Hot Glass Bits #32

Contact Mike Firth

June 10 - August 11, 1996

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This issue contains the following date/deadlines.

SABLE V - "A Gathering of Glass" will run Sept 21- Nov 11th.

ITS JUST GLASS - Seminar/Demos, Nov. 9-10

[capitalized KEYWORD starts a 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. It is normally closed near the end of the odd numbered months and mailed soon after.

WHOAMI? - Mike Firth is a 53 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 employee of the best hardware store around.

Vision Thing: Everyone makes mistakes and has successes. Professionals learn from their mistakes, amateurs often have to live with them. By discussing my explorations and observations, I can reduce the number of mistakes and increase the number of successes.

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.

------------------------ Hot Glass Magazines and Newsletters -------------------


A list is available in earlier issues.

-------------------Hot Glass Web Pages & Internet Addresses ------------------ is a newsgroup for all kinds of glass. Fire Island Home Page very nice


IF I COULD I would take Goblet Making at the Furnace 11/9-10 (with Karen LaMonte and Deborah Czeresko, traditional Italian technique). See URBANGLASS below.

HORIZONS SUMMER AND FALL - [The New England Craft Program, [108-P N.Main St., Sunderland MA 01375 413-665-0300, FAX:4141] Fall Foliage Intensive, Oct.12-14, Glassblowing: Focusing in - Jim Holmes ($310); Glass beads: Lampworking - Kristina Logan ($245) For the long August glass, cost of room and board is $235, others range down to $110 for most the intensives. Horizons offers many other topics and over-seas classes. 1/21/96 Repeat

ELECTRICAL SAFETY - If you (as I do) have annealers and blowers that are plugged in rather than permanently wired, each time you plug or unplug them, look at the condition of the prongs. The surface should be a clean brass rather than a dark dirty look. If the latter, use either fine sand paper, an emery board or Brasso (or all three) to clean them. The dark is the oxide, which is more resistant to current and thus creates heat. If you leave your plugs in place, periodically (at least weekly) take a moment to feel the back of the plug. If it is hot, turn off the appliance, wait for the plug to cool (to reduce the chances of damage to the plug) and remove it. If the rubber or metal is already heat damaged, you should assume the inside of the outlet is also damaged. You may try cleaning both of them, the outlet with emery board and with the power off! However, consider replacing both pieces. Most plugs cost $2-$5 and common outlets are in the same range and the cost is low considering the damage that can be done by a fire. Even if your equipment is permanently wired, you should check the wires, especially near connections, to see if they are hot. Hot wiring is a sign that the wire is too small for the current being carried. Two things are happening: the heat is damaging the wire and may be enough to cause a fire and the power being delivered at the end of the wire is reduced. 6/24/96

SESSION - After spending part of the day reducing aluminum cans to material clean enough to melt into some optics, I set up for a glassblowing session, still using the small pot in the bottom of the glory hole, but getting closer to permanent arrangements with a new blower arrangement as the new burner will go into the furnace soon. I started blowing about 10:20, after the weather on TV and finished just after midnight. Very dirty glass and skills not quite so weak as last time. I put a small cup shape in the annealer and lost a goblet shape off the pipe when I let it chill too far while working on the foot. I lost a cup shape while reheating before trying to repunty when the first was too cold. I was able to get the crack off on a quick punty and fool around with it for a while before dumping it again on the floor of the glory hole. 6/24/96 12:19 AM

NEXT SESSION - I am seriously thinking of doing blowing very late at night (or early in the morning.) I get home from work about 6:45 MWTF and my wife gets home about 7:50 MTTF. If I got home and fired up the furnace with a load of cullet, or turned it up from a park setting and turned on the annealer, I could then come in, prepare or share dinner, feed the dogs, and go to bed. If I then woke up at 4 (instead of 6), I could then blow for 2 hours before shutting down for the day to cleanup and go to work. This summer that would reduce the heat load greatly and reduce or eliminate the operation of the equipment unattended (as would have to be if it was hot for be to blow in early evening, which is so wasteful of fuel during the long day as to be prohibitive.) As you can see from the signature to this paragraph, I have been to sleep tonight. The thought of doing late night blowing occurred to me yesterday as I repeatedly shoved the hot glory hole use later in the day. 6/25/96 12:27 AM

VON KOFFLER/MEDORE - Date: 96-06-29 11:33:04 EDT; From: (Von Koffler/Medore) Hey Mike, We are moving into our new shop right now and thought I would send you a notice. It has turned out beautifully. Our architect (who also designed the Crescent buildings in Dallas and the Mansion on Turtle

creek - just to obnoxiously drop names) did a magnificent job. The building is 3000 sq. ft including the cold shop, hot shop, and gallery. The gallery has seven panels of contemporary stained glass (Jay's designs, of course) that offsets the Spanish mission style architecture with a brightly colored stained glass and back lit beaming Spanish parapet that perches from atop the gallery entrance. The seating area for the public is outdoors yet weather protected so that they will be comfortably cool and surrounded by ornately carved Mexican columns.

Jay, Girt, and I plus several new assistants are working on the new equipment right now. We plan to be hot by mid-July. The shop is designed for maximum airflow plus the top of the line Grainger exhaust fan which should suck up all the heat and us if we are not careful. Just thought I would keep you updated. Our opening is set for Halloween and will be the biggest and oddest ever. I have hired someone to make it the dreamiest, otherworldliest (nice word, eh?) ever. We are three miles from the square directly on FM3237 (Kyle Rd.). EASY to find now. Our sign reads: Medore von Koffler Studios and Gallery. Melissa Medore 7/1/96

SESSION - Got everything fired up last night and worked on skills, besides melting down some aluminum cans for casting optics. The results were not rewarding as I had problems with punties and with letting pieces get too cold while setting up for the punty, so I shattered pieces going back into the glory hole and had pieces that cracked off on the ground and were cracked in the annealer. But the glass working got better and pieces were noticeably easier to work and better shaped as the hours passed. 7/21/96

HB ON THE NET - Starting this issue, an HTML copy of HB will be posted to my Web Page a month after it goes in the mail. I am delivering HB by mail, by FAX, by e-mail text file, by e-mail EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file.

CARLYN GALERIE - I visited this retail gallery to gather material for Common Ground: Glass, for HB, and to see the place. They are showing "A Galerie of Glass" Oct.24-Nov.10, but are featuring glass all year round. Some of the most interesting things in the shop were very small. Roger Paramore makes marbles that are half clear, half a swirl of subdued opaque color from the outside, while presenting a glorious seashell spiral of color and dichroic inside. Patty Walton's "beads" are 1" landscapes with sky, mountains and scenery, $125. Many beads are slices with color inside and out with clear between and Carlyn uses them to support marbles and other curved shapes and it seems very appropriate. What really caught my ear was pottery sculpture with burbling water which played against the tones of the fired pottery. I am growing increasingly interested in working glass shapes to flow water through. [Cindy Ray, Carlyn Galerie, 6137 Luther Lane, Dallas TX 75225, 214-368-2828]

SABLE V - "A Gathering of Glass" will run Sept. 21- Nov. 11th. including 70 American and international artists, adding Japan this year to Australia and Canada. The opening weekend will include receptions and lectures or demos by Vernon Brecha, (history of glass); Lucartha Kohler from Philadelphia with a demo on cast glass; Nancy Langston of Boston with a demo on Pate de Ver; and Bondu Scott Dunham with a lampworking demo, a lecture and a beginning lampworking sculpture workshop on Sunday. [Karen Boden, Sable V Fine Art Gallery, The Courtyard Overlooking Cypress Creek, P.O.Box 1792, Wimberley TX 78676, 1-512-847-8975]

Subject: Re: Help wanted to solve question on ancient glass From: mikefirth Date: 26 Jul 1996 22:18:29 -0400 In article <4tb7o0$>, (Colin Brain) writes: >In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries glass makers used pot furnaces to melt glass for use in blowing glass vessels. > They used the space over the pots as a glory hole. From documents of the time it appears likely that ran these furnaces at roughly constant temperature, so that the glass was melted, refined and used at the same temperature. A number of glass-makers I have spoken to say this is not possible. To help in my research I am seeking advice on the following questions:

>a. is it possible to routinely blow glasses from glass at the same temperature as that at which it had been melted and refined?

No, but the point is unnecessary. I learned to blow at a site with the top of the furnace as the glory hole and have spent the last two years melting cullet for blowing in the bottom of the glory hole. Glass is cooked from ingredients at about 250-300 degrees higher than it is usually blown (if blown when heated at 2150, it is usually cooked at about 2400) while it is fined (bubbles worked out) at about 100-150 degrees below the blowing point. This is done by changing the amount of fuel fed in. This should be elementary for early glass workers. If fined glass is reheated to near the cooking point (as I have done accidentally) lots of bubbles appear and the glass gets more viscous (thick)

The real problem of blowing glass using the space over the pot as a glory hole is that the ideal temperature for a glory hole for most workers is much higher than the ideal temperature for gathering glass. Usually the compromise results is too cool a glory hole and too liquid a glass. Using Spruce Pine Batch, most artists seem to maintain their glass at about 2100-2150F for larger gathers and maintain their glory holes at 2300-2350.

On the other hand, the etchings I have seen of the pot furnaces used in France about 1798 and the drawings of factories in New Jersey in 1820-1840 show setups with pots about 4-5 feet tall and glory holes to the side of the pots in the same heat area. But this does not mean the glory holes are the same temperature as the pots. A simple set of baffles and flues could control the heat flow from the burning hearth (remember these furnaces used wood and coal, not oil or gas) so that during glass melting the pot area is hotter and during working the glass, the glory area is hotter.

>b. if so what kinds of glass are best? n/a

>c. would there be any special techniques required?

If the reheat is done over the glass, it is important to take more time to cool the first bubble/gather so it does not collapse in the overheated glass and the second, etc., gathers are as large as possible.

>d. would there be any noticeable imperfections in the glasses made this way? Probably not, unless the glass happened to get overheated. The variations and imperfections would be much larger due to changes in the sand and other materials used to batch the glass.

GAS CONFERENCE - Subject: Re: GAS conference? From: (Allan Port) Date: 27 Jul 1996 05:11:47 GMT In article <4sjhsp$>, says...

>Hi, >Did anyone have the opportunity to attend the GAS conference, that I believe took place in Boston? I don't remember seeing any posts of attendees. How was it? Did you learn anything new or interesting that you wouldn't mind sharing with the rest of us? >Thanks, Stephanie (anxiously waiting on pins and needles)

I read the posts from all those who did not attend and thought I'd better put in my two cents. Yes, I attended the Glass Arts Society Conference in Boston, June 6-9. I'm a glass collector... I've never worked with the hot stuff although that day may come. I was encouraged to attend by one of my glass worker friends and had a ball. The actual conference was lasted four days and included lectures, demos (by the dozen) and tours. It was preceded and followed by additional classes and workshops, so you could easily stretch it out to two weeks.

What did I see... a lot of lampworking and hot glass demos up close. There were also technical seminars in a class room setting. I took a class on photographing glass. I managed to shoot 8 rolls of film during the conference. I learned a lot about glass that the typical collector does not get to see. And I got to see some of the big names in glass up close and in person. The conference included a goblet grab and an auction as well as artists doing a little selling on the side, so I managed to add a few samples to my collection. And most important, I made a lot of new friends in the glass world.

A large part of my collection is concentrated in paperweights, and I did not expect to see many paperweight artists in attendance. But I was wrong, almost every well-known paperweight artist was there. I'm avoiding mentioning names for fear of leaving someone out. But if you want more details, ask and I'll go get my program and notes. =========================================================

From: Allan Port Reply to: (Allan Port) ALWAYS looking for Glass Paperweights to buy or trade =========================================================

TIL PLUMBING AIR - Recently, I have been revising the connections on my glory hole and making them for my furnace. In the past, I have connected my blower directly to the burner head and have used PVC pipe. The latter was so rigid that things tended to come apart while I was adjusting the position of the burner. This time around, I am using 3" flexible metal duct, the kind that is used for venting gas water heaters. It is very light and inexpensive and relatively smooth inside. Since most of my air piping connections are 2" PVC, it is nice that a 2" coupling fits with a little slack inside the 3" duct, so that when a large hose clamp is applied, the duct pulls down onto the connection without much distortion. I can then treat it as part of the plumbing, using 2" PVC at the blower and at the burner connection and at any valves and connection boxes I build. 7/28/96

GLASS GAZETTE [Glass Art Association of Canada, P.O.Box 653, Station P, Toronto, Ontario, M55 2V4, CANADA, $40 Cdn/yr Membership] summer 96 issue has arrived. Very nice black and white photography. If I could produce a page of this quality at reasonable cost, I would include it in HB. The cover is a solid sculpture on a glass base by Shirley Elford, photo by Roy Timm. The contents of the issue cover a wider range than the last I reported on, including kiln design for glass heating, notes on Natural Glass by Jim Moore, discussions of burner tips and flat glass artist association. Several artist demos and group studios and a couple of artist interviews are included. 7/28/96

URBANGLASS [647 Fulton St., Brooklyn NY 11217-1112, 1-718-625-3685 FAX: 718-625- 3889] announces its Fall '96 and Spring '97 Classes and Workshops. Since most of the classes run for several weeks, one day a week, they will be of most interest to those within commuting distance. The Workshops are on weekends and more possible for people well away from NYC. For people within a somewhat longer distance of NYC, membership at $50 might be a good alternative to a subscription to GLASS magazine ($28), since the membership includes a subscription plus catalogs plus free admission to glassblowing demos. Fall weekend workshops include Sand Casting 10/26-27; Beginning Glassblowing, 9/14- 15, 10/26-27, 12/7-8; Beadmaking 9/14-15, 10/26-27, 12/7-8; Goblet Making at the Lamp 10/19-20; Goblet Making at the Furnace 11/9-10 (with Karen LaMonte and Deborah Czeresko, traditional Italian technique). All workshops run 10-3 each day. Workshop cost is $300.

Twenty two different topics are offered for Fall and Spring Classes, each class costing at total of $620 with the exception of Neon. Six topics are glassblowing at the furnace, including Beginning, Exploring the Vessel, Part II with more techniques, Sculpture, Vessel Techniques, and Color. Classes are three hours evenings and some Sunday afternoons. Other major areas are Neon, Casting, Beadmaking/Lampworking, Stained Glass, Mosaics. 7/28/96

PHOTOS IN HB - It has just occurred to me that I could put color scans of pictures into my home page on the net and put B&W versions of the same things in HB. While I get the impression that few hot glass artists can get directly on the net, it seems likely that almost everybody knows somebody who can if the topic is interesting. I will look into it. 8/4/96

ITS JUST GLASS - (As written for Common Ground: Glass) Unconnected with any of the gallery events below is a seminar, "It's Just Glass", sponsored by ArtSpace in Ft. Worth, to be held Nov. 9-10. The Saturday will be mainly lectures and slide shows at the Victory Arts Building. The program will include neon, stained glass, sand blasting, fusing, lampwork and furnace glass work as well as discussions from gallery owners on their viewpoint. Sunday will take place at Divas Glass Art south of Ft. Worth and will include furnace and lamp work by various artists and working glass in other ways. ArtSpace Texas is three years old with a mission of securing historic properties and adapting them to artists' living and working spaces. Contact Terry Maxwell, Divas Glass Art, 1100 E. Rendon-Crowley Rd. Building #7, Burleson TX 76028, 1-817-293-0190. The person to contact about the seminar in November is George Clark. His phone number is 817-924-7058 or You can also use Divas as a contact via telephone or or DivasII@aol. The program is really shaping up and I expect a fairly large number of people will attend, at least, I hope so. We shall see."

GLASS FOCUS - [Beverly Copeland, Glass Focus, the Contemporary Art Glass Periodical, Glass in Black & White, 9323 Olcott, Morton Grove IL 60053, 708-967- 8433, FAX: 312-738-0832] Also, I have just received a copy of Glass Focus and discovered the following "Judy Youens Gallery is now open by appointment only. The gallery will not have exhibitions for the next year but will continue to represent contemporary glass artists."

CLOSING DOWN - I sometimes have things almost ready and wait one more day because of feeling that something is going to show up. Yesterday in the mail my cousin in New England sent me a nice newspaper clipping of the gallery shows on during the G.A.S.Conference. I had hoped to set up the furnace on Sunday and blow my first glass out of it before mailing this, but I was too tired. Hope things are going well with you. 8/13/96

Blow Good Glass

Hot Glass in Texas

AUSTIN - LYONS MATRIX GALLERY - [1712 Lavaca, Austin, TX 78701] Often includes glass as one of two or more exhibitions. East Coast Glass Invitational Aug.3 - Sept.14. 2/6/96

THE EUROPEAN INFLUENCE - [10000 Research Blvd., Suite 143, Austin TX 78759, 512- 345-6688, 800-425-6688] announces the dates of the 4th annual paperweight show as Sept.6-8, 1996 5/5/96

North Texas Glass

SUMMARY - Most of the studios are closed down for the summer, due to the heat, although I got late word from some people who were planning on visiting that Art Allison was going to be open.

OLLA PODRITA - has finally and permanently shut down. The closing has dragged out over several years of preliminary "closing in six months" notices. Many of the artisans are moving to the West End. For glass workers, other than the loss of a neat environment, the important news is that Kittrell-Riffkind will continue in it new/second location that has been open for over a year at Beltline and the Tollroad in the old Sakowitz Village shopping area. The gallery is about a block south of Beltline. [5100 Beltline Suite, Suite 820, Dallas TX 75240, 214-239-7957] 8/13/96

1 In this space is pasted an ad containing the following text.

2 Joppa Glassworks, Inc., We make and sell annealing kiln elements and Giberson Ceramic

3 Burner Heads for your gloryholes and furnaces. For ideas on how to improve your studio equipment

4 call or write Dudley Giberson, Warner NH 03278, 603-456-3569 fax:456-2138

5 ------------

6 Divas Glass Art, Terry Maxwell, Shirley Daniel, Classes, Pipes, and Blocks

7 1100 East Rendon-Crowley Road, Building #7, Burleson TX 76028, (817) 293-0190

8 Fax:(817) 293-9565



1 In this space is pasted an ad containing the following

2 Gabbert Cullet Company, Dealer in Glass Cullet,

3 Frank G. Lane, Owner, 700 Cherry Avenue,

4 Williamstown WV 26187 304-375-6435 Office

5 ---- 304-375-7790 Home; FAX:304-375-4832


For your convenience, the form below is printed opposite the mailing label on the back page, so you can cut it out to renew, etc. and leave the information intact.

I send Hot Glass Bits to: Those who are mentioned in an issue, Hot Glass Texans, others I feel like sending a copy to, and those who have paid for it. The only ones guaranteed to get the next issue are the last group.

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Contact Mike Firth