Mike Firth, 1
Contact Mike Firth
May 24-July 31 1994
|Prev.Issue 19||Link to HGB Table of Contents||Next Issue 21|
|CGCA FELLOWSHIPS||SABLE V||WHOAMI||CGCA FELLOWSHIPS|
|HANDBOOK||THE BOOK EXCHANGE||FAX 607-936-2465]||HOUSTON|
|MIRRORS||ANNEALER COST||TEMPERATURE||GLASS MAGAZINE|
|SABLE V F||COLD WORKING||COLD WORKING||EMPORIA STATE|
|NORTHGATE||DOA. I||BEER MONEY||GLASS IN TEXAS|
|GIF II||WATER DRIPPER||BVC, INC||GATORAID|
This issue contains deadline information for
Divas Showing July 2 & Barnes Collection Aug.14 FT.WORTH
On-site fellowships, Aug.16 & Nov.4, 1995 CGCA FELLOWSHIPS
Artists Reception at opening of show, Aug.20, SABLE V
[capitalized KEYWORD starts paragraph below]
Hot Glass Bits is a personal chronological record of my wanderings through glassblowing and the bits and pieces of knowledge I gather along the way. It includes things I try, thoughts I have, information I receive, and reports on things I do. In many ways it is an edited diary and events calendar about glassblowing. If it is useful to others, it is worth the effort.
WHOAMI? - Since some people who get this have no idea who I am: Mike Firth is a 51 year old, low experience glassblower who signed up for his first class in '91 without having seen anyone blow, although he had seen TV shows and has done stained glass and worked clear tubing in the past. He has built cheap equipment in his back yard to learn and practice. When not blowing he is a self-employed computer programmer and teaches about computers.
Vision Thing: It wouldn't hurt to have more glassblowing in Texas.
To mention the legal stuff: Working glass is inherently dangerous, involving heavy materials that can be razor sharp, so hot that damage can be done before feeling occurs, with chemicals immediately poisonous, dusts that can damage the lungs, and heat sources that can wreck the eyes. Understand the safe practices required and use them to blow beautiful glass.
1995 CGCA FELLOWSHIPS have deadlines of August 16 and November 4th. The former applies to the session Feb.20 - May 19 while the latter is for the two sessions May 30 - Aug.25 and Sep.5 - Dec.1, 1995. The Center part of the Wheaton Cultural Alliance, Inc. and operates out of a recreated 1888 glass factory that is part of Wheaton Village in southern New Jersey. "Preference is given to artists who have had several years experience outside the educational environment." Four fellowships are given per session. The fellows live together in a four bedroom house, receive $500 a month for expenses, have 24 hour access to the studio and all the glass they can use. Fellows assist each other. Studio space is shared with Wheaton Village staff who demonstrate to the public. The public can observe the artists who are expected to work 12 hours/week during public time, but they are not required to perform demos. Application requires 10 numbered and identified slides and eight copies of paper work, which includes two letters of recommendation, resume, statement and application form. Selection is by a committee of trustees who include Doug Heller of Heller Gallery and artist Paul Stankard. [Creative Glass Center of America, 1501 Glasstown Rd, Millville NJ 08332-1566 Denise Dendrinos, Program Coordinator, 609-825-6800 x 2733] 5/23/94
HANDBOOK - I have just gotten a copy of one of the really great books about glassblowing. If you have any contact with people in the learning mode, you have got to see this. You will probably want to get beginners to buy it and may well find use of it yourself. The book is Ed's Big Handbook of Glassblowing. [$26 with shipping, Edward T. Schmid, P.O.Box 336, Jamestown CO 80455-0336] 11; The book is spiral bound, 88 page, 8 1/2 by 11, delight. It is hand lettered with drawings on every page and with a very light attitude. This is not about building equipment; pages 6 thru 9 describe and show tools and stuff, then page 10 is The Process. The steps are detailed, expanded upon and illustrated well. Ed is very much into drawing for glass artists saying it in several places including page 21 "The Top Ten Reasons Why Glass Students Must Draw", number 5 of which is "It's way cheaper to produce a zillion pieces." Under newspaper shaping Ed suggests the NY Times or Wall Street Journal make good paper pads, [as Tom did in HB#19] The book is so full of information it is hard to limit a review; pages 70-72 have 7 different punty forms! Appendix B describes how to cook with glass making equipment!! At the end of the Handbook he asks for input and suggestions and the last page has a puffy announcement that may not be fully serious for coming books including Advanced Glassblowing Techniques, Grinding & Polishing Made Tolerable, and Glass Casting Like the Pros. Any negatives? One of the reasons people have spent hundreds of years working on typography is that some fonts are easier to read than others and the width of line and spacing of letters affects reading quality. Some portions of the book, which is all done in single line width hand printing, are easier to read than others. Ed also puts out a quarterly newsletter, Limited Ed-ition News, which seems to be free. ("Anyone out there that knows of someone else ... please send me their address.") The May 94 issue, on purple paper, records Ed's reaction to being at CGCA [see above] as he prepares to drive to Pilchuck to be "cold shop coordinator". Ed also brews beer and mead. 5/31/94
THE BOOK EXCHANGE [90 W. Market St. Corning NY 14830 607-936- 8536 FAX 607-936-2465] sent a flier that arrived in the same mail as the book, offering the book with a full page promo, an instructor's deal of 26 for the price of 25, and a three-way deal of Ed's ($25), Halem's Glass Notes ($35), and Benjamin Biser's Elements of Glass and Glass Making ($35) and they will pay shipping. The Exchange is also offering video tapes, adding Lundberg Studios, Glass India and Connections. 6/1/94
HOUSTON - I was looking over HB#19 and found that I focused so much on people that I hadn't seen before that I failed to thank Dale Battle, my classmate at Junction, for his hospitality. He keeps a much of his nice glass around the house. Thanks, Dale. 6/1/94
FT.WORTH - I drove to Ft.Worth to see the Barnes Collection and attend the opening of Divas Art Glass exhibit. It was worth the trip. 6/3/94 Impressionist Masterpieces from the Barnes Collection is at the Kimbell Art Museum through August 14. [Open 7 days a week, 10-6, adults $10 on FSS, $8 MTWR.] These fine paintings have been tied up in a museum near Philadelphia under terms of a will that prohibited museum loans or color reproductions. I grew up near Chicago seeing the fine Impressionist collection of The Art Institute; while I found the pictures impressive, I also saw almost nothing surprisingly new. [I said to others that the show might be more impressive to me if I knew more or less about the artists. In confirmation of the latter, Art Allison tells me that many of the painting are pivotal, showing changes of direction for the artist.] The paintings in the show are, in many cases, larger than average, but most of the subjects were done several times by the artists and similar works have been shown and published. It was a delight, and I spent almost two hours doing it, to walk repeatedly between pictures and relate the dates to the styles and content. This was especially true where the larger number of paintings were shown: Cezanne (21), Renoir (16) and Matisse (15). I was surprised by an early Toulouse-Lautrec with more in common with Wythe than his well known posters. I don't think I have been in a room with this many early Matisse paintings and that was whelming. The show (and the collection?) has nothing after about 1919. The show goes to Toledo and Philadelphia before the pieces are returned to the Barnes. Worth seeing. Artenergies [6333 Camp Bowie, Ft.Worth TX 76116, 817-737-9910] has given a very nice setting to 70 pieces from the five artists who blow at Divas Art Glass. The textured white walls and excellent lighting show off the glass to great effect. The artists are Terry Maxwell and Shirley Daniels, the owners, and Hugh Irwin, Jim Bowman, and Ron Marrs. The exhibition ran through July 2. Terry Maxwell reports that a fair percentage of the pieces sold.
ALLISON - I drove up to visit Art Allison north of Pottsboro. I even took the time drive another 3 miles to look at Lake Texoma, figuring I should see it at least once while doing the 170 mile round trip. He had saved some cullet for me to melt. He has bought the land around his studio, including two other small buildings. He is making a variety of goblets, including some with a very nice hand filling feel. 6/8/94
BUCKETS - I have heard repeatedly about getting white buckets at food places, bakeries, etc., but didn't get over the resistance level to ask until I was coming back from Art's with most of the cullet in cardboard boxes (which he stores indoors, but I must keep outside.) I stopped at a Burger King for a sandwich and decided to ask. The manager said sure and showed me a stack of 30 or more white plastic buckets, many without lids. I took ten with lids at 50 cents each. [Jack-in-the-Box gets their pickles in plastic bags. 7/8/94 McDonalds gets soap in 5 gallon, but not pickles. I found most fast food places are now using bags or gallon pails. Dickey's BBQ ships their sauce in them, gives for free. So does Colter's BBQ, pickles & sauce. Local Burger King gives free. Some places with buckets trash the lids when the open the buckets, but will keep them if you ask.] One interesing use is to put loose things, like PVC elbows and fittings in the bottom and then put one of the DROP-IN-THE-BUCKET donut shaped trays from Journeyman Products Ltd., on top to hold smaller bits and pieces. In the process of rebuilding my garage, I am changing the way I store nails, parts and some tools, lowering the apparent convenience of shelf storage to gain cleanliness and more stackable storage. One way I am doing this is storing odd shapes in buckets with lids and stacking them. A company, Journeyman Products Ltd., [1-800-248-8707, 303 Najoles Rd, Suite 112, Millersville MD 21108] has been selling inserts for these buckets for years. They sell round DROP-IN-THE-BUCKET donut shaped trays in two depths with quadrant partitions and small inserts with lids that fit in the quadrants. They also sell colored 5 and 3.5 gallon buckets and lids separately. The trays stack due to a raised center that also provides a handle. 5 standard trays fit in a 5 gallon bucket (or 1 deep & 3 std. or 2 deep & 1 std.) Items are sold in sets and individually. For example: A red bucket with lid and 5 std.trays is $19.95, a set 5 trays only is $16.95, and one tray is $3.95. The Small Stuff inserts are sets of 4 for $8.95 or $2.75/3.50 each. These are very strong and great for nails, bolts and nuts and fittings. I don't see they are especially useful for holding bits of glass, since the plastic melts under heat, but I am sorting cullet into the insert and storing bulk and keeping my face shield and gloves in one. [Remember so far I melt handfuls, not shovels full.] Journeyman products are sold at some stores, including the Container Store, at higher prices. 6/8/94
WILLSON - Robert Willson, based in San Antonio, sends a beautiful catalog out of a gallery in Italy showing his work as "Exhibited 982 Glass Invitational, Venice, Italy, 5-15 May 1994" and a note saying his next exhibition will be at the Spotted Horse Gallery, Aspen Colorado, July 14 - Sept.1. 11; Robert is not a studio glassblower. He uses a team of glass workers in Italy to produce large solid sculptures - large meaning "upwards of 18 inches in height and weighing more than 40 pounds" taking up to seven days for annealing. An essay gives his philosophy and techniques. The cover shows an assembled piece of ten blocks that must be 8 or 10 feet tall. Each block has an internal gold leaf and black line design. Other pieces shown feature bubbles and intense color as design features. He has been developing his work since the late 60's. 6/11/94 Got a nice letter back following a note to him with questions. The large piece weighs 900 pounds and will remain in sections until final installation when it will be permanently braced and glued. For shows it is stacked, lightly glued and fenced off. Generally he does not like using glue. One of his other pieces I asked about is 22" tall, a series of solid cubes, all adhered hot on the rod, not glued. 6/24/94
MIRRORS & LIGHT - the free glossy newsletter about kaleidoscope & glass collectors, dealers and artists - arrived with more good stuff. About half the issue is of interest to dedicated blowers, including an article and series of pictures of William Morris and Jon Ormbrek working on of Morris' Canopic Jars and a list of schools and workshops. Featured are several stories on kaleidoscope makers, some of whom do other glass working. M&L is a free quarterly; write to Penson Ink, 150 Iris Way, Palo Alto CA 94303 or FAX 415-493-8803. 6/11/94
ANNEALER COST - I finally got a blowing session in last night. Not very successful-lots of punty failures. We are having a run of high temperatures (over 100 highs) and it was 95 when I started at 6pm. Since my annealer controller turns the element full on/full off with a zero crossing switch, I decided to tie in a cheap clock to estimate the time and therefore the power it was using. The tie in was easy, since I have a small 120 lamp wired across the terminals as a visual power usage signal. I just screwed in a adapter with an outlet. The accuracy of the time readings is subject to test, since the clock may coast for several seconds after the power is off. In any case, my annealer draws 12 amps at 120 volts. It took 1:23 to get up to heat, running nonstop. During the next 2:22 of clock time during blowing, the power clock was on 1:19. Finally, when the controller was changed to ramp down (over 4:40) the clock ran 1:28 more. So the total power on time was 4:20 using 1.44 kw or 6.24 kwh for a cost of $0.446 at a kwh cost of $0.0715. 6/27/94
TEMPERATURE - I was reminded tonight by the weather forecast that today set the all time Dallas record high of 113, back in 1980 when we had an incredible run of days over 100 (32?) and a bunch days over 110. I was living in an old house with one small air conditioner and slept on the bathroom floor because that was where it was, between the living and office rooms. One night the temperature was still 82 at 2 in the morning. Most of our water comes from manmade surface reservoirs and before the heat wave was over, the cold water tap temperature, after letting it run, was 92°F. I don't think I want to go through that again. 6/27/94
GLASS MAGAZINE - Number 56, Summer 1994, has arrived and seems an especially good one. Even the ads have especially good large photos. A long interview with Benjamin Moore that ties Lino Tagliapietra into the events of the last 20 years in studio glassblowing is matched with an overview of Moore's style and how he fits among current workers. A long review of the Stanislav Lebensky and Jaroslava Brychtova show at the Corning Museum relates their history and style choices. The peak of the issue, to me, is "Murano's Opinion" with strong statements from five Murano master workers, including one whose work isn't shown because a partner in the factory where he works wouldn't release photographs! Four pages show Richard Marquis pieces installed among collections of related stuff. After the short reviews of gallery/museum shows, the Glass Workshop provides some notes on its own activities. [647 Fulton St., Brooklyn NY 11217, 718-625-3685, $7 each, quarterly, $28/yr, $52/2yr] 7/4/94
SABLE V Fine Art Gallery [Box 1792, Wimberly TX 78676, 512-847-8975] announces, in a Glass Mag ad, the second annual A Gathering of Glass, over 50 artists being shown from Aug.20th thru Oct.17th with an artist reception on the first day from 5-9pm. Wimberly is southwest of Austin at the edge of the Texas Hill Country with a number of art galleries. Wimberly also has two glassblowers, Tim de Jong and Jay von Koffler. 7/4/94
COLD WORKING I - I needed some very coarse grit to take a lot of glass off the edges of a vase I cut apart. For some reason, I had never thought of calling lapidary supply places, but I did after stumbling over an old Lapidary magazine. In the Yellow Pages I found one listing, called and got my stuff. The price was considerably lower than pound quantities from Wale and a glass grinding (mirror & plate) supply place. Check it out if you need it. 7/5/94
COLD WORKING II - One thing I miss at the moment is a perfectly flat and level surface next to my grinding equipment. I am correcting errors in my blowing while doing cold working and a good level surface, ideally with some verticals behind for reference. 7/5/94
EMPORIA STATE UNIVERSITY - Richard Stauffer sends a nice set of 6 B&W pictures showing what is now the only college glass program in Kansas. Three of the pictures show equipment: a very large annealer on casters, a large (recuperative from previous information) furnace and good sized glory hole with cast doors, and a good sized of cold working wheels and saws. His note says ESU got a $30K rehab grant and was able to get equipment from a program that closed down (presumably KU.) The 3 pictures of pieces show classic vase shapes combined with wire and glass shapes that have clearly been notched and otherwise trimmed with the saw. See PHOTOS below for notes. Richard also sent $ for the next year; thank you. 7/11/94
GIF - Besides photos, another way of exchanging visual information is computer graphics files. When I upgraded my computer last fall, in order to save as much programming time as possible, I put money into a better than average graphics display. Just recently, I activated the files that give me more screen detail and colors. I have done that partly to see some files available from CompuServe Information Services (CIS). I had previously downloaded a picture of a goblet and got a much better look at it. Steve Boswell (73043,715) is exploring taking pictures of sheets of stained glass and using the computer files to create realistic images of finishing projects by cutting and pasting pieces of the pictures. He created a small project, a heart surrounded by other colors and uploaded. The result is very impressive. The size of the file depends on the detail. I downloaded one full sheet of glass which is 167,000 bytes. The Heart is 48,000 bytes. As a matter of comparison, this page fits in about 4,000 bytes so one small picture is equal to 12 pages of HB. Steve wants to create a CDROM disk that has images of all the sheet glasses available from major sources. He has built a box with both back and front lighting to get the best photograph of the glass. I am impressed. The GIF of the goblet gives me a good sense of the piece. One of the women on CIS with good scanning equipment has agreed to provide services for the Crafts Forum by receiving photos, scanning them, and uploading them. I expect to see more. 7/18/94 [I fooled around with a couple of glass GIF images and ended up with a miniature that I am using as wallpaper in Windows. 7/31/94]
NORTHGATE - My old computer, a Northgate 386DX/16 I bought in 1988 started having serious disk problems - serious means it won't give back information it has. I was able to get all the info off onto my new machine before taking the old one in for a survey of problems. It should have problems, as it has been running, being turned off about once a month, since I bought it. It turned out that one floppy and the original hard drive were DOA. I had choices, the cheapest of which was to change the D: drive, a newer SCSI into a C: drive for starting the machine and move the still working 3.5" B: drive to be the A:. This is what I ended up doing. I will use the machine for down- and uploading large files and for testing installation of Windows software I am writing. But in shopping around at a major computer store, I found that the smallest replacement hard drive they stocked was 245 Meg! The one that failed was 65 Meg and was medium large when I bought the machine. It is of a style that is no longer made. Glassblowing, on the other hand, has pictures of workers from centuries past looking as I do now when I work. 7/18/94
BEER MONEY? - When I visited Art Allison, he had some interesting goblets some having heavy stems that I remarked called for a bigger bowl for holding beer. Ed Schmid's newsletter remarks that he used part of his time at CGCA to make a prize goblet for the Home Brew operation that is his hobby. And I saw a TV story on home brewing that made it clear that trophies as awards from beer tasting competitions are widely distributed and sought after. So, if you make goblets, you might give a thought to the publicity and contacts that might result if you created a goblet as a trophy for a competition. Consideration should be given to the method and location of applying the name of the competition and the winner: it could be etched or sand blasted on the glass or engraved on a plate that was epoxied to the glass or to a wooden base in which the foot of the goblet fit. 11; If a person was interested in this, alternative forms of trophies such as vases made of glass might be suitable for a flower arranging or garden club to give as prizes. If a group is giving a money prize for guessing the number of beans, marbles or somethings in a container, might not the container be your blown glass? And since my PBS station is once again having a membership drive, it reminds me to ask: give me two good reasons for not providing some of your work to the next PBS auction. 7/18/94
GLASS IN TEXAS - I am not a member of a lot of things, feeling short of money, so I am not getting mailings about glass. I am trying to get press releases from places. Dale Chihuly was apparently in town today for opening of an exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art that will run "through Sep 25 `Dale Chihuly: Installations 1964-1994,' glass works inspired by nature. In J.E.R. Chilton Galleries. $6; $4; $2 for children, includes audio tour." [StarText] 7/18/94
GIF II - Although it has little to do with glass, I had an astonishing experience today. When I checked into StarText, which is a computer service run by the Ft.Worth Star Telegram, I found they had a GIF file called HSTJUPITER. I decided to download it and found I had pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope of the big piece of the comet colliding with Jupiter. Later, on the 10pm news, there was a story on the McDonald Observatory showing the exact same images as they arrived from the HST, and I could see them full sized on my screen! Astonishing! 7/19/94
WATER DRIPPER - For my own reasons I have been exploring drip irrigation and drip bird watering. As soon as I got it going, I thought I saw a useful accessory for glass shop grinding. I bought a kit with a bunch of part at Home Depot for $9.50 and then went back and spent $5.50 for a regulator, and the last may be the most useful gadget of them all. Drip irrigation equipment has three parts: water connection, plumbing tubes, and drip ends. The water connection can include filtering, pressure regulation, flow control and anti-siphon. The tubes are 1/2" or 1/4" or both. The ends include little dripper disks and tiny little sprinklers. The displays include T's, connectors, etc., mostly in packages of 10. Kits have a good mix. The dripper disks can be bought to put out 1/2 Gallon per hour (GPH), 1 GPH, and 2 GPH, although the kit only includes 1/2 GPH and not all stores have all choices. I will be trying 1/2 GPH with my grinder, but if it low, I can use two or three very easily. 11; While the drippers can handle up to 60 psi, the 1/4" hose can't grip the dripper at that pressure and they pop out. Therefore, a regulator is needed. RainDrip has 25 psi for their little sprinklers and 15 psi for drippers only, which Home Depot sells at $5.50. This little regulator may help an existing system which has too much pressure. The water connection parts are 3/4" pipe/faucet. If buying pieces a minimum would be a regulator, a 1/4" hose adapter, a coil of hose and a package of drippers. 7/20/94
BVC, INC. - I had a long conversation with Bill Juhasz (YouHaz) at BVC, Inc. [1425 Thistlewood Way, Carmichael CA 95608, 1-916-972-1767.] The company makes industrial strength controllers and systems at healthy prices, but because of the support of glass workers during the early part of the company development a system is offered at $850, or half the industry price. The features of the system are very strong. It is a box that sits outside the electrical noise of computer, connected by RS-232 so it can be placed at a distance, with 18 bit A/D, which is much higher than is commonly put on commercial I/O boards. The software is written to run on even 8088 machines, although a 286 with VGA, mouse and hard disk is recommended (that's about $250 worth on the used market.) The box can control up to eight kilns or other units with up to 256 points on the ramps, which designed with the mouse. The price includes one thermocouple and ready-to-use solid state relay. No special receivers are needed as with Digitry. BVC sells relatively low cost SSR's. This is the system that Karl Platt talks about on CompuServe; he is using one at home and two at Blenko, he said recently. 7/20/94
GATORAID & ORANGE JUICE - I drink Gatoraid when I am blowing and working outside. If you have tried the original flavor and hate it, as I do, try the Tropical Punch and Fruit Punch flavors. Also, never try Gatoraid unless you are hot; it has too much salt to be tasty as a soft drink. If you find Gatoraid too expensive or untasty, but need something with more electrolites than water, consider diluted orange juice. I find that making OJ from concentrate at 5:1 (you may prefer 4:1), not at 3:1 as the can says, makes a more sloshable stuff that's not as overwhelming in quantity. A 98 cent store brand 12 ounce can, Minyard's, makes 72 ounces instead of 48, which is well under Gatoraid's price of $1.67 (3/$5) for 64 oz. 7/24/94
OLLA PODRIDA has been a special place in Dallas for 20 years, but is seems likely to disappear next year. It's loss is of interest to glassblowers because Kittrell-Riffkind Art Glass is located there and K-R is the primary site showing blown art glass in North Texas. The place is extraordinary because it was some rambling old buildings, on the site of an airport I understand, which were "tarted up" inside with old timbers, stairways, aerial walkways, and shops on two levels. The shops are all crafts, art, and collectibles and the last are closer to the first in that it is things like doll houses and quilts. The place is visually delightful as an environment and many of the shops have people making the stuff for sale. 11; When lease renewals were delivered, they were for one year, not five and the management says they will close and bulldoze. The site, which was a grassy hill when I moved here is now surrounded by 8 and 100 story buildings. I expect the land has great value and Olipod will go the way of the drive-in that was across the expressway. One of the thoughts I have carried along with me down through the years is that it would be neat to have a place where people could get things fixed and learn to fix their own stuff: like auto repair, jewelry, and electrical. It would have shops with single person repair centers and some of the people would teach. Adding crafts people to this would make an interesting place. In Texas, a shaded and cooled area for classes would be required to get people out of their homes. Maybe the training area could be a largish dirt floored farm style building so blacksmithing, glass work, automotive, etc., could be moved in at various times. (My problem of course is that I have neither the finances or contacts to carry this out.) 7/25/94
DOOR - I have started building a rolling door for my furnace/glory hole. I have tried other styles and found them wanting in various ways. If this works, then it will be the door I build first for my next furnace. It is more important that it be right than most of the rest of the thing. 7/25/94
TEMPERATURE - Today is almost chilly, 69°F this morning, after highs up over a hundred for the last week or so, with lots of humidity rooted in 5.2" of rain received over night about two weeks ago in a very unusual July storm - average is 2" for the month. (Lows have been in the mid-80's) It would be a lovely day for glassblowing, except that I am making a new door. I dragged the existing crucible out of the furnace the last time I used it. Yesterday, looking at the soft firebrick floor of the furnace, I decided that rather than putting it back, I would mold a deeper bowl to double the glass I can melt. It is nice to have a container of crucible clay mixed up. But it would also have been nice to blow glass tonight. 7/27/94
ROACHES are a fact of life in the South. One can cheerfully poison the place and self trying to deal with them. The best method, I was reminded a week ago, is also about the safest: boric acid. It is actually sold in grocery stores for about $5 a pound as Roach-Proof. But ceramic supply places have the stuff at about $1.35 a pound. While dusting in the corners is one approach, (used by commercial bug killers) as a bug spray it works best. Dissolve as much boric acid as will go in warm water, pouring off the liquid into a spray bottle. Squirt the bugs just like the cans say. But boric acid is a residual and will stay in the crack for the next roach. The only risk I have seen on boric acid was on a small bottle, where it warned not to use it as a dusting powder on babies. It is apparently a nerve poison to roaches. 7/27/94
CHIHULY - Dale Chihuly has a set of re-installations at the Dallas Museum of Art that are getting very good play on the media. Of course, the fact that they are there has nothing to do with the fact that the relatively new director of the DMA came from Seattle. In the two decades before now there has been no significant display of hot glass at the DMA. Terry Maxwell from Divas Art Glass in Ft. Worth remarked how she had known the pieces from books but was astonished at the size of them. Chihuly did a walking interview through the exhibit on Art Matters, a show on the local classic music station, WRR. As some of you know, my wife is a blind person, so I am very sensitive to the quality of verbal descriptions. Chihuly was remarkable to listen to, being fully aware he was on radio and taking the rather naive questions from the radio guy and detailing what was in front of them so the answer made visual sense. The Chihuly installations will be in place through Sept.25. There is a fee for the exhibition. 7/28/94
EAST TEXAS GLASS ARTISTS - In an earlier issue, I announced the competition and show run by the ETGA. I called to help decide whether I might travel to see the show. I was told that the number of submissions was less than last year and thus the show was very small. I decided not to go. 7/28/94
CORRUGATED SHIELDS - The most common material I have seen for use as shielding between glassblowers and the heat is corrugated steel. Some studios have mostly fixed walls, removable only for repairs, while others make shield on stands and place them as needed. Corrugated steel comes in many weights, from so heavy that a 10 foot by 26" piece is a tough lift for one person to so light that setting it down wrong will bend it. The latter is just as good for heat protection as the former. The Home Depot chain sells corrugated sheet in various lengths for under $5. Most is lightweight although I have found some heavier. To make a shield that is light-weight for moving easily, 1/2" thin wall conduit is an interesting structural material that works well with corrugated metal and is inexpensive: $1.50 for 10 feet. To make the best use of conduit, a cheap manual conduit bender is needed. The bender can be used to form a curved foot for the shield and can be used, with care, to form a longer curve for a curved shield. Self-tapping sheet metal screws are good for fastening the sheet to the tubing. Placing the conduit in the valley of the sheet means that cross pieces can rest on both the tubing and the sheet. Fastening tubing to tubing works best if some holes are drilled in the tubing nearest the head of the screw. A shield just over 6 feet tall with six feet of sheet 26" wide and 2 ten foot conduits made into curved Y legs, verticals, cross braces and a handle should weigh under ten pounds. If you buy a longer piece and cut it, be sure to file or sand the cut ends - they can be very sharp. 7/30/94
DOOR - Finished the door, may fire up tomorrow. Still have to add the handle and a safety rail to keep it from falling away from the furnace face. [Did.] In the process, rebuilt much of the front of the furnace to end up with a flat face to work against and to repair damaged stuff. Will do a recipe on the door. 7/30/94
TRIUMPH! - I fired up the furnace for the first time since the 7th with a lot of changes. The door is terrific, first time I have felt I have control on this furnace. Installed the new crucible that holds about twice the glass. I ground down the edges on my homemade jacks and found them working better. I still have to do a lot of practice as my jacking skills are poor, especially timing. The very first piece out of the furnace worked well and usually the first one is a loss for me. I mounted a solid stainless serving spoon from the grocery store ($4.75) with a longer handle (not long enough) and scooped out the remaining glass and, I hope, any fragments of the crucible in it.
I am to be Member of the Month on the Crafts Forum for August, which means my name gets put out there, the S9/Glass/Clay/Ceramics section gets some publicity and I get free time while on the forum for the month.
It seems appropriate to end this issue on those high points, so I will, unless something hot shows up in the mail tomorrow. I plan to go to Austin the weekend of August 20th for the opening of Gathering at Sable V. I will go to the Chihuly show this week or next.
PHOTOS - I am carrying around a pair of portfolios that show examples of glass of particular artists and photos their equipment. I normally take these pictures when I visit. If you wish to share views of your place, I would prefer the following: two pictures from the same position - one across the shop at the hot wall, the second to the right or left showing most of the rest of the shop often including annealers. A third picture of cold working equipment would be nice. For pictures of work, I favor one picture filled with your best/favorite piece and another showing several pieces that represent the variety of your work. The pictures I carry are 4x6 or 3 1/2x5. If you send slides, I will have prints made. 5/21/94
REFERENCE LISTS - I would like to know of people involved in glassblowing, glassblowers, even those who only blow part of the year; glassblowing studios; and galleries showing and/or selling blown glass. At a minimum, I will send them a copy of Hot Glass Bits. Beyond that, maybe some coordination, reducing costs, sharing experience. Address or phone number needed. Also, schools and people doing teaching in studios so when people ask I can send them some place.
RECIPES - I have started putting together Recipes - sets of directions for some specific glassblowing task, most often construction right now - to fit on a page and following the model of a cookbook including the personal nature of cooking. If you would like to offer something, please do so; ask for a sample page if you wish. The following are available now, $2 for the first one, $1 for each additional ordered at the same time to cover copy, processing and mailing costs.
__ Building a small firebrick gloryhole __ Gloryhole/Furnace
__ Using Propane in a Small Glassblowing Operation
__ Making a Flat Grinder __ Building a fiber lined annealer
__ Lower cost temperature measurement __ Organizations & periodicals
__ Glossary __ Making a small crucible
Blow good Glass
Three groups of people get Hot Glass Bits at this point: Those who are mentioned in an issue, those I feel like sending a copy to, and those who have paid some money. The only ones guaranteed to get the next issue are the last group.
Started 5/31/94 ending Para spacing in format, Header has #
Artists & 76 Glass-DB = 61, 150 copies 137 total sent
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