Hot Glass Bits #23

Contact Mike Firth

November 24, 1994 - January 26,1995 [REPRINT]

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PILCHUCK [ FAX:206-621-0713] ART CALENDAR FAX:651-5313, C

This issue contains deadline information for

Feb. 6th,'95 for WESTAF/NEA Regional NEA FELLOWSHIPS

Mar.1,'95 for application to PILCHUCK

Mar. 24,'95 G.A.S. Early Reg.Saving G.A.S.CONF. II

May 15, 1995 for Arts Midwest/NEA Regional NEA FELLOWSHIPS

June 15, 1995, Texas exhibition, MATERIALS HARD & SOFT

[capitalized KEYWORD starts a paragraph below]

Known hot glass class sites: 01002, 04627, 14830, 11217, 43216, 70130, 75253, 76028, 98144, 98292

Would like to know of others

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? - Mike Firth is a 52 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 had 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 married self-employed computer programmer and teacher about computers.

Vision Thing: It wouldn't hurt to have more glassblowing in Texas.

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.


NEA FELLOWSHIPS - in Sculpture, Crafts and Photography for various regions of USA offered in odd years. Not for full-time students or previous winners. Must be "a professional artist or an artist who is establishing a career and have created a substantial body of work." Ten fellowships of $5,000 in each category. Judging is done from 10 slides. The application has 5 required and 4 optional parts. Get the application to prepare. It must include "evidence that the work reflects continued, serious and exceptional aesthetic investigation and that the artist will be at a critical point of development during the proposed fellowship period."WESTAF Deadline is Feb.6 1995. Arts Midwest's is May 15, 1995. Here are the phone numbers and the territories covered of the other regional organizations are:    Arts Midwest, 612-341-0755, FAX: 612-341-0902, (IA IL IN MN MI ND OH SD WI); 5/15/95    Consortium of Pacific Arts & Cultures, 808-946-7381, FAX: 808-955-2722, (AS CM GU); Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, 410-539-6656, FAX: 837-5517, (DC DE MD NJ NY PA VI VA WV);

Mid-America Arts Alliance, 816-421-1388 (AR, KS, MO, NE, OK, TX.) 1/20/95

New England Foundation for the Arts, 617-492-2914, FAX: 617-876-0702, ( CT ME MA NH RI VT);

Southern Arts Federation 404-874-7244, FAX: 873-2148 (AL FL GA KY LA MS NC SC TN) 1/9/95    Western States Arts Federation, 505-988-1166, FAX: 982-9307, (AK AZ CA CO HI ID MT NM NV OR UT WA WY); 2/6/95

JUNCTION EXPERIENCE - A total of 6 weeks of glassblowing is available in 1995 at Junction, Texas, as part of the summer arts graduate program of Texas Tech University. Advanced Hot Glass, with Bill Bagley, will run from June 4 to June 23 and can be taken for either two or three weeks. Beginning/Intermediate Hot Glass, with Bob Mosier, will be July 16-28 and Glass Problems, also with Bob, will run the week of July 30 - August 4. The number of people in the classes is kept small, usually 6-10. The blowing facility is a roofed, open-sided slab with two annealers, two benches, a 300# tank and additional support equipment. 11; Although fees are subject to change by the legislature, etc., tuition and fees are $107/169 for 1/2 weeks for Texas Residents and $228/455 for non-residents. Room with 15 meals a week is $88/week in an open cabin, $98.50 in air conditioned dorm. Glassblowing also has a materials fee of $50-60 and color rod is extra and a personal purchase. The missing six meals are Friday night to Sunday noon, when food service is shut down.    The program, sometimes referred to by participants as summer camp, is part of continuing education for arts teachers and is therefore a graduate program, giving credit at the rate of 1 hour per week of participation. Applicants must have a degree or sufficient college hours for special admission. The program includes several other topics such as Jewelry Design, Ceramics, Kite Design, Bookbinding, Papermaking, Cold Glass and Sculpture. The site is a former ranch on the Llano River in the Hill Country of Texas west of Austin just off I-10.    If you are interested, contact Betty Street, TTU Center at Junction, Dept.of Art, Box 42081 Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock, TX, 79049-2081, 806-742-3027, FAX: 806-742-3878 as quickly as possible for detailed information. If you are unable to make a decision early, but want to go and are flexible, if the class fills, ask to be put on the waiting list. You may get in quite late. 11/27/94

GLASS FOCUS is the Official Newsletter of The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass and is primarily for collectors. A majority of the content is gallery listings and these can be of use to artists. The Art Alliance provides for exchanges between collectors and events such as extra activities around the GLASSWEEKEND in southern New Jersey, in 95 adding a get together for museum curators. The newsletter also includes interviews and short bios of people. The newsletter is published 6 times a year and costs $24/year. Single back issues are $5. Beverly Copeland, Glass Focus, 9323 N. Olcott Ave., Morton Grove IL 60053-1752. 12/1/94

PROPANE - Previously I printed several comments about propane. My favorite source has been a nearby U-Haul Station that was selling it at $1.50 a gallon or $1 if I bought over 10 gallons. I bought a third tank so I could buy 10 without draining two. Yesterday, the place discovered a U-Haul policy which only gives the discount if the 10 gallons goes in one tank; apparently a long standing policy being ignored.    In calling around for competitive prices, I found it trickier than expected to get answers that were correct for me. When I asked how much it cost to fill a 20# tank, I got an answer, but part way though I discovered I needed to ask a more precise question and had to go back and ask again. Several of the places have specific prices for filling various sized tanks, but they charge the same whether the tank is empty or half full. So, to get a correct price for my purposes, I needed to ask, "If I bring in three 20# tanks that are half full, what will I pay to fill them?" Some places have a minimum and then charge $1 a gallon. As above, others charge a specific full price for each tank. 12/3/94

OPTIC - As is my wont, I try things I probably shouldn't. Having more time than money at this point, I considered that I might cast an optic in the manner of the puffer I did last year. Of course, there is a core problem: while the puffer can be cast from a hole punched in damp sand, the optic needs a core with a design. The problem with the core is that making it will take a fair amount of time, so much that it probably voids almost any savings. The easiest solution would be to "borrow" a design by casting plaster inside an existing optic. But it would have to be someone else's, otherwise why cast a duplicate?    I "carved" a core of paraffin wax that I made by casting the wax in a drinking glass with a dowel centered in it. I made an index disk with 16 sectors also glued on the dowel to rotate to make an eight pointed core. Certain combinations of points and depth can be carved with a right angle cutter set at the proper angle to the core. I used the corner of a chisel set at 22.5°. A router bit and a jig could make a wooden core. In my case, having carved the core, I lost it to the heat of the plaster when I made the outer mold. Because I did not allow enough taper, I also lost the outer mold getting it off the core of high temperature casting plaster. According to the books, I will lose that core when I heat it before casting the aluminum. We shall see the next time I fire up. We have had days of cold, rain and fog. Irritating. 12/4/94

G.A.S. CONF. I - During a brief phone conversation with Bill Boysen, head of the Glass Program, School of Art & Design, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, I learned that their mobile glass blowing facility, which I had written to ask about, is going to be in North Carolina for the G.A.S. Conference next May. I called in connection with a note in G.A.S.News about Jon Offutt at SIU organizing a BBS for glass. I have written for information. 12/12/94

G.A.S. CONF. II - The News reports at length that after the Conference there will be Workshops at Penland School from May 15-17. Costs are $550 and $600. Presenters will include John Perreault, Urban Glass, "Presenting Your Art"; Ruth King, Ohio State U., "Hot Glass in Flames"; Gene Koss, Tulane U, "Cast Glass & Steel Sculpture"; Judith O'Rourke, Littleton Studios, "Printmaking from Glass Plates"; Don Niblack, flameworker, "Flameworking Goblets"; Douglas Schaible, freelance including for Habatat Galleries, "Photographing Glass"; Walter Lieberman, independent artist, "Glass Painting." For more information contact Penland School of Crafts, Penland NC 28765, 704-765-2359, Fax: 704-765-7389. Membership in the Glass Art Society [1305 4th Ave., Suite 711, Seattle WA 98101-2401, 1-206-382-1305] is required to attend the conference: $40/yr, student $15, family $60 and others on up.

G.A.S. CONF. III - Other pre- and post-conference events include Society of Glass Beadmakers classes: Advanced Murrini Techniques, $260, 20 people max.; Mandrel-wound Lampwork Beadmaking, $280, 6 people max., each at a torch, both May 8-10, contact A Touch of Glass, 421 Haywood Road, Asheville NC 28806, 704-258-2749. Illuminating Blown Glass Objects, May 15-17, $300, both tubing and furnace blown objects with illuminating gases, $300 includes all glass, while exciters will be available for purchase, with Morgan Crook, Jacob Fislunan, Gwen Weimann and David Wilson. Contact David Wilson, % Spruce Pine Batch Co., P.O.Box 159, Spruce Pine NC 28777, 704-765-9876. [This is one I would like to go to.] As is usual with the G.A.S. Conference, there will be many gallery shows keyed in some way to activities. 12/12/94

G.A.S. CONF. IV - Literally as I was preparing to print, 1/26/95, the Conference booklet arrived. The dates are 11-14 May. Fees are $175 to 3/24/95, $200 3/25-5/10, and $225 on May 11. Full-time students $100 less. Open studio days will be Tues-Thur, May.9-11, seventeen being listed as open on Wed. Conference sessions start Thursday morning. Over 30 exhibitions related to glass will be open in the area at about the time of the conference. See address above.

EYE PROTECTION - Prompted by questions from readers along with copies of articles that have been appearing recently about eye protection, I have been exploring for more information about sources of heat used by glass workers. I think it is important that a few statements should be made about eye protection for glass workers. There is far too little published information about sources of damage, and conditions can change depending fuel, temperature and glass, so artists must make choices as carefully as they can. After long conversations with protection providers and attempts to get specific data on various kinds of glass work without specific results, here are what I consider minimum standards.

1. Every glass worker, hot or cold, must have some barrier between the glass and the eye simply to keep chips out of the eye. A single chip can do far more damage than almost anything below.

2. Every hot glass worker must have some shaded protection. Didymium glasses are NOT adequate for anything other than their original intention, which was to take out the sodium flare from soft glass worked in relatively low flame temperatures. Higher temperature torches have voided the value of didymium even when working with soft glass and thin plastic didymiums remove some of shading that was provided by thicker glass lenses.

3. The higher the temperature of the flame, the more likely there is an Ultraviolet (UV) component, but, except for arc welding, Infrared (IR) will probably dominate the need for protection. Apparently, UV is fairly easy to protect against, since most transparent materials tend to block some UV and most heat sources have relatively low UV radiation energies.

4. Hot glass workers who are getting ANY eye irritation while working need more protection. People spending more hours may need more relief. Welding shade numbers 3, 4, and 5 take out 90%, 95%, and 97.5% respectively of visible, UV, and IR energy. Shaded materials are available as eye glasses, eye masks (like skin diving masks), full face plastic shields and welder's style opaque face hoods with shaded plates. If a shade seems to provide good protection, but the worker finds that seeing the rest of the work area is a problem, more intense area lighting should be installed or protection that provides two shades should be used.

5. If a worker is using protection, but the eyes are still drying out, burning, tearing, or feeling like sand is in them, then the protection has something wrong with it and should be changed. If a worker looks away from the work area and sees spots the size of the hot working area, protection is inadequate, even if the eyes are not sore yet, and needs to be increased or modified.


European style glass workers have worked without eye protection for years and apparently have few problems. That style calls for a number of people (gaffer, servitor, bit gatherer, etc.) and is targeted toward production, so the furnace and glory hole openings are closely sized to the work. The glory holes are very hot and the workers who go to them spend little time at them, in the name of production efficiency. The primary glass worker, the gaffer, may spend no time at the fire.

American style art glass workers, where a person works alone or in pairs, results in more exposure, particularly in doing detailed additional gathers and working a larger piece at a glory hole that may have an oversized opening and not be as hot so more time is spent at it. To me this means protection is needed. I need it and like being able to comfortably watch the glass in the fire. If I were starting from scratch, I would probably buy something that specifically stated that it provided #3 protection and didn't cost too much. If I found discomfort, I would go to #4 or more. As I have said, I now use a #5 full face shield and find it very comfortable at the fire, but too dark away, so I am skilled at raising it. 12/16/94

SESSION - Had a good short session blowing some small goblets. Even those that had problems were good practice. I melted some aluminum for trying to cast an optic. Lots of mess and not a good result. 12/18/94 Looking over the results of yesterday's session, I find I have what my classmate Girt would call a "funky little goblet" which has a crack starting at the lip from falling over in the annealer. It has a nice lip shape and a good taper to the stem which ends in a ball inserted in a thickish disk. It doesn't sit vertical and is far enough off that the foot probably won't look right if I grind it. But for the 4th or 5th goblet I've tried, its cute. The optic is not as bad as I feared, but certainly not worth the effort it took. 12/19/94

BUBBLES - Sue Love at the Orton Ceramic Foundation [6991 Old 3C Highway, Westerville OH 43082, 614-895-2663 fax:614-895-5610] has sent a copy of a neat article in the November 94 Canadian Ceramics Quarterly [see Canadian Ceramics Society, 2175 Sheppard Ave, East, Suite 110, Willowdale Ontario M2J 1W8 Canada, 416 491- 2886, FAX: 416-491-1670] "Blisters In Glass" by Ratnarajah, Hoggan & Coulter of Consumers Glass Co. Toronto. The article explores sources of bubbles in glass, some of which only apply to a commercial bottle/glass operation, such as plunger action and tube rotation. But the details are fascinating. The main point of the article is that the gas inside the bubbles, including ones as small as 0.1 mm (!), can be analyzed for content which can indicate the source. What makes the article valuable for those of us without a spectrometer is the long lists of causes of bubbles.    One fascinating fact included is that bubble free glass still has "dissolved gases in the amount of ten times the volume of the glass itself." One source that has been analyzed is hydrogen blisters from iron in glass. Unanalyzed as yet are blisters from metallic silicon coming from an impurity in aluminum. The metals are coming in with the cullet. 12/19/94

NAME CHANGE - Professional Stained Glass is now titled Glass Artist [RR6 Box 68 Tonetta Lake Rd Brewster NY 10509] I haven't seen a copy recently to see if it is changing content. 12/20/94

AUSTIN - While in Austin for Christmas eve with friends, I looked over the Blue Bonnet Market where Girt Girten, my classmate at Junction, has a booth selling some of her stuff and that of several other crafters. It is a pretty standard craft mall in content with some nice and some junk (volleyball T-shirts) with a nice interior and what should be a good location across from the convention center.

I traveled also to the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, which is very high quality, running only in early December, every day, 11am-11pm, which is very long hours. There is an admission fee ($1.50 daytime weekdays, $3 evenings and weekends) and live music in the evening. I was there in early afternoon of December 24th and people were clearly buying. I saw Fire Island's stuff and met Matthew Labarbara's wife for a nice chat. The biggest piece on display in their booth was neat in that it had nice rows of bubbles around the midway into the thickness of the glass and then was threaded exactly with every other band of the fairly wide (3/16") thread running over a row of bubbles. The top was cold worked into a sharp edged prism with a small round hole in the top. The contrast of the sharp planes and heavy roundness was nice. My hostess told me that the Amadillo site is having some problems with the building condition, [it is used for meetings the year round] and Armadillo may have to move.

WIMBERLEY - Having previously missed seeing Wimberley Glass Studio [P.O.Box 1724, Wimberley TX 78676 1-512-847-9348] southwest of Austin, I went on down for the purpose. The site is very well marked. They have a nice sparkling setup, with a generous gallery in one building with modest living quarters in back and the studio next door. Three artists are regularly using the space, Tim de Jong, Eric Mordt and Joel O'Dorisio, keeping regular hours 12-5 FSSM for the public. Eric was handling the space alone the day I visited. Eric said he also has a night job with a computer service bureau.    Eric was trained in England and reported that technique was given a great deal of attention starting with a week of practice doing the first gather properly. He reports that he has a number of tools made by a blacksmith in England, including some jacks and shears having a heat shield on the handle.    Eric was very positive about the shop equipment, both its effectiveness and efficiency. It looked very good. Virtually, everything was on wheels. They are melting Gabbert Cullet, one furnace of clear and one of cobalt that they color themselves. The furnace doors are most interesting, See below. The bench Eric uses is a lean-back bench: it looks like a standard sit-down bench raised and tilted forward. Both the arms and the tool laydown area are tilted about 15 degrees. Almost all of the pieces I saw had some optic work including elaborate pieces and production tumblers.    The day (Dec.23) was busier than Eric expected, the studio having been mentioned in a weekender article in the Austin paper that a number of people mentioned. Eric gave four or five demos while I was there and most of the groups of visitors bought something.

WET NEWSPAPER - Eric uses the Wall Street Journal and wets his paper by squirting from a plastic bottle about one liter in size. I have seen people who soak the paper in the wood tools bucket (I do) and people who lay out the paper and splash water on it with their hand and using the bottle seems better than both. Eric just has a hole punched in a cap. I have mentioned previously that the pull tops used on dish detergent bottles (which are often an odd big shape) will screw on plastic soda bottles (which are nice handy round shapes) whether 20 ounce or 1 or 2 liters. [I have set up a bottle for use.]

OPTIC TWIST - Several Wimberley pieces used a technique that I first took to be a very tight spiral thread, but Eric explained that it is an optic twist, a technique that I had not encountered before (which is nothing new) but which Eric says is well known. He explained that the gather is first placed in the optic, then reheated to quite hot and placed back in the optic in the same position. The optic is held with the feet and the glass severely twisted. Eric says it screams, making lots of noise while being twisted. The result is fine lines of color, perhaps 30-40 from the rim to center of a bowl. I did not ask, but assume the color was added after the first optic plunge, so it is on the ridges. Since the color is stretched and frit (not stringer in the optic) was used, the original blobs are stretched to varicolored lines.

FURNACE DESIGN & DOORS - The newer of the two furnaces at Wimberley was built using a handy technique borrowed from a friend of Eric's in North Carolina. The base for the invested pot is simply a steel barrel cut off at the right height. It acts as the outer mold for the castable and remains to protect the casting. A barrel is also cheap. (Per other people: Use insulating castable up to near the rim then Missou to the rim, the Missou protecting the insulating from the dissolving effects of the glass on the insulating.)    The interesting swing doors for the furnaces are remarkably easy to use, but absolutely require a strong frame. The left rear post of the frame is a pipe and inserted into this and arching up and over to the center of the front is a 1" tube which Eric reports took heavy duty bending by several guys. With the arch in position, the frame for the door is set flush on the front face of the furnace, and four straight braces are welded from the corners of the door to the pipe, so that the is mounted either tilted or upright (Wimberley has one of each.) A handle projects out and to the left. When the door is opened, it immediately swings away from the front surface, avoiding the sliding adhesion of some doors. As long as it is carefully mounted, it moves very smoothly.    The glory hole has another interesting door and interesting insulation. The glory hole is a standard round metal shell about 2' in diameter. The door is a hanging wheeled metal frame with insulation cast as a flat slab with a semicircular concave edge with the shell's radius on the right side. When the door is shut, the opening is a slender football shape. As it is opened, it gets fatter faster than it gets taller, so it is fairly well shaped around pieces of any size.    The insulation in the glory hole is castable placed over fiber, slapped and thrown into place according to Eric, about 2" of each. The result, he says, is a good compromise between castable glory holes that take too long to heat up and fiber units that heat fast but lose heat very quickly when the door is opened. He said in his presentation that the glory hole takes about 90 minutes to come to heat.

NEW ORLEANS I - I did a trip to New Orleans at the worst possible time, between Christmas and New Years, but I wanted to see the facilities and am unlikely to get closer in the next few years. I was in central Louisiana for time with in-laws. The New Orleans School of Glass was doing an inter-term activity for kids and Tulane was moving much of their stuff to a new building, but I got to see and take pictures of the basic stuff.    The school is in an arts area, proclaimed by banners on the light posts, not far from and west of downtown (727 Magazine.) An older, tall, narrow, deep building, it has a gallery in front and large workspace in back. The gallery was featuring work by Frances Swigart, a print maker who uses glass plates; Joshua Cohen, lampworker; Jonathan Christie, Pino Signoretto, Richard Royal and Curtiss Brock, who also serves on the board. Many other artists who work in the space had work in the gallery also and I felt it a good setting and a good range of examples of hot glass, including cast, fused, lampworked, and etched as well as blown. 11; The work space is well laid out and explicitly set up for visitors. Jean Blair explained that they have a lot of kids and young adult activities and a dozen or more were there when I was. An elaborate set of liability forms is used to protect the facility and building from liability claims.    At the front of the facility on the left is a row of exhaust vented hot glass stuff with a pneumatic glory hole, furnace, pipe heater, a small glory hole, larger gloryhole and another large gloryhole set at an angle on the end. There are three benches, one specifically set off to work the last hole. Glass melted depends on who is working, with good cullet used by artists and bottle glass for kids. Next down the left side are the annealers, one huge front loader and five top loading used both for casting and annealing. A welding area is used by the kids and others to make slumping forms, stands and doors. [Among the things the kids are taught is casting a door. Ironically, having mentioned the door with the curved edge in the Wimberley report, there is a virtually identical door in here.] In the back of the room are a lampworking setup at two skill levels, with oxy-propane bench torches at one table and handyman propane torches in pockets at the edge of another table. Some kids were learning beadmaking at the latter. The back right area is devoted to printmaking with a classic old large wheel press using glass plates. Between this area and the entrance are a series of rooms with an exhibit space on top. Starting at the entrance, the rooms include cold working, shelf storage, restrooms and wet prep area. Along the walls are cases clearly labeled as donated student work for sale to help the program.    Technical Assistants (TA's) have worked their way up, learning and then helping the guest artists who come in. Jean said that she considers the experience that faculty get to be very valuable for people with just school training and encourages finishing glass grad students to contact her about what they can offer. Among the fruits of working there are getting tuition paid at Pilchuck or Penland if accepted and working with people like Curtiss Brock.

NEW ORLEANS II - Tulane has a program with a strong emphasis on casting and they are in the process of playing musical buildings with much of their stuff. [If I got it straight, it goes like this: Law got a new building, so theater moves into the old law building until their new building is finished. Art moves into a former student center building next door, so the art and theater buildings can be rehabilitated, then 3D will move into the former theater building and 2D will take over the old art building except for the space that will be a gallery. Whew.] Not moving is the interesting and fairly new hot shop. It was built in '89 in a space at the end of building and is triangular. One of the walls is the brick of the art building, the second is glass brick, and the longest third wall is five tall roll-up doors between large diameter posts that support the roof. I got a look inside even though everything was shut down courtesy of Glen Hershfeld (I hope I got that right) the grad student at the top of the emergency phone number list.    You know you are around a casting facility when a rack holds a dozen or more 6, 8 and 10" ladles. Inside the hot shop is centered a suspended vent hood with furnaces and glory holes facing three ways. The furnaces are tank type, one 375# melting "domestic glass" [bottles with the labels still on in bins outside] for beginners and two others melting Gabbert Cullet [700 Cherry Ave. P.O.Box 63 Williamstown WV 26187 304-375-6435] for casting and other work. Two large glory holes, including one with 24" ID face opposite corners of the space. The normal working space was filled with firebrick when I was there as the furnaces were to be rebuilt the following week. The hot area was fed by a huge gas line (4"?) set in a slot in the floor with 1/2"-3/4" pipes to each burner, which have individual blowers. The one tank I looked at closely had mixing done at the blower with a cast flame port with a UV flame sensor and spark plug restarter. The glory hole had a Gabbert head. The tank had a cast arch (done in two sections in a reusable mold behind me) then two layers of fiber, then a couple of inches of cast-o-lite. A nice looking setup and the roll-up doors certainly give access to equipment and air flow while giving good security.

OPTIC - My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I suppose I should take the New Orleans trip, since it cost about $50 for gas and boarding the dog. I think I will get a small optic. The problem with making an optic is the core. If one can cast one off someone else's optic, it is easy, but carving one makes a lot of time and if a permanent mold is made, it is useless because who needs more than one optic of a particular design? 12/30/94

SESSION - Duane Jetter, who lives in Carrollton, NW of Dallas and who learned at Divas, called with questions and came down to chat and see some things. He retired last year, and has bought things to work glass. He was particularly interested in working from cullet without a furnace and we talked about choices there and I showed him how it was possible to pick up "cold" cullet from the annealer (890°F) and work it to molten. He is going to try using the equipment he has and melt cullet in a crucible in an electric kiln, working it in a natural gas gloryhole.    I had planned on rebuilding the face after the last session, but fired up without doing it. Two of the frame splits for the door opening fell out as we began. After he left I worked the glass for a while, getting some practice and not much more. The experience was interesting because the air temperature is 45°F and we had a hard freeze last night, so the water in my wood tools container is very cold. Having a red hot pipe that is almost too cold to hold on the other end was also exciting. 1/2/95

INCREASE - With a 10% increase in first class postage and postage being the biggest expense of HB, I have decided to increase the subscription rate by 10%. See below. 1/2/95

CHIP CONTROLLER - A new product of considerable potential for glass blowers is the AD595 from Analog Devices [One Technology Way, PO Box 9106, Norwood MA 02062-9106.] From a single $12.60 chip that will work from a single voltage over a range of voltages from 5 to 30 volts directly wired to a K Type thermocouple comes a linear cold junction compensated voltage (10mV/°C), set point control matched to a pot and thermocouple alarm. The design provides that the K Type wires be soldered to copper closely coupled to the chip by wide PC board leads or heavier wire, so the temperature of the leads is the temperature of chip pins. The chip measures this temperature and compensates. This lower priced chip is accurate to 3°C (over twice the dollars for 1°C.)    As I now understand the chip, adding a K Type, a voltage regulator, and a cheap DC supply from Radio Shack would allow measuring temperature to 2300F (1250C=2282F) for about $40 with a voltmeter. Adding a pot, a solid state relay and maybe an optoisolator allows control of a fixed temp box (color heat, garage, furnace) for about $100 depending on the cost of the relay. Making a box with a single power supply, four of these chips, four K Type sockets, four jacks for relay control, four multiturn pots, a cheap voltmeter and rotary switch would allow control of four devices for about $100 with each device needing a K Type ($16 or more) and a relay ($15-$90 depending on capacity and method of getting or making.) I have bought two [to meet the minimum $25 from Newark Electronics 800-367-3573] and will keep you informed. 1/3/95 It turns out it won't both measure and control at the same time, I am going to add a switch and see is it works.

THERMOCOUPLE BASICS - Measuring temperatures around glass requires devices that will survive the temperatures involved or will remote measure. The latter are too expensive for most studios. Among those that will survive are resistive and thermocouple devices. Resistive means that the resistance to current flow changes (up or down) with temperature. While for lower temperatures resistive can be very cheap and reliable (as thermisters or temperature sensing integrated circuits) above 500° we have to start talking platinum and devices costing a hundred bucks or more.    A thermocouple involves two metals pounded (welded) together. If the junction is heated, a (small) voltage is generated that can be measured. This actually happens with almost all metals, but some metal combinations have a greater change with temperature and a change that is closer to a nice straight line. Each of the more interesting types has been given a letter. Almost all of these can be ignored by glass workers except the K* Type which is the only one that extends up into the range where glass melts. (J and E work in annealer ranges.) The amount of voltage actually depends on the temperature of the other end of the wires, called the cold junction. Life becomes more complicated because the other ends of the wires are often connected to copper introducing two more bi-metal junctions. Modern circuitry takes into account the actual temperature of the cold junctions and the copper/thermo-metal junction voltage, amplifies the volts and adjusts to a straight line, such as 10mV/degree C. (* The less widely available N Type is actually better at survival at high temperatures, with less temperature shift with aging.) 1/6/95

URBANGLASS [647 Fulton St., Brooklyn NY 11217-1112, 718-625-3685] has sent its Spring schedule. The B Team, which this year includes Zesty Meyers (founder), Thor Bueno, Sarah Chase, Clay Logan and Jeff Zimmerman, will have a showing Feb.2-Apr.2 and will present a couple of performances, an education conference and a workshop during the first half of February. Tina Aufiero will have a showing Apr.14-May 28. The Transparent Body: New Glass Buildings will show June 11 - Aug.13.    Studio access is billed based on the size of the glory hole (8"-28" $20-$35/hr) plus a propane charge of $5/session. Annealer charges are per 24 hours ($26-44-100.) Eight weekend workshops are planned: Vessels, Jeff Zimmerman, (Feb.4-5); Group Projects, B Team, (Feb.13-14); Scientific Glassblowing, Dennis Briening, (Mar.4-5); Sand Casting, Mark Ferguson, (Mar.11-12); Neon, TBA (Mar.11-12); Sculpting Hot Glass; Jonathan Christie, (Apr.15-16); and Bead Making, Sabrina Knowles and Jenny Pohlman, (May 6-7.) Weekend classes are $350 each. Nine weekly glassblowing classes at various levels are being offered as well as fifteen other classes in such areas as casting, neon, survey, lampworking, and stained glass.

PILCHUCK [315 Second Ave.South, Seattle WA 98104-2618, 206-621-8422, FAX:206-621-0713] has sent their '95 catalog. March 1 is the deadline for application for Summer and Fall programs. The summer program is May 22-Sep.1, five sessions with five classes offered each session. Each seventeen day session involving hot glass costs $2,250 when living in a dorm, $2,600 in a cottage. Some hot shop slots are devoted to casting. The first session seems weak, too much into "touchy-feelly" for my taste. Session 2 has Dick Marquis and Nick Mount doing murrini and Dante Marioni and Ann Wahlstrom covering design for blown glass, the former in the shop guiding execution of the designs. Session 3 will have Lino Tagliapietra and Checco Ongaro (brothers-in-law) will do advanced glassblowing (I'll say) and Fritz Dreisbach and Jan Frydrych will do beginning hot & cold techniques. Session 4 has two casting sessions and Robert Carlson and Petr Novotny exploring hot glass sculpture. Session 5 has Pino Signoretto working with solid glass and his chandelier techniques and two classes doing multimedia kinds of stuff, each with half-time hot shop access. A number of visiting artists will be present at various times during the summer. Some of the sessions are juried requiring additional material, while some are open. Write or call for the 32 page booklet describing everything and containing an application. 1/3/95

ART CALENDAR - [P.O.Box 199, Upper Fairmount MD 21867, 410-651-9150, FAX:651-5313, Credit card only: 800-597-5988] has listings in 25 categories including Grants and other funds, Juried shows, Museums and other spaces reviewing work, Residencies, Fairs and other booth shows, Conferences, Positions, Commissions, and Opportunities. The monthly issues also have articles on Art Law, Marketing, Federal Hazards Updates, Interviews, and special reports. Cost is $32 a year with several additional offers of books with subscriptions. 1/6/95 Having asked for a sample copy, what I got very quickly is terrific. If you like Hot Glass Bits, you will probably like AC. It has a sassy tone and is definitely for artists selling stuff. A lot on legal issues. Sample issues are $5. Cover price in stores should be $4. Lists opportunities, not dates of showings. It is, of course, all art categories. 1/19/95

CORNING EXHIBIT CALENDAR - The Corning Museum of Glass [One Museum Way, Corning NY 14830-2253] produces a Calendar of Glass Exhibitions. The cost is $42 per year. The sample issue for November 94 sent me shows listings for the United States and sixteen foreign countries obtained from "published sources." Using Texas as a sample, I found all the places listed I would expect to be listed. Listings range from beadwork to Chihuly and are not devoted to exclusively glass exhibits (e.g.. The Art of Deception: Understanding What's Real - Silver, glass, ceramics, paintings.)

WIMBERLEY GLASS WORKS with Tim de Jong interview and voice over was a segment today on 8 Country Reporter (which is broadcast elsewhere as DQ Country Reporter.) Good shots of the place and the work. 1/8/95

HOUSTON STUDIO GLASS - Got a long pleasant call from Dick Moiel in Houston, a retired neurosurgeon who with his wife, Cathy, and Bob Moiser, an instructor at Junction, are setting up Houston Studio Glass. He informed me of two bargains (below) and asked me several questions, one of which I am answering in writing and will put in a recipe on a gas and electric safety. 1/12/95

INSULATING BOARD - A.P.Green, according to Dick Moiel, bought out a company and has a lot of 1" 1900° insulating board which they are selling at $39.84/box which is well under Green's usual price. One difference is the surface treatment of the board which is rougher since Green adds a starch that smoothes the surface and aids cutting (and burns out on first heating.) Contact is Tamara Bradshaw or Nick Nicholson at 1-713-635-3200. 1/12/95 48 bd ft to Carton, 16 boards 1"x12"x36" $.83 bd ft $39.84+tax+45-60$ in frt.

NEW GLASS BATCH - The country seems aswarm with proposals for new glass batch, including one posted on Internet that promised much. Dick Moiel reports hearing of one in California and tells many details of one available in Houston, which he heard of from Henry Halem.    Per Moiel: A company called Fairmont Glass Batch in Illinois (1-800-258-3878) has a batch with expansion of 95.2, anneal temp 928, strain temp 856 which they are packaging in 10# (yes, ten pound) hermetically sealed plastic bags, which are intended to be put in the pot intact. They are establishing relationships with studios. They have shipped a pallet (1800#) to Houston along with other stuff they do (like sand) and are selling for 35 cents/# picked up in Fresno, TX. Dick reports he bought Spruce Pine at 26› but with shipping it came to just under 42›. 1/12/95

GLASS CLASSES, 01375 - Horizons, "The New England Craft Program" [108 North Main St., Sunderland MA 01375] is offering several glassblowing classes during "Intensives" in 1995. Horizons offers classes in a variety of other crafts also. April 21-23, Glass Casting $295*, Glassblowing May 13-15 $310*, Glassblowing Aug10-15 $510* plus add-in Aug 16-19 $375*, Glassblowing Oct 7-9 $310*. * A lab-fee is charged in addition for all these classes. The summer add-in may be taken as a continuence of the previous class or alone as a 4 day class. 1/15/95

I am rapidly reaching the mailing limit for an issue (12 pages) and am being bombarded with material and opportunities. In the last two days phone calls have revealed another working studio and people both giving and wanting classes. Both Glass and American Craft magazines have arrived. It has also become bitterly cold and wet. Last weekend (14-15) I pushed myself to exhaustion stripping and recovering half of my garage roof (2 squares) and I have so much else to do. I will have to exercize just to be able to do it. I have to repair the face of my furnace before I fire up again. I had an idea for a glass and stone fountain that I think I can make, but only if I get a lot more practice. 1/19/95

AMERICAN CRAFT arrived with a bunch of glass related stuff. An ad for the Rachael Collection, Aspen CO, reveals that the cast table on display the New Orleans School gallery was by John Lewis. The annealing time must have been forever. (it is 16x60x36 with sections 6-8" thick.) Two pages are devoted to Michael Jaross and his Pacifica Glassworks focusing on functional pieces in Seattle. Concetta Mason gets a page on her newer style. The American Crafts Council offers 8 shows in 1995, the nearest of which is almost 900 miles from Dallas.    per ad HAYSTACK [Mountain School of Crafts, P.O.Box 518A, Deer Isle ME 04627, 207-348-2306] offers classes June 4-Sept.1 including Brian Pike (6/4-16), Michael Scheiner (6/18-30), Dan Dailey & Lino Tagliapietra (8/6-18) and Dick Marquis (8/20-9/1) doing glass.    also per ad MATERIALS HARD & SOFT, 9th Annual Contemporary Crafts Exhibition, Meadows Gallery, Sep.17-Oct.27. Deadline June 15, 1995, SASE to Greater Denton Arts Council, 207 S. Bell, Denton TX 76201 or call 817-382-2787. $3,000 in juror awards. 1/19/95

BLENKO GLASS CO. [Box 67, Milton WV 25541-0067 304-743-9081 FAX: 304-743-0547] has started a newsletter, Blenko Antique Notes, Vol.1, No.10, Jan.1995, of which is a single page front and back. Blenko makes production handmade glass, antique sheet glass and Dalle de Verre (thick colored glass). The contents of this issue are a note on how Blenko glass has been used architecturally, and schedule notes on Source '95 and other deadline events. It seems to be free. 1/19/95

From CompuServe p.j. friend 74077,1461 reports "I have been working on sculpture that a manipulated with opening the kiln at about 1250 and pulling the glass with cherry wood I have sculpted to use a pullers. (of course they are soaked). Its as close as I can get to a glory hole. We have a large architectural glass studio and most of our commission work is cold glass. So for sort of therapy I play around with these sculptures and exhibit at craft shows on the east coast. I also will be having a show in February at a gallery in Philadelphia. I really haven't seem this work copied anywhere either....(YET) which is nice. And it sells. I export to France and the Dominican Republic right now and have quite a few galleries." I have thought of doing something like this and the reverse: sagging/fusing glass on the punty at the glory hole. Interesting 1/20/95

MAGAZINE - I sent off four bucks for a copy of Glass Art, The Magazine for Stained and Decorative Glass [P.O.Box 260377, Highlands Ranch CO 80126, $24/yr, bi-monthly] which I haven't seen for a while and got a copy of the Jan/Feb.95 issue. If this issue is any indication, greater emphasis is being given to hot glass. While three major articles with good pictures deal with architectural stained glass, others cover flameworking Pyrex bracelets, celebrate Hot Glass HorizonsTM a traveling hands-on conference of hot glass and extract the knowledge of Dan Fenton on Annealing. The bracelet article gives very detailed procedures. Unfortunately there is also another reprint of the Schell article on eye protection. The mag seems well supported by ads where flat glass still dominates. 1/23/95

CLASSES - A 20 hour course, 5 days 4 hours a day, basics of learning to blow glass - gathering and using tools. Days and times to be arranged with students. 2-4 per class. $250 per person. Brad Abrams 214-557-3909, leave message. Class to be held in his studio on east edge of Dallas.    Divas Art Glass has scheduled classes Feb. 11-12, Mar. 11-12, and Apr. 8-9, Sat & Sun 9-5 $300/person, max. 4 students, 2 instructors, Terry Maxwell was pleased to report that two former students have been accepted as apprentices in separate places. Classes at studio in Burleson just off I-35 south of Ft.Worth 817-293-0190.


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 - following the model of a cookbook including the personal nature of cooking, generally a couple of pages long, some with a drawing. If you would like to offer something, please do so; ask for a sample page if you wish. The following are available now, $3 for the first one, $2 for each additional ordered at the same time, to cover copy, processing and mailing costs.

__ Building a small firebrick gloryhole (4 pages) __ Gloryhole/Furnace Door (3)
__ Using Propane in a Small Glassblowing Operation __ Standup Glassworking Bench (3)
__ Making a Flat Grinder (3) __ Building a fiber lined annealer (7)
__ Lower cost temperature measurement __ Organizations & periodicals (1)
__ Glossary of Glassblowing Terms (3) __ Making a small crucible (2)__ Catalog of Blown Glass Objects (2) __ Making a cheap burner (2)

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 11/22/94, ending 1/26/95 Para spacing in format, Header has #

Artists & Glass-DB = copies total sent

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