic table that I made in December 2016. Someone threw out a round piece of pressed wood a few years ago and I immediately saw its potential as a mosaic base and in my mind I pictured lots and lots of swirls and circles and an explosion of colour. So it went into my studio and got stored under the table, waiting for better days…

The beauty of mosaics is that it is always unique. For some projects I buy specific tiles, but some just happen on the go. Although big, my table was an on-the-go project and the patterns developed as the days went by. Whenever I go to my hardware or tile store, I buy just one small packet of tiles. In that way I build my own stock to have glass or ceramics available when I have time on hand for random projects.

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I started with the border and played with different layouts until I was satisfied before I started gluing the tiles. Then I proceeded playing with the circles.

Mirrors always add a bit of flair and when I opened my box with broken mirror pieces, one particular piece screamed: “Take me… take me! But please don’t cut me…”. So I had no choice but to find a spot for it.

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All pieces don’t have to be small

First thing that came to my mind when I saw the mirror was waves and water. I then remembered that I had two fish that I fused in my microwave kiln during an experiment with scraps. Viola! My table had a fish pond…

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Play time with flowers and glass pebbles!

Next I added ceramic flowers and glass pebbles of different sizes and colours. The glass flowers also came form my microwave kiln. I also added another swirl and another big piece of mirror to compliment the line at the fish pond in colour and shape. Although the accents looks randomly placed, it is not as random as it seems. I played with each and every pebble, flower and tile in different spots until I was happy that the colours, sizes and shapes complimented and repeated.

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Filling the gaps with mirror

Cutting and filling the gaps with mirror was tedious and boring, but unfortunately part of the process.

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Before adding the grout

I rounded off the side of the table with a row of brown tiles before fitting it to its base, a huge pottery pot a friend gave me.

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The table is 60cm in diameter

None of the pictures really do justice to my table, and it was very difficult to photograph. I have tried different light settings but couldn’t get any picture to accurately portray my mosaic.

I know it is a very busy piece and not to every ones taste, but I am satisfied that I have achieved what I have set out to do – build a piece with lots of swirls and circles and an explosion of colour.

 

Microwave kiln fusing

Reach for your dreams… the sky is the limit! When I laid my eyes on a fused glass pendant the first time, I only dreamed about owning one. Then one day, I closed my eyes and bought one.

Searching the internet for more information delivered lots and lots of the most beautiful pendants. But that was not all… I found an affordable way to do it myself – with a microwave kiln. That opened up a new world of possibilities to further my craft skills.

As a scientist experimenting is part of my being and I can’t tell you just HOW MUCH I enjoy this craft.

I found a Facebook group for Microwave kiln enthusiasts like me, and it is amazing how helpful most of the members are. Not to mention all the various new techniques that is winking…

A dream will never become a reality if you don’t focus on it, plan how to achieve it and then work towards that goal.

Dream big, plan thoroughly and work hard to achieve your goal.

 

 

Cutting wine bottles

When you search the internet for cutting bottles to up-cycle, you get a lot of links to follow. I’m sure you have landed on my blog because you did just that! So… what is the difference between MY post and most of the others? Something very simple… I am a simple being who don’t live in a perfect world. In my world the success rate to make perfect cuts is low… In my world I’m trying to share knowledge that might save you from making the mistakes I made, which I didn’t found on any other blog.

I can’t go out and buy everything that I want. I sometimes have to make plans to make things work. May be you also fall within that category. Luckily for me my husband is gifted and blessed with many talents, and he ALWAYS finds a way to help me achieve all sorts of technical stuff which I thought I’m incapable of.

So lets get started.

The first thing to do is to clean the bottle and remove the label. That in itself usually presents a problem! I soak the bottles in warm water first. Some labels may come loose immediately, others not. For some hardy ones you need a little bit of Thinners or methylated spirits.

My dear husband made a temporary jig with one of my dry cutters which he fixed with G-clamps so that it couldn’t move. Then you rotate the bottle to make a straight scorch as deep as you can manage.

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Home made jig for cutting bottles

We have heated the scorch line with a Dremel tool and then immersed in ice water. The first cut is usually close to perfection.

Now comes the more tricky part, to cut perfect rings for whatever you are planning. We have cut, torched and immersed quite a few rings that broke before we discovered a trick nobody shared where I read… and I am going to share that with you, because I believe in sharing of knowledge.

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I don’t live in a perfect world!

When you heat up the scorch line – don’t do it on the outside! Direct your flame to the INSIDE of the line, rotate, heat, rotate and immerse. If it don’t break with the first try, DRY thoroughly, and repeat!

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Heat on the INSIDE!

The bottles don’t have a uniform thickness, and that add to breakage. The more uneven the walls, the more breakage you are going to have. I have found that the walls of wine bottle are more uniform in thickness than beer bottles.

 

I have used my microwave kiln to melt a few rings to make a wind chime. Those of you who are using microwave kilns – it took quite a while to reach fusing temperature inside the kiln, a little bit more than with flat pendants. Open your kiln occasionally to check the progress of the process. And… the walls collapse 95% of the time to the inside of the ring 🙂

 

 

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My free blog page don’t allow videos, a pity, because I wish I could share the sound of my wind chime with you… I have shared it on my Facebook page though, you can go search for it there. Follow the link on the left side of this page. And while you are there, LIKE my page 🙂

If you find a bottle with a thinner wall, make a broader cut.

Good luck with your cutting, I hope that I have been helpful.

 

Vakansie-pret

Dis uiteindelik weer skoolvakansie en dit beteken net een ding – my tyd is my eie! En eie tyd beteken speeltyd… en speeltyd beteken dinge gebeur in my werkskamer!

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Derde kombuiskassie is klaar

My kombuiskassie se derde deurtjie is al ‘n geruime tyd voltooi, ek het net nog nie daarby uitgekom om dit te deel nie.

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Kleindogters mag Oumas help...

Die vierde een het ‘n ongelukkie gehad, ek wou voortydig vir my man wys hoe die prentjie in die lig vertoon toe ek besig was met die afwerking, en toe val ek oor my eie voete…

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En terwyl ek besig was, het ek sommer ‘n klein terrarium ook gemaak.

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Blou en groen saam is altyd mooi

Vyf lae perfekte reghoekies vat hulle eie pad in my oondjie.

Hierdie was nog van my Desember projekte wat ek al vergeet het om te plaas. Die pewter hoendertjies was amper klaar maar moet nou eers bietjie oorstaan tot daar weer tyd is.

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Buiten pers is dit my gunsteling kleure die