Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Golden Harvest is finally finished!

Golden Harvest is now offered in my Internet boutique Poladora!

Since the last update below, I have quilted the front to a backing of coordinating fabric - a beautiful and elegant leaf patterned fabric in the same color way as the top, with golden outlines of some of the leaves. This fabric made up some of the pieces in the top as well.

The bias binding is made from another coordinating fabric that I also used on the top, with swirls and golden dots.

To see close ups of the detail of the embroidery and beading, click on Poladora and take a peek!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Attracked to the Flame - Part V

Here you can see my kiln with its front door open. Inside is a collection of waste glass (bad work or trouble with annealing), that I'm reheating so I can remake it into something else. (In order to do that, I have to make sure that all of the release agent is removed from the inside of the bead.)

The little "tray" is enamel-coated steel and is filled with popcorn salt. This is a great way to place your marbles in the kiln for annealing and not have them either roll around - or worse - roll right back out of the kiln and into your lap! The popcorn salt is fine enough that if you place the marble into the tray at the right moment of hardening, it will not make any marks on the marble's surface.

If I am not making marbles, I remove the tray and lay my mandrels with finished beads on them right on the floor of the kiln, which is coated with a thin layer of popcorn salt in the back. (The inside of the kiln is short enough that the mandrel can still stick out a bit at the end.) The "trap door" of the opening, with its soft insulation layer, wraps itself around any mandrels that may be sticking out of the kiln to seal in the heat.

Different glasses need different temperatures for annealing. I am usually working at an annealing temperature of between 950 and 1000 degrees F.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Attracked to the Flame - Part IV

In this picture, you can see some of my mandrels laying on my work surface. (My work surface is metal in case some hot glass spits off of a rod I'm trying to heat, or if the glass gets so hot that it literally drips off of the rod and onto the surface of my desk.)

The mandrels are the metal rods and are made out of stainless steel so they don't rust. They look lighter in color at the tip because I have just finished running each of them over my hubby's belt sander to get a nice roughed-up surface for the release agent to adhere to. The release agent is something you stick the rods into and allow to dry before using the mandrel to make a bead. This allows you to remove the bead from the mandrel after it has been annealed in the oven and cooled down. If you did not use release agent, the melted glass would stick right to the rod permanently. You can get release agent in dark gray or light blue. I prefer the light blue since you can never remove 100% of the release agent from the hole in the bead, and anything left over, if light blue, has a cleaner look than the dark gray, which tends to look dirty. If I have a really clear bead, I like to do the extra work to get all of the release agent out, which takes a lot of sanding with tools with diamond bits on them, and then finish the piece by coating the inside of the hole with a clear laquer.