Defitrification

Defitrification is a swear word amongst glass fusers. Devitrification (“devit”) is the growth of crystalline structures within or on the surface of glass. (“Vitri” = glass; “devitrification” = the process of becoming un-glasslike).

I received a piece of beautiful white, orange and yellow from a friend after teaching her fusing glass in a microwave kiln.Her pendant came out perfect. We have cut strips and put it side by side upright before fusing it.

I wanted to make a similar pendant but was not satisfied with the pattern and decided to snip it in pieces with my mosaic tile cutter and fuse the puddle again.To my disgust the cabochon showed several small spots of defitrification. I cut it again in pieces and the same happened.

After cutting and nuking it more several times, the whole upper surface became defitrified. But I was adamant NOT to chuck that piece of glass, because by now the patterns that developed were really beautiful…

I then used my stained glass grinder and grinded off the whole upper surface. An old toothbrush has a second life in my workplace. It was used to scrub off all signs of glass dust that can make dull spots in glass. Some people soak their glass in vinegar after cold working it, but I just scrub thoroughly. It is much quicker and more effective.

The piece went into the kiln again and as it didn’t have to fuse into a nice shape again, I could just do a fire polish.

Yay! A beautiful smooth surface with beautiful patterns… BUT… with all the cutting and re-fusing, a small piece of black got trapped and it was NOT contributing to the beauty of my cabochon.I am not one to give up easily and made a plan…

I added a dandelion decal and viola!The actual pendant is more beautiful than what is depicted in the photo. Glass is really difficult subjects to photograph, but here it is… the most cut and fused piece from my studio yet!

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Fusing decals in the microwave kiln

Decals open up a whole new range of possibilities. Today I cooked my first decal in my microwave kiln and I am sooo excited!

South Africa is a beautiful country but some craft supplies are not easy to come by, so you have to import it. Apart from the dollar exchange rate we face, the months – yes, months! that we have to wait for our customs to clear our parcels are quite a challenge.

So a few months ago I ordered some decals from Captive Decals. It was immediately shipped but only arrived this week.

I fused a test piece of glass a while back in anticipation of the arrival of my decals and yesterday was the day…

Oh! Imagine me reading the instructions that say wait 24h after applying the decal before fusing it…

So, today then was the day… The microwave that I use for fusing is very old and have settings for low, medium and high. I started with low and gradually went to high in increments of two minutes. I occasionally peeped and saw the background turned brown as it was burning away. I fused it just until I saw that the glass was at melting temperature and then immediately stopped and allowed the kiln to cool down outside on a heat resistance tile.

I love the way the glass changed and I love my first decal pendant.

Variety of pendants

I almost forgot to post my latest pendants on this blog and not only on my Facebook page.

Most of them are for sale, visit my Facebook page Kobie’s Crafts @kobiescrafts for prices.

Testing bubble powder

There are too many techniques and too little time…

Most glass suppliers sell bubble powder, but don’t list the chemicals used. But if you search long and persistent enough then you find some information. 

I tested some today to see how much or rather how little is needed to create bubbles. I used float glass in my microwave kiln. Can’t wait to combine it with coloured glass…

I forgot to take a ‘before’ photo of the baking soda.You really have to use very little of any of the chemicals.

Always make sure you work in a well ventilated room when using your kiln.

Suncatchers 

It is sooo difficult to photograph the real beauty of light shining through suncatchers, but I have tried…

Tree of life 

I bought glass for this project more than ten years ago, but for a large panel. Then lighting burnt my house to ash and I lost everything. A few pieces of glass survived the inferno, but read: Pieces…

The picture of my planned panel was not wiped from my memory and I knew that eventually it would become reality, and a few weeks ago it did, but reduced as a suncatcher. I decided to use some of the glas pieces from the original lot.

It was a challenge as I had to adapt my design on-the-go to merge it with the available pieces of brown and the green hills. The soil is also old glass.

The sky and grass are new. Note to myself: Even if a piece of glass is pretty, don’t buy it if was produced in China. The grass glass had a mind of its one, not breaking where I scorched it, and made very sharp splinters.

The glass work is done but my suncatcher still lack a frame. I just couldn’t wait to share… 

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.