Oct 1992 [REPRINT]
Contact Mike Firth
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|PHAIDON GUIDE||CRAFT SHOWS||JUNCTION NON-REDUX||PLANS|
|CRAFT SHOW||CGCA||CENTIGRADE||ANNEALER RUST|
PHAIDON GUIDE - I am really impressed by the Phaidon Guide to Glass, Felice Mehlman (my copy Prentice Hall 1983 Phaidon Press 1982, 748.2 M498P). Most of the information is presented by the form the glass takes (plates, decanters, desktop, etc.) preceded by a general historical examination all with dozens of excellent pictures of glass and reasonable essays. Essay comments about famous pieces are often not supported by pictures. I found the arrangement to be much more informative that pure chronological, especially in making clear that when forms appeared, changed countries of emphasis, and later became less popular. 10/30/92
CRAFT SHOWS - I have been going to craft shows to sell fused glass as well as the paperweights, vases, and pitchers I made this summer. I haven't covered expenses of entry fees and setting up a booth. Several of the shows I picked were poor choices, with small or non-buying crowds. I question whether I made a good choice, since glass may be something that it takes a bit of time to buy. I went into the shows wanting to find what would sell, expecting to take some space in a craft mall. There are a couple of dozen shows each weekend in this area this time of year; that may be too many to get enough customers at each show.
I have been somewhat surprised at what has sold in the paperweights and vases. I made several weights with very dark green transparent cores which have sold; I liked them, but did not expect them to go because they were so dark and planned on a more gossamer effect when I make more. Several with opaque white and blue cores have not sold. Some which both sold and I liked had threaded lines of color. By far the most common question was "What is inside?" The two common actions were to look at the bottom (mine are ground but not polished or grooved as old time ones are and have no base) and to shake them (for a snowstorm effect..) 10/30/92 Ty reports that he has sold several of the pieces he made this summer, getting enough to cover the cost of the session.
If you have any interest in craft selling, I recommend events clearly labeled as Craft Show rather than Heritage Fest, Autumn Celebration, etc. To find shows in advance, look for listings at craft stores and craft malls in your area. I think an indoor show needs lighting and therefore electricity, which is extra and sometimes not available. I wonder if craft shows are reasonable for selling glass; it is unusual at shows (wood and fiber are common) and may take more time for a sale (thinking time) than a show allows.
JUNCTION NON-REDUX - I am fairly certain I will not be attending Junction in 93. I want to buy some equipment and hope to take a driving trip in May to see friends I have not seen for years while going to the Glass Art Society convention in Toledo Ohio. I used to take a driving trip each year and visit people on the route, but haven't recently. I want to experience at least one G.A.S. meeting and this seems the most likely to be cost effective. Our budget is being tight: my programming work is down, reducing income and we are likely to be hit with major loans for a replacement car and for a talking paper reader for my wife. 10/30/92
PLANS - I want to make a glory hole and just work with some scrap to get and keep a feel for working the glass. It has occurred to me recently that a fiber arch combined with insulating fire brick at the base would give future flexibility, portability, and least cost for highest temperature inside. I am thinking of using the diamond pierced steel mesh, standing on it to bend it to make the arch. I am thinking that nichrome wire in a net pattern is better for holding the fiber than ceramic buttons. The weight and cost of insulating castables and their lack of reusability in the event of failure has turned me away from them. A soft firebrick base would allow raising the opening above crucibles if I wanted to use them and allow support of the burner at various angles from below. 10/30/92
CRAFT SHOW NO'MO - Well, I have done my last craft show. This was a reasonably good show, with enough visitors, but no sales for me. I am convinced that glass, unless small and glitzy jewelry, is a decision that takes more time that a craft show offers. Perhaps a craft mall where one can come back two days later is a better choice (assuming one has not reached the heights of gallery representation.) This of course omits the possibility that people don't like my stuff, which doesn't match their comments at the shows. 11/7/92
CGCA - The Creative Glass Center of America (Wheaton Village, 1501 Glasstown Road, Millville NJ 08332-1556, 609-825-6800 FAX 609-825-2410) announces a Dec.15 deadline for their fellowships for 1993. Four artists will be selected for each of two periods: May 31-Aug.27 and Sep.7-Dec.3. Besides such mundane features as $500 a month stipend, shared free use of a four bedroom house nearby and a studio in a 15,000 square foot facility, the fellowships include 24 hour access to the glassworking facilities and all the glass they can use. Obligations include donating one piece and working on your own projects at least 12 hours a week when the public is visiting. [The facility is housed in a building recreating an 1888 glass factory that is with the Museum of American Glass. Staff artists do narrated demonstrations for the public; fellows, it carefully says, work on their own stuff.] Requirements for application include slides of work and 8 copies each of the following: an application sheet, current resume, statement of how you will use the period to benefit your development, two letters of recommendation, and a paragraph of PR stuff. Selection is done by four studio artists, a collector and a gallery owner, four of whom are trustees of the place. [Until I received this in the mail, I had never heard of the Museum of American Glass, Wheaton Village, the Wheaton Cultural Alliance, or Wheaton Inc. "one of the world's largest privately held glass companies." although I do find Wheaton Scientific in my database file. This may say more about me than anything else. The list of equipment is impressive including two 500# tanks, 40# pot furnace, half a dozen ovens (annealers?), casting equipment and most of the cold working equipment I have ever heard of. Get the application if you are the least interested, it is interesting to say the least. If you can't do three months, they will let you arrange a split with another "Mid-career artist." Internships are also available, no details given. 11/6/92 My Rand McNally shows Millville, and Wheaton Village, in deep south New Jersey west of but not on the road to Atlantic City, about 120 miles from NYC. 11/7/92]
CENTIGRADE - I have been reading a lot about kilns and half of them talk in Centigrade for which I do not have a good feel. Easy calculations for rough and exact Fahrenheit: Rough: Double the Centigrade and subtract 10% of that number. (800 °C times 2 is 1600 minus 160 is 1440. 100°C times 2 is 200 minus 20 is 180.) Better is to add 30 (giving 1470 and 210.) Exact is to add 32 or 2 more (giving 1472°F and 212.) Coming back is harder since the easy to calc 10% is not exactly right (212 minus 32 gives 180, plus 10% gives 198, divide by 2 gives 99 not 100. 1472 minus 32 gives 1440 add 10% gives 1584 divide by 2 gives 792) 11/8/92
Begun 10/30/92 Send by 11/25 for 12/15 deadline mentioned.
ANNEALER RUST - I have been having some rusting problems with my galvanized metal lehr. The rust is occurring mostly on the top lip of the lower case. The problem occurs where heat escaped during fusing through a gap when I didn't level the box after moving it. The heat damages the galvanizing and dew condenses in the same area at night as the unit cools each night and sucks in damp air. I will sand it clean and spray it with heat resistant paint, which will take 800 degrees with excursions to 1000, available at most hardware stores. I will also add some thin insulation scraps to the top inside edge where it has shrunk. 11/9/92
GRINDER MOTOR - I have been working with a motor that turns at 1760 rpm from an old air compressor (1725 is more standard) for my grinder. Using a 1.5" pulley on the motor and a 12" pulley on the motor gives a speed around 220 RPM which is recommended. (Pulleys actually use a pitch diameter (PD) which is smaller than the measured diameter for reduction ratios, in this case about 1.35 to 11.85.) I found I can use the same motor and pulley for smoothing and polishing, getting close to the recommended surface speed (1100-1200 ft/minute) for a 6" felt wheel with a 3.5" pulley and for an 8" wheel with a 4.5" pulley. I built a simple unit of two bearings bolted to a short base holding a shaft with a pulley on one end and a mount for a pad on the other. I use the unit mounted in a vice with my motor on rails hanging from the belt for tension control. 11/18/92 [Still using this in 2003!]
All the best for the holidays, eat well and don't drink so much you forget you had fun. Happy New Year.
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Contact Mike Firth