Friday 24 May 2024

Reactive Glass Jewellery


Can you guess where I’ve been this week?

Yep, back to West Dean.  This week if was for Reactive Glass Jewellery.


It kicked off on Monday evening where the class met up for dinner, then into the classroom for our first session.


Claire our tutor is a very talented glass fusing artist and she was very friendly and  knowledgeable and was happy to answer all our questions as she overwhelmed us with information.


The course was all about fusing glass and the wonderful reactions you can create when mixing certain glasses and metals together.  In this case silver foil.  The idea being that you can then make these pieces of glass into pieces of jewellery.


On Monday evening I started by making a square tile with a piece of French vanilla glass, scraps of silver foil, and a pinch of glass powder with a piece of clear glass to cap it all off.  Everyone made their own versions then everything went into the kiln. Then we either went home or most of the rest of the class went to the bar!


The next day we started to learn more about the possible reactions and other techniques we could use.  We spent the morning working on more glass creations to fuse.  Then at lunch time we could finally open the massive kiln and see our work from yesterday.  I was very pleased with how mine came out – the vanilla had reacted to the silver creating a dark line round it and there were tendrils of brown showing where the fumes from the reaction had tired to escape.  (see the first image)


 Now we had a piece of glass we could practice our cold working techniques on, grinding and polishing and eventually putting it back in the kiln for a fire polish. 


On our last day we could create more things for the kiln if we wished, but I didn’t want to leave anything behind, so I just focused on my cold working.  This time using a tile saw to cut some of my tiles of glass up, then drilling a hole in one piece!



Once again we had to wait until lunch time before we could open the big kiln.  I was delighted with my work.  I'd had no real idea what might come out of it.  Just because I followed a 'recipe' doesn't mean it would come out the same.  It definitely made me want to do more.


Claire also had some silver findings for us to purchase to finish our pieces off.


This was such a great course and added so much to my glass knowledge.  I’ve now got to build up the courage to try and reset my kiln so I can try fusing at home.  I’ve got lots of broken bits of glass which could make good/interesting cabochons.


There are also a few pieces from the course that I'd like to do more cold work on and then fire polish to finish.  Glass continues to amaze and fascinate me.  


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