Contact Mike Firth
January 26 - March 31,1995 [REPRINT]
|Prev.Issue 23||Link to HGB Table of Contents||Next Issue 25|
|WHOAMI||NEA FELLOWSHIPS||JUNCTION EXPERIENCE||G.A.S. CONF. IV|
|CHIP CONTROLLER||NEW GLASS BATCH||CLASSES||CANVAS|
|COVINGTON||INTERNET||ED SCHMID||TESTED COMPATIBLE|
|INTENSIVES||HOT GLASS MANIPULATION||ART ALLISON||COMPUSERVE|
|READING III||CROWN GLASS||BRAD ABRAMS||DIVAS VISIT|
|MICHIGAN GLASS||LAMPWORKING||UT ARLINGTON||PHOTOS|
This issue contains deadline information for
May. 10,'95 G.A.S. Mid-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.
FYA - "The jockeys were thrown up like confetti and landed in their saddles, and their spindly long-legged transportation skittered its way out onto the track." Rat Race by Dick Francis.
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." 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
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
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.
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 supply
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 3ºC (over
twice the dollars for 1ºC.)
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 multi-turn 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.
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
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
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. When I visited Wimberley Glass Works, I learned they will be doing a workshop of some kind at a Huntsville crafts event in early May, but I have not been able to get details in time for publication.
CANVAS - For years I have used black plastic to protect parts of my equipment stored outside. The plastic cracks when cold and gives up under sun damage. Recently, after buying some awning canvas for a window shade, I began using it for equipment covers. I buy the material as remnants from an awning company, 6, 8 or 10 feet long at 50 cents a foot 30" wide. The material is very tough, canvas covered with plastic, and is durable in weather because that is what it is made for. 1/31/95
LARK - A catalog arrived of books and crafts from Lark Books [50 College St., Asheville NC 28801, 1-800-284-3388] because of I'm not sure what mailing list. The first thing on the first page is a vase from Blenko, violet classic shape body with topaz (yellow) handles. The handles flair so much that it is wider than tall and the proportions bother me a bit. It is also, with a bead necklace, the only hot glass in the book. Kits for stained glass and kaleidoscopes are included among dozens of crafts represented by book or example, including the lovely tubular windchimes by Richard Davis that hang over my head. 1/31/95
TOOLS - I tend to buy tools carefully when needed and keep them forever. I have long liked saber saws and recently I purchased a reciprocating saw. It is one of the more expensive hand tools I have bought ($90) and I bought it for one specific job: cutting off a bois d'arc post under the porch where I would have to lie on my side and stretch to reach it. The only other tool that could do it would be a chain saw, but the thought of using a gasoline chain saw under the confined conditions appalled me and sales people warned me that electric would not handle the wood. (Bois d'arc wood is hard and doesn't rot and so was used for house piers in pier and beam construction in the south.) Also, the chain saw did not have any alternate uses while the recip saw has blades up to 12" long and shorter blades that will cut metal of various thicknesses. I have used it for carving pear wood for glass tools and trimming the garage roof repairs. This one (Black & Decker Quantum) is a powerful single speed. I will use it a bunch for cutting steel for glass rebuild. [Later: I have found even more uses than I expected, sawing fence timbers, cutting joists on the porch rebuild and trimming roof shingles.]
HUH! - I participated today in one of the really incredible coincidences of my life. I am looking for regular eight hour a day work after years of being self-employed (which means often working deep into the night after a week of little or nothing to earn money.) At a computer user group meeting I met a guy who was looking for a Classic BASIC programmer, which is what I am. Today I had an interview with at the company which was planned from the start to include meeting the current programmers. Some of the people were told I was coming in, but not told my name. I was told several times I would meet with Hugh. At the introduction, I was shown him, "This is Hugh." I said, "Hi, Mike Firth." He shook my hand and said "Hugh Erwin." I said, "I know a Hugh Erwin" and he said, with perfect timing, "I know a Mike Firth ... who does Hot Glass Bits." Hugh Erwin is the grand old man of local glassblowing, working now out of Divas on weekends, having taught several local people, and a reader of Hot Glass Bits for a couple of years. Same one! 2/3/95
GLOVES - Besides the $8-10 long welding gloves, I like to use what are called canvas-backed leather work gloves. Home Depot sells several brands at $6-9, but their own sells for $1.98. I find them slightly larger than some more costly brands (I have big hands) and as tough as others I have had. That the canvas is colored Home Depot orange, so they are self-advertising, may be a factor in the price. 2/3/95
GLASS LINE is a 20 page bi-monthly newsletter for lampworkers published since 1987 [P.O.Box 847, Huntington Beach CA 92648, $7 for a single issue, $25/year of 6 issues.] It is impressive with many black and white pictures, color accents, staples on the fold, and the equivalent of about 8 pages of advertising including classified ads. Articles in the December/January issue include a reprint of an 1880 essay on making a self flowing alcohol lamp, a bead making column on compatibility testing and a new tool that cuts glass rod with carbide disks mounted on pliers, a commentary by a traveling lampworker who visits a few lampworkers (but apparently doesn't have access to the mailing list to contact people), and the start of a four part article on making and using graphite marble molds. A letters column, publication review and video review are also included. The publication review reports on another periodical I haven't seen yet, Ruth T. Summers Glass Quarterly, 8 pages, no advertising, two colors, photographs and sketches, for serious collectors of glass [RT Summers, Inc., 13428 Maxella Ave. #388, Marina Del Rey CA 90292] 2/3/95
COVINGTON makes glass and lapidary cutting, grinding and equipment. I wrote [C.Engineering Corp., 715 W. Colton Ave. P.O.Box 35, Redlands CA 92373, 919-793-6636] to upgrade the several year old catalog I had after hearing good things about the value of the wet belt sander. They sell a basic unit for $273 without motor or water plumbing. The same unit mounted on a cushion base with a motor ($143+ separately) with mounted water valve and spray nozzle is $475.65. Working area is not defined but uses 24" x 3" belts so must be about 10"x3" A commercial unit using 41 1/2" belts costs $620. Lots of bits and pieces of hardware and kits for laps if you can build pans and get cheaper motors. 2/3/95
INTERNET - "My name is Jay Thomson, and I'm helping Jon Offutt at SIU glassblowing get set up with e-mail, etc. He'd like you to send any info you have (e-mail addresses, etc) for other glassblowing sites on the Internet. I'll be helping Jon to set up a World Wide Web homepage for Southern Glass Works, too. We'll let you know when that happens, of course. Thanks for the mention in your Hot Glass Bits #23. We'll be in touch. For my convenience, please respond to the following e-mail address: email@example.com Thanks again!"
I don't yet have full access to the Internet, although CIS keeps adding features. WWW is way of exploring and the "homepage" mentioned will give information about the program there. Most colleges provide free access to the Internet, at least for the time being. 2/12/95
ED SCHMID - The last copy of HB mailed to Ed came back with addresses expired, so I don't know where to get his good book. 2/12/95 Got a card from him after following up writing to postmasters; P.O. messed up an entry in their forwarding and that is fixed so address in book is now good. 3/28/95
96.0 TESTED COMPATIBLE - Along with a nice letter saying how they enjoyed HB, Uroboros Glass Studios [2139 N. Kerby Ave., Portland OR 97227, 503-284-4900] sent some samples of their "gnarly textures coated with dichro." They are offering glass that is tested compatible at 96.0 COE which they claim is much closer to the melted value of Spruce Pine #87 and East Bay "Regular" They offer 96.0 clear (#60-00) and use it as a standard for comparison with every tenth sheet in numbered production runs. 2/15/95
WEATHER - The last few weeks have been very frustrating. While I have never depended on five day weather forecasts for details, recently, when I have tried to fit in work to the weather the forecasts for the next day have frequently been wrong. One 'cast for 68F the next day was wrong by 24F, which made working on the garage roof a bitter impossibility. When I hoped to lay concrete, and did on Friday, the forecast for Friday night's low changed by 10 degrees, 35 to 25 during that day. The Saturday low was to be 28 Thursday night and Friday morning, dropped to 20 on Friday evening forecasts after the concrete was down, was back up to 28 by Saturday afternoon and actually never went below freezing. When the forecast has been for rain and I have skipped a task, it hasn't rained. 2/15/95 More: Wednesday they say yesterday would climb to a high of 65 about noon and drop to 60 by 5pm as a front came through. The high was actually 81 at about 5! 2/24/95
SNOWMEN - According to Japan Today, a postmaster on the same island as Hokaido has pushed snowmen as a town symbol in glass, wire, plastic, etc. The real gimmick is mailing snowmen made of snow! A half meter tall polystyrene shell shaped like a cute snowman is packed with snow and for about $37 is mailed anywhere in Japan, including to kids who have never seen snow and try to eat it.
AD595 - In the last issue I reported on
finding the AD595 from Analog Devices [One Technology Way, PO Box
9106, Norwood MA 02062-9106 Newark Electronics AD595AD 1-800-298-3133.]
I have now done testing and it seems as promising as I hoped.
That's the good news. The bad news is that the information sheets
that come from AD don't make clear a critical point.
Use of the chip for measuring temperatures is incredibly simple. It requires only a K-type thermocouple, a DC voltage source less than 15 volts, and a voltmeter. The output in volts is 1/100 of the temperature, so 500°C is 5 volts. The accuracy of the chip in degrees goes down as the temperature rises, always being above the actual. At 480C (896F), output is 4.896v, at 800C - 8.232v and at 1100C (2012F) - 1.1158v worst case being about 3% for this chip (another more expensive chip is 1%.) The voltage source can be almost anything greater than the desired output plus a volt or two. The chip is both temperature and voltage compensated. The power is low and should run off a 9 volt battery for a long time (to be tested.) The missing key in the directions is that an apparently optional ground connection to one side of the thermocouple, shown as optional in one drawing and described as optional for a trigger effect is apparently required for the chip to work.
Use of the chip as a controller is a tad more complicated. A set point voltage must be maintained, required some kind of regulated voltage and a rather low output drive of 5 ma must be allowed for. My first tests show that the "snapover" on the output is very slow, which some devices hate. I have an Isocom chip that should work well with this chip to run a triac. More later. 2/16/95
WANDERING - I went over to Ft. Worth
yesterday to see the art museums and drop in on Divas. While
Dallas has one large museum downtown and a second much smaller
limited one at SMU, Ft. Worth has three excellent ones within
walking distance of each other. On this trip the Kimball was
showing Italian Impressionists (a lot more people than the French
I.) and setting up a new exhibit; the Amon Carter M. of American
Art was mostly showing their superb collection of Charles Russell
while the Ft.Worth M.of Modern Art had Sol LeWitt and Christopher
Brown in much of their space. Brown had a work called "Instant"
which showed just three women with a black body panel of a
limousine cutting across the upper corner. Anyone who has seen
the Zapruder pictures spots the fragment of a frame; amazing
instant in history. LeWitt provides food for thought for those
who debate that glass work done by teams is somehow tainted. He
designs precise geometric paintings for existing walls, such as
three walls in the museum, and never paints them himself, they
are always done by "volunteers and assistants."
Wandered down to Divas Art Glass. They are planning on starting early with the required stuff, like ornaments, that overwhelmed their time late last year. As mentioned in the last issue, they are offering classes. They got a good article with pictures in Glass Artist magazine. They have collected quite a set of hardware from the pieces owned by the guys who blow regularly with Shirley Daniel and Terry Maxwell, including Jim Bowman and Hugh Erwin. The ladies are planning on going to Asheville for their first GAS Conference. Got a chance during a break to use a full length lightweight pipe. A lot better than the last time, considering how long it has been since the last time I blew here. 2/24/95
INTENSIVES - Horizons, the New England Craft Program, [108-P N. Main Street, , Sunderland MA 01375, 413-665-0300, FAX:, 412-665-4141] announces three intensives that included Hot Glass. May 13-15 has Glassblowing:Beginning and Intermediate with Page Hazelgrove, June 17-19 has Kiln-Formed Glass with Newy Fagan, and August 10-13 has Glass Beadmaking: Lampworking with Krista Logan. Longer is August 10-15 Glassblowing with Melanie Guernsey and a Glassblowing Add-on August 11-12 with Carmen Sasso. Sessions are at Snow Farm, 5 Clary Rd, Williamsburg MA 01096. 2/27/95
IGB #36 - The Independent Glassblower [%Gruenig Glassworks, HC 30 Box 25, Barnet VT 05821, 802-633-4022] newsletter #36 arrived about a week ago and got buried in my bills. Sorry. Good issue, I think. Good solid data on building a furnace (part IV) including the consequences of some of his lower cost choices. Several content filled letters and replies. Quite a few ads, including one for the batch mentioned above (Fairmount Minerals.) 3/4/95
HOT GLASS MANIPULATION - Several people have told me that buried away at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) is an unused glass studio in the 3-D Art department. It suddenly makes an appearance with Jim Bowman (who lives 4 blocks from me) doing demonstrations for 12 days - March 20-31 in a context of "try glass blowing." Activities are 10 am to 4 p.m. Monday thru Saturday. Most days demos begin and end the day with time for hands-on in the middle with a few slots for slides. Hands-on time is scheduled during demos. 3/4/95
ART ALLISON reports that he has completed putting a drop ceiling and track lights in the existing building next to his studio which he bought last year, completing its development as a display gallery. It also houses his cold working equipment. I mentioned considering using frax paper for padded grips for handling goblets and he says don't use paper as it disintegrates under stress after the first heating. As I reported at Drew Ebelhare's, Art says use the fingers of old gloves, or lacking old gloves (or even new gloves in my case), use fiberglass from any car repair place to wrap tongs, the glass should be much cooler than might cause any problems.
COMPUSERVE has divided the CRAFTS forum into two parts to reduce the scroll rate, Handcrafts and Fibercrafts. Glass, which was previously part of Glass/Ceramics/Clay, now has its own section, #5, under Handcrafts. Metal, which was buried with beads and jewelry now has its own section also and after sampling I can see where the scroll rate came from: 43 messages in two days vs. 11 in glass. 3/8/95
BOOK REPORT - In my continuing mining
of library branches for glass books, I have come up with two gems.
Carved & Decorated European Art Glass [Ray & Lee Grover,
Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc., Rutland VT & Tokyo 1970, 424
plates all in full color, 748.2994 G883C Preston Royal Branch
Dallas Public Lib., ESPN 8048-0707-8, LC# 71-94025] has the best
collection of good color photos of glass. The transparency and
depth of color of the glass objects show in the photos and many
have a strong 3D form. The book is mostly arranged by artists
within each of eight countries although glass style is used for
England where several companies made similar products and Emile
Galle is subdivided into 10 categories.
Nineteenth Century Glass [Albert Christian Revi, Galahad Books, NY, 1967, 748.2904 R454N 1967, ISBN 0-88365-127-0, LC# 73-88483] is a totally deceptive title of an astonishing collection of techniques for making glass with explanations for each one. Almost 50 different items are discussed, from Pearl Satinglass to Paperweight Patents. Patents are reprinted. The pages on Burmese gives an exact formula and after describing how to get the gold into the glass makes it clear that a trivial amount of gold and uranium oxide are used. On the other hand, a fair number of the styles or choices are unlikely to be of interest to modern glass workers (like how to apply painted floral scenes and complicated cold working and enameling after blowing.) If you care, a bibliography of glass books is a recipe that can be ordered at rates below.
SESSION - After far too long, I got in a ragged session on Saturday (11) It was ragged because while some things were working, others weren't and one bowl ended up in the annealer. There was a wind and it blew out the furnace a couple of times (and I wasn't watching closely) which delayed starting. The wind also chilled the hanging glass a bit much, so I lost pieces getting too cold and cracking going back for reheat. It was generally good practice because I was getting close on the things I was trying. Earlier on Saturday I went to a blacksmith's flea market and meeting (North Texas Blacksmiths Association) because I am interested in working some iron in and around my glass. Interesting mix of good old boys and motorcycle dudes with a classic blacksmith or two, a dentist looking guy and a Hispanic who was pounding some interesting handles for small shovels using techniques that would mix well with glass. They use a fiberfrax box with a pair of bent burner heads to rapidly cook awkward pieces (like shovel spoon); almost make a nice glory hole. I found a middle-weight anvil almost by chance and think I own it once I pick it up in Richardson. [3/16/95 Got it today.]
DIDEROT and his Encyclopedia are
mentioned in almost every glass book, usually in connection with
a picture of a glass blowing operation. (For any who have missed
it, he put out his encycl. back at the end of the 18th century,
covering arts and manufacturing, 35 volumes.) I had several
things to track down, so I went to the downtown library after
dropping my wife off. The Dallas Library has a full sized leather
bound edition in poor shape in rare books and a smaller sized
reprint (1966) in special access.
I was amazed at the number of detailed drawings (etchings) related to glass that appear at the end of Volume 10. In addition to the operations of a factory, frequently shown in glass books, there are several complete floor plans, showing ducting for air; plans for building the furnace, including showing the shapes for molding the bricks in wedges, etc.; techniques for making the pots and placing them and successive pictures of gaffers at the bench and using other techniques for making goblets, bottles, tubing, and window glass roundels.
A point of interest to me is that almost all the blowers are shown with some kind of EYE PROTECTION and the plans for the protection are shown in one plate. One kind of protection involves a leather cap with a curved shield that wraps around the left side of the face, stopping before the left eye is blocked. In another set of pictures, for a worker making roundels, the head gear includes an L shaped guard that starts over the left ear and extends forward a foot or so in front of the face then crosses just above eye level. The worker is shown with his head tilted at various angles to look past the edge of the shield. (One plate shows the construction of these guards.) When reheating to open a large roundel at a big glory hole, a wall with a slot protects the worker. And when holding the pontil with a large roundel on it, a slotted leather hand guard protects the hand from the heat, dangling from the left wrist when not needed. I do not read French easily and accurately so I don't know if the notes relate whether the eye shield is opaque (leather) or is dark glass. 3/13/95
READING III - A book, The Glass
Gaffers of New Jersey [and their creations from 1789 to the
present, Adeline Pepper, Charles Scribner's Sons, NY, 1971 SBN
684-10459-8 748 P424G LC#70-123831], is a history of the plants
and people who did glassblowing in NJ from colonial days, being
sometimes tedious recitals of names and other times remarkable
descriptions of events and techniques drawn from research. Lots
of pictures, including of people working. One page has two
pitchers I liked so much I even blew 99c for a color copy. There
is a detailed description of what is involved in blowing window
glass from cylinders with information about the limits the union
put on the workers and the pay (or no pay) for flawed work.
The description runs for over two pages, so I will only quote this part:
"The iron blowpipe hefts about 30 pounds and the glass
gather added about another 50 to 70 pounds. ... The gatherer ...
kept adding more metal in about three or four trips to the
furnace until he had about 60 pounds of white-hot glass which has
in the meantime expanded to rude shape.
The blower now began blowing this parison into an iron block of about 18 inches diameter, until the parison seemed to shape to a similar diameter. The 'blow block' had in the meantime been placed a-tilt in a wooden tub or barrel. Sawdust was usually sprinkled in the block to keep the glass from adhering to the iron and the block was set in water as a coolant. By the end of this process the water was usually boiling.
Now with the bloc as a guide, the blower blew the glass balloon until it was several feet long. Then he took this fragile roller to the swing-hole, a drop-off of at least 9 feet below the platform. While swinging the blowpipe like a pendulum, the crouched blower stretched the glass cocoon to the wanted length, about six feet sometimes more....
[The ends were removed and] a workman threw a handful of sawdust the length of the cylinder ... which fell to the bottom. A hot iron was run back and forth across the bottom, then a wet iron was applied and the cylinder split neatly down its entire length. It was then carried to the flattening ovens.
Because the work was so strenuous, union rules in the early 1900's provided that blowers were not allowed to make over eight cylinders an hour." [MF emphasis]
Keying to the Diderot comments above, an etching and the description shows a protection mask for the cylinder blower. Made of wood with eye slits filled in with dark glass, it dangled from a rope around the neck when not in use and was held by a mouth piece to position it before the face.
While most of the book seems precise and self consistent, there are slight errors in the glass handling area that would bother me more if I were using this in a thesis or something. The cylinder glassblowing quoted selectively above has some inconsistencies and a "crutch" mentioned several times in the book and referred to a figure (199) as "a type of wooden block used for preliminary shape of the parison" is in fact clearly a ball bearing yoke, not a block at all. 3/18/95
CROWN GLASS is the predecessor to cylinder glass for window making and in a book, New England Glass and Glassmaking [Kenneth M. Wilson, Thomas Y.Crowell, NY 1972 ISBN 0-690-58075-4] specific figures are given "The pots made 80 or 90 pieces each 48-50 inches in diameter. They took 25 pounds of metal on the pipe which weighed about 18-20 pounds." also "Thirty-two pounds were taken on the pipe to make a sheet 54" in diameter." Either of these calculates out to about 5/32" for double strength glass (6 to the inch, single strength is 11 to the inch per the New Jersey book, p.105.) Anybody care to throw some glass? At one point in one of these books reference is made to a nearby pipe repair and building shop because the pipes last about a week in production! 3/21/95
BRAD ABRAMS - I wandered down to the southeast corner of Dallas to meet Brad and visit his studio as he finished a session of his evening beginners class. Brad considers himself a multimedia artists working in welded industrial shapes, ceramics, blown glass and especially cast glass. His glass studio is next to his welding setup and is built of steel studs covered with screening on a concrete slab. He is currently melting 65# in an invested pot in a rectangular welded steel and firebrick furnace and uses a standard barrel glory hole. He expects to fit a bigger pot in the furnace and make a bigger glory hole in the next few months. While I visited he made a bell to match with several others. He seems to favor frit color spot effects. As mentioned previously, he is teaching classes and hopes to cover some basic costs with rented blow time. Brad uses the marver a lot in his blown work and has a very large one - about 2 by 6 feet. Brad uses a propane [MAPP according to the Divas] torch to smooth his punty marks as the piece sits upside down on the fiber padded knock off table just after working. 3/22/95
DIVAS VISIT - Drove in a large loop around the outside of Ft. Worth, doing errands expecting to go to the UTA Open House but running out of time because of a retired Seeing Eye dog on prednisone (stimulates urine output) that we are taking care of. I stopped at Divas as Terry and Shirley were making a fish. They are doing the split tail style to allow a punty and doing some neat and funky mouths (the alternative being building the fish on the pipe and grinding the mouth after annealing.) They are going to be selling some lightweight pipes and have a stock of some castable bought in a sellout and being sold for half price. 3/24/95
MICHIGAN GLASS MONTH for the 15th year features and lists events, 27 this year during April, related to glass by Michigan artists. Month-long gallery exhibits are in Detroit (City Graphics), Birmingham (Sandra Collins, Donna Jacobs, Bell), Ferndale (Touch of Light), Huntington Woods (Woods), Northville (Atrium), Pontiac (Oakland County Galleria, Habatat, Pontiac Glass Company), Royal Oak (Ariana, Carol/James), West Bloomfield (Private Collection Gallery), Dearborn (City, U of M Mardigian Libr.), Lansing (Delphi), and Muskegon (Muskegon Museum of Art.) Other one day workshops and events are planned and schedules should be available at galleries mentioned. 3/26/95
LAMPWORKING - I have received a mail flier of a video tape on borosilicate glass lampworking showing LeRoy Goertz working beads and small hummingbirds and dolphins. The price is given as $39.95 plus $4 s/h. The video maker is Derrel Mast a Portland OR educational video maker for the public schools. 90 minute video. The Refiner's Fire [PO Box 66612, Portland OR 97290, 503-775-5242, 1-800-790-6869.] Haven't seen the video. 3/28/95
UT ARLINGTON - Grabbed a quick trip to Arlington to look in on Jim Bowman's open house. It looks like the fall class is a sure thing. Several people dropped by during my brief visit on the blustery day. The equipment is very solid looking but old. It is Alpine equipment installed 20 years ago and unused since shortly after then. A rectangular tank holding 300 pounds, soft firebrick glory hole that takes a while to heat up but holds its heat well and substantial front opening annealer. The current bench is a solid one with adjustable slope to the arms (pivot on bolt at front, vertical bolt at back for adjustment.) Currently in a tiny space barely large enough for the equipment and 2 workers, David Keene, Asst. Chairman of the Art Dept., explained that it would be moved over the summer to the much larger adjacent space arranged for two benches with enough space around them. 3/29/95
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 - While I continue to offer
Recipes - sets of directions for some specific glassblowing task,
most often construction right now - $3 for the first one, $2 for
each additional ordered at the same time, to cover copy,
processing and mailing costs, I would like to change the
presentation and make an offer for this issue.
The Index of Recipes (much longer than usually published in past issues) is available for a Stamped Self Addressed #10 Envelope or $1 cash or check. And, for this issue only, if you are will to review and return some notes and corrections, I will include any ONE or TWO of the Glossaries and Catalog listed below with my own SASE to get it or a copy back to me. Check what you want.
__ Index of Recipes. __ Glossary of Glassblowing Terms __ Glossary of Tools & Equipment for Glass Blowing __ Catalog of Blown Glass Objects __ Glossary of Hot Glass Bits & Other Details
Blow good Glass
Total Sets = 150
71 -- Artists &
69 -- Glass-DB = 140
150 -- copies
-- total sent Started 11/22/94, ending 1/26/95
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