Hot Glass Bits #8

Contact Mike Firth

June 92 - Oct. 92 [REPRINT]

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MISSING JUNCTION - Well, I agonized for a month, trying to decide first whether I should take the glass class or buy equipment and then whether we could simply spare the money. When I finally decided we could, I was too late, so I won't be in Junction this summer. Last year was apparently the luck of the draw, since I didn't even find out about the class until mid-May. 6/6/92

LALIQUE BOOK - Found a book, Lalique Glass by Nicholas M. Dawes, [Crown, 1986, Dallas Pub.Lib. 748.294 D269L] with pictures of marvelous examples the Frenchman's work as he progressed from jewelry in the last two decades of the last century, into cast glass in jewelry, to glass blown into molds, etc. by our mid-century. His son and granddaughter continued the firm. For me some of the most interesting pieces involved blowing glass into prepared silver and copper chalice forms so the glass bulged through the form openings. I have thought of making clay forms to match natural branches, blowing or wrapping glass, annealing and then fitting the wood in for the clay. 6/6/92

PENLAND (Penland, NC 28765, 704-765-2359) has announced its Fall (9/28-11/20/92) and Spring (3/15-5/7/93) Concentrations with four sections, one of which is glass. Cost of the glass sessions is $2520 tuition + $1300-1800 housing + supplies. Fall has Richard Ritter & Jan Williams doing Hot Glass Technique for students with various levels of experience who will build a new glass pot furnace. Richard will cover hot & cold murrinis, line drawing and painting on glass, while Jan will do casting and sand blasting. Spring has Finn Lynggaard & Tchai Munch doing Hot Glass:Fusing & Slumping which will include Finn doing hot glass, off hand, and mould blowing and Tchai doing making, fusing, and slumping patterned cane and mould making. Both will cover blown shapes slumped and fused with details. Refund deadline for Fall is 8/21/92. 6/15/92

LIBRARY BOOKS - Wandering in the downtown Dallas Library, I found that glass books with LC number 666.1 were in three different places, so I was reminded about asking the librarians (besides the shelf, there were two separate reference areas.) The most useful book with an amusing title was the Schott Guide to Glass (shot glass? gag!) (1983 Van Nostrand) which is a very good straight forward discussion of the technical aspects of glass. Schott is/was a German company deeply involved in quality glass making as the German lens industry developed. 7/1/92

KOFFLER TO WIMBERLEY - Jay Von Koffler, the only active blower in the Dallas area, has moved after "fooling around" with a gallery during the time he was shut down for the summer heat. 7/22/92 The town is Wimberley which is west of San Marcos about halfway between Austin & San Antonio. He will be setup in September. 8/21/92

GLASS magazine [$28/yr, quarterly, New York Experimental Glass Workshop Inc., 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn NY 11217] is a slick glossy with lots of ads for galleries and (in the Summer 92 issue) five long articles with lots of color pictures. Twelve exhibitions are reviewed, each given over half a page with a B&W photo. An eight entry suppliers directory is included. Quality is similar to the more widely available American Crafts. One of the articles has nice humor and all are more informative than pretentious. My greatest giggle was from an ad of Maveety Gallery for Richard Royal's Relationship Series showing two goblets (opaque yellow 28" tall, opaque red 22") each involving sinuous tendrils from the base and cup gripping a classic form vase about one-third the goblet height. 7/22/92

JUNCTION CLASS REDUX - Ended up blowing in Junction again, after not having made the waiting list in May. Had a good time, tried a lot of new things, lost several pieces either going on the puntle or off it. Did a lot of paper weights, unlike last year, some from my failed pieces, some from OPC (Other People's Color, pieces or broken shards), and sold one at departure. 8/9/92 I have been using some of the scrap glass from blowing and some of the color chips with my sagging/fusing windchimes. Seems to be working well. 8/12/92 Tried a craft show at a city rec center that was a total disaster, almost no bodies walking through. Learned a bit, cost almost nothing but time. 8/21/92  [2003-03-30 As I look back at this, I see how much is missing, because I was writing for people at the time who had attended.  I had asked that I be left on the waiting list for the class after missing admission and had left the time slot open, avoiding scheduling conflicts.  On the Thursday before the class started on Sunday, I got a phone call saying a woman signed up for the class had been told she was pregnant on Tuesday and her doctor did not want her out in the heat.  So I packaged everything up in a rush and drove down on Sunday to join the class.  Mid-session weekend, I asked Vickie to bring me back some cherry wood when she went home to Abilene (?) and she did.  I expected to have no problem getting a saw, but Junction was out of hand saws!  I ordered a Japanese style one from Sears - and have learned to love the style - paying for their newly introduced Next Day delivery, which was so newly introduced it wasn't running at the practical level.  The saw finally showed up and was used for a day or two.]

INSULATION VALUE - AGF Burner Inc. (P.O.Box 496 Elizabeth NJ 07207)  [] makes commercial furnaces and burners for heat treatment, etc. Incidental to burner selection is a table of heat use (including flue losses) per square foot per hour at 2300°F: BTU Material; 8000 4.5"FB; 2050 4.5"FB+2.5"Silocel; 2500 4.5"IR; 1080 4.5"IR+2.5"BI ; 720 4.5"IR+4.5"BI; FB=Fire Brick, IR=Insulating Refractory, BI=Block Insulation. That's a more than 10 to 1 reduction in gas usage!

GLASS LOUDSPEAKER (HOUSINGS) - Toward the end of the session, we began joking about more practical projects - like mugs with handles or window glass. Popular Science, Sept.92, p.15, has glass loudspeaker housings, 9.4 inch diameter, $700 in Japan. 8/9/92

CRAFT FAIRS - I have been trying to sell fused goodies at craft fairs. [As I write this, I realize that, feeling somewhat down tonight , what I am going to tomorrow is only the second serious show.] I sold exactly one item last week, a paperweight. The show I went to was a Fallfest, where the events were fun for local people, but crafts were purely incidental, the show had much less attendance than stated for last year and there was little spending. 9/25/92

STATUS REPORT - I have finished my grinding wheel, using many pieces that have been sitting around my shop for years, but buying bearings, shaft and 3/8" steel plate. Used it some and with works well. I bought a high pressure propane regulator and got my burner from Seattle Pottery working. When I have some funds, I will get soft fire brick or higher temperature blanket and make a glory hole for fooling around. I am trying to decide whether to get involved with ramcast insulation as Bill Bagley suggests for a glory hole, when I have no experience with the stuff. At the Lancaster craft show, a pottery guy from Cedar Valley College, Randy Broadnax, was using portable kilns made of white insulation blanket inside expanded steel mesh (the stuff with diamond-shaped holes.) The mesh is thicker and therefore stiffer than a solid skin of the same weight. The gaps would tend to keep the metal cooler than a skin (or barrel) and the holes provide many convenient points for wiring the blanket in place. They were using 36" cubes powered by propane burners for raku firing. 9/25/92

CHIHULY - A segment of Sunday Morning on CBS had some marvelous photography of Dale Chihuly's glass keyed to a museum opening in Seattle. Video tape of the show is apparently not available. 9/27/92

PAPERWEIGHT SALE - I sold a paperweight, a small cruet and a wind chime at the show yesterday. Not much, but better than last time and the cruet went to a boy who clearly enjoyed the glass and reacted to larger pitcher exactly for the reasons I made it ("it feels so good in the hand") but couldn't convince his grandparents to get it.

WINNSBORO SHOW - I am going to one more sales event, on Sunday in Winnsboro in East Texas. I may do another, indoors, rather locally, to see if the response is better. I will decide whether to sell in a craft mall or two after that. The experience has been interesting, less boring than I expected. Most of the interest has been in the paperweights, rather than the hanging, fused, elements I intended to sell. 10/8/92

QUESTIONAIRE - I sent post cards to several glassblowers to ask them to guesstimate the answers to three questions. I knew the questions were naive and sloppy but asked them anyway and got the following answers: How much glass (in pounds) should be melted for single person to work in a day? "30-40", "Blown 20 - Cast or Solid 40", "30 a day", "70", "5-500"

How many hours in a working day for a single blower? "industry 6, 8 in Europe", "3-4","4-6","12","4 hour time slots","24 hours, everybody gets the same amount of time" [MF yes, but not every moment is blowing] How many square feet of lehr floor to allow for a worker? "Couldn't answer","10 cubic feet","16 sq.feet","8 sq feet","4-6 sq.feet"

As a means of comparison, at Junction, we were using 80-120 pounds of glass a day for a working day of about 12 hours, where we had effectively about 1.25 persons working each hour (what with parallel work on paperweights, etc.) and we had about 24 square feet of lehr space (about 60 cubic feet, mostly unused above the floor level.) Most of us were doing about 3 hours out of the 12 if we wanted to, about half of that blowing, the other half helping. A 16" diameter bowl takes 1.4 sq.ft actually (and 1.8 sq.ft. practically) and probably weighs a bit over a pound while Bill Bagley's nearly solid pieces take under a square foot and probably weigh 8 pounds. 10/8/92

#8 Started 6/6/92 Sent 10/8/92?

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