Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Full Steam Ahead

We have all managed to cram so much into the last week, I have only just managed to have a rare early night to sit down and write this post. In addition, late nights seven days a week has left the GLINTies open to all manner of colds and flu, so that has also taken its toll of a few of us and zapped what remaining energy we had left!

One of the really interesting techniques we learnt last week was powder printing onto glass with Ruth Oliphant, who was mentioned in my post last week.  Check out her impressive work here.  Although Ruth is not formally part of the GLINT project, she has been incredibly informative and supportive to us all, and so it was a great opportunity to test out printing onto both float and Bullseye glass with  different glass powders.

Ruth Oliphant showing an example of glass powder printing at CGW.
Ruth's work often features images of buildings and architecture, "exploring the use of layers, bringing them together to create more complex landscapes and cityscapes".  The photo below shows her silk-screen with an image of a building on the photographic stencil, through which she will print the glass powders.
Photo of a building exposed onto a photographic silk screen ready for printing.
Ruth showed us the best techniques to get professional results, along with WHS information about using fine glass powders. She was also very generous with showing us her firing samples and sharing her powders especially for float glass, which were sourced overseas.
One of the printed powder tests, two screens, two colours, plus a lighter overlay

And here Ruth has played around with multiple printings for a layered look.
Over the last two weeks I have been teaching Deb, George and Spike how to prepare their silk screens for textile printing, so we all had our own screens to experiment with and we were kept busy for the rest of the afternoon.
My printed samples waiting to be fired in the kiln
I played around with both Bullseye glass and powders and float glass and powders using one and two colour applications.  The work was fired overnight and the next day we were able to view our handiwork.
And here they are! Some of you may recognise my tea-towel designs now on glass.
I was impressed with the definition and possibilities now available with future experimentation so I am now eagerly awaiting my delivery of Bullseye glass powders from Bluedog in Melbourne.
Here is a close-up of the printed float glass tests I did with Ruth's powder.
During the week I also managed to get around to finishing off my icebergs that I had cast in Blackwood  crystal, my using the  engraving tools to shear off the sharp edges on the base.

My first two icebergs sitting on a piece of grey crystal loaned by Spike
I loved these icebergs (the ipad photography does not do them justice) and so I set about making 5 more in the mould room the next day.
Ha ha...my clay icebergs under wraps until  I get around to making the moulds around them
So, whilst that process was ticking over, I finally got to expose a couple of designs to the Rayzist photosensitive film to make a photo-stencil for sandblasting.  This film is made by Problast and there are a few Youtube videos you can watch about the process. Spike has been using this process a lot for work for her exhibition, Selkie Stories,which opens tomorrow night at M16!!

Rayzist is a very familiar process for most screen printers, so I quickly exposed some of the film and set about cutting it up to shape around an old glass decanter that was destined for the op shop.....
The Rayzist protective film is blue, the transparent areas will be sandblasted
Obviously, the sheet of Rayzist is flat but in order to form it around a curved object I had to cut it up and re-place it carefully around the decanter, then patch the missing areas with more Rayzist or electrical tape.  On the top of the decanter I taped the rim with electrical tape and then cut into it with a sharp scalpel to form a design.  I will show the finished work in my next post.

Deb also gave us some insight into how she produces her slumped works so evocative of Antarctic waters or skies.  First of all she makes all her glass rods in the hot shop, then lays them out in the kiln before firing them, which can take days due to the amount of glass in each panel.
Debra Jurss preparing some of her wonderful glass panels at CGW
Debra Jurss - evocative of the Antarctic landscape. Photo courtesy Debra Jurss
Debra has been to Antarctica (twice!) so I am jealous as all hell. So there is a bit of an icy theme running through us GLINTies....Debra's landscapes, Spike's selkie stories, my icebergs inspired by my Gullkistan residency....and George's new ice-cream dishes and spoons decorated with sprinkles.


George Agius "Sprinkles Glasses" with spoon....delicious with ice-cream.....
And yet there is more excitement this week...! George booked a slot in the hot shop for Nicci, Luke and I to actually try our hand at blowing glass....it is so much harder and hotter than it looks (and quite a bit scarier too....). The last few photos for this week show George teaching how to gather glass from the furnace, shape it and blow it into various UFO's which will no doubt become treasured garden ornaments...or paperweights....or.....
George heating her glass in the glory hole

After shaping my glass its time to "jack-off"! The glass is then taken over to the annealing kilns.

Luke flies solo shaping his UFO....
This week has been far too much fun and lots of hard work, so stay tuned to find out how things have cooked in the kiln next week.

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