Hot Glass Bits #37

Contact Mike Firth

July 8 to October 31, 1997

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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 54 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 and is now on his second round, more traditional, of equipment. When not blowing, he is a married employee of the best hardware store around. Vision Thing: Working glass from a furnace can cost a small fortune, it would be useful to have a package of equipment that is straight forward to build and not very expensive.

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.

IF I COULD, I SURELY WOULD: Have the time when I have the money, have the money when I have the time.

SHOULD HOT BITS CONTINUE? - I posted this box, empty, as I began work on the issue, but the answer comes as I finish off the issue: Not in this form. Several factors have added up to this conclusion, perhaps the strongest one being the guilt over not getting the issue done on a timely basis - like missing most of the run of the show at Texas Tech. But the daily decisions about working on Hot Glass Bits or working on the glass furnace contribute, along with the many other things that need to be done around here. It also seems that without the time to travel, what I can input to the glass scene seems less fresh than I want it to be. The portion of the original goal to increase glassblowing in Texas seems to have happened, however much I contributed.

I will return money which has been paid ahead or is sitting here. The kind of information that has gone into Hot Bits will probably end up on my home page and in the news group. Some of the energy may go into Texas related events and converting the recipes/chapters into some usable information form. And, of course, blowing my own glass. 10/16/97

RICHARDS AWARD FOR RESEARCH IN AMERICAN GLASS to be presented annually. A total of $10,000 has been made available for 1998 for assistance in meeting research project costs, including travel, living expenses, and photography and publication expenses for collectors, scholars, students, and institutions for original research related to the manufacture, distribution, sale, or use of glass in the American market during the 17th-19th centuries. Deadline 1 Feb. 98. Applications are available from the Corning Museum of Glass [One Museum Way, Corning NY 14830-2253] or the Richards Foundation, P.O.Box 39, Portsmouth RI 02871 7/6/97

THE INDEPENDENT GLASSBLOWER TAKES A BREAK. IGB is moving and suspending publication for 6 months from June 20th. The new address effective that date is David Gruenig, RFD #2 Box 238-B, Lyndonville VT 05851. No electricity, etc., available, although back issues are. Write with notes & hints. 7/6/97

1998 GAS Conference will be in Seto, Japan, May 38-31. Plans still being worked on will try to permit as many people as possible to go at a cost close to commercial travel at a stateside site. Glass Art Society, 1305 4th Avenue, Suite 711, Seattle WA 98101-3401. 7/6/97

HELLEBORE GLASS STUDIOc [Text from web page] George Springer Glass Artist Since 1974. Watch Glass Blowers At Work Making Vases, Goblets, Bowls, Fish and Venetian Style Cane Work, Latticino and Reticello. GALLERY OPEN 10AM-5PM DAILY 308 FIRST ST. LANGLEY,(WHIDBEY ISLAND) WA.98260 (360)221-2067 HELLEBORE GLASS STUDIO LIVE WEB CAM! This picture is updated Twice every minute, during our Gallery Walk Saturday July 19,1997 - 6:00 to 9:00 PM, P.T. [Originally. The pictures are in place 10/16/97.] If you don't see a picture for more than 10 seconds press your "Reload" button.

WEB SITES - I currently sell all my glass work through local galleries for 50% of the retail value and am accessing whether a web page on the IGGA site is worth it. Could anyone tell me if web sites are profitable at selling art work? What are the pros and cons? Any background on web sites would be appreciated. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. New at the Web game, Allen The panel at the Glass Art Society Conference, on which I participated, seemed to come to the conclusion that Web sites are useful for contacts and exposure, but that people who buy a first piece of glass want a hands-on exposure before laying down money. A couple of audience members made it clear that sales were good via the net of new items to repeat customers who already liked the product. No one was selling via the net - all took credit card information via phone or had checks mailed to them before the sale.

It was concluded also that spending any significant money on a Web site (i.e. paying someone $1,000-5,000 to design and develop it) is a waste. Get started by using one of the several programs (AOL and CSi have them) that walk you through the steps, perhaps paying a few bucks ($100) for ten or a dozen scanned images of your work and learn the minimal stuff of HTML which everyone thinks is easy. You do not need a fancy site name. (i.e. MYGLASS.COM) as most of the contacts with your site will be via links to other sites and searches, thus is ok.

REGIONAL WEB ADS - At the borders of most states, including Texas, there are Tourist Centers that provide state maps and brochures about places to visit in the state. On my last trip, I picked up Discover The Texas Hill Country, an ad booklet, mostly because of an ad on the back for Junction where I first learned glassblowing. The Texas Tech Center is mentioned, without mentioning glass.

But the entry for Hays county mentions the glass activities of Wimberley and facing it is a half page full color ad divided between Sable V Gallery (512-847-8975) and Wimberley Glass Works (512-847-9348) If you have a studio that accommodates visitors and are willing to do demos and especially if you have a sales space at the same site, then you might consider leveraging your advertising budget by working with a related gallery and getting into places that address willing visitors. 7/24/97

THIS WEEK - I am feeling some relief, having given up my year old job of writing a column quarterly for Common Ground: Glass the nicely composed news mag of the International Guild of Glass Artists (IGGA) [Albert Lewis, Executive Director, International Guild of Glass Artists, Inc., Tonetta Lake Road, Brewster NY 10509] I don't function well making cold calls, intruding in people's lives and that was what I felt I had to do as limited time and funds prevent my traveling to see new studios. The time was less than the stress. They ran my last column, covering my view of the G.A.S. Conference, with a bunch of pictures in B&W, many of which are on my web page (see above.)

TW-HUMMERS - For me, the fall starts about now when the hummingbirds return to my feeders. For the last several years, one has shown up on the 24th or 25th of July and it happened again this year. Today, I saw my first pair of battling hummers and one at every feeder around the house. I enjoy watching them, both the tiny miracles hovering at the feeder and the tiny rockets soaring over the roof to outwit the territorial guards of each feeder.

TW-WHIRLY-JIG - Something over a dozen years ago, I built a horizontal windmill about a foot across and drilled a hole in the roof (of a rental house) and ceiling to run a 1/16th inch rod from the windmill into the house so when the wind blew, the rod would turn. On the bottom, I attached four 6" rods in a flat plus sign. I bought some sheer fabric in various colors, cut it in long narrow panels and sewed satin seam tape on one end to mount it on the rods. When the wind blew, the panels would spiral around each other, varying shape with changes in wind speed.

About a month ago, I built another windmill, this one of brass, drilled another set of holes, and mounted it on the roof. It has been up for a couple of weeks and has barely turned while the weather has been hot and still. Today we got some rain for the first time in a month and I dug through my sewing box and found the sheers to mount, which I did. Spinning nicely. Let's go forward. 8/6/97

GLASS FOCUS [Beverly Copeland, Glass Focus, the Contemporary Art Glass Periodical, Glass in Black & White, 9323 Olcott, Morton Grove IL 60053-1752, 847-967-8433 FAX: 847-738-0832] has been running a series of interviews with artists and, in the latest issue, collector Marilyn Glick a patron and supporter of glass activities in Indianapolis. Glass Focus regularly lists upcoming and current gallery shows, museum events, classes and workshops. They want to list people who teach glassblowing (and subscribe to GF, $28/yr, $16 for students) who contact them by October 1. 8/6/97

CORNING STUDIO WORKSHOP REPORT Richard S. Lehman: Date: 97-08-10 15:34:36 EDT From: r_lehman@ACAD.FANDM.EDU (Richard S. Lehman)

OK. Here's a long report on my 6-day workshop with Josh Simpson at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass. The schedule listed the level as "intermediate," meaning a year's experience in glass blowing. Overall, the workshop was terrific.

The facilities at The Studio are second to none, and show a clear commitment from "corporate Corning" to have and maintain a top notch facility. There are four main "teaching areas": the hot shop, the torch work room, and two other rooms, one with two large kilns/lehrs that can be used for casting or fusing, and the other intended primarily for mold making. There's also a classroom, a very complete cold work shop, and the office. On the support side, there is a full time director and half time assistant, a half-time resident advisor, two full-time technicians, and two summer interns. Plus the instructor and assistant. A flame work class with Sally Prasch was going on at the same time an my hot shop class with Josh, and we did some things together.

Most of us stayed at a nearby Day's Inn on a plan that got us a room for seven nights and six day's-worth of meal credit coupons. The coupons gave us breakfast and dinner for six days at various restaurants; lunch was provided at The Studio. Fine system, and pretty good price.

Josh Simpson is a wonderful glass blower, a terrific teacher, and an all-round nice guy. Each day featured slides and demos in the morning, then afternoon and evening (until 11 PM) hands-on time. Josh and his Teaching Assistant Scott Lesure were around all day, and generally for some time each evening. Both are excellent glass blowers with lots of experience. Scott is also an expert on furnace building, and was happy to share his knowledge. Both were willing and able to answer any question they were asked.

The students (nine of us, distributed in teams of three with a bench and glory hole for each team) came from all over and fell into three rough categories, as Josh observed: The Professionals (people who have their own full time shop), The Students (still-in-school young people who have decided on glass as a career), and The Grownups (who are there for various reasons, but none because they plan to make a living at glass). We had two people in each of the first two categories, four in the last, and one who fit into the last category, but is trying to work half time in glass and eventually become full time. Nice group of people, generally.

The techniques demoed and taught covered the whole range, from hints on gathering to fancy Italian tricks with canes that I found fascinating, but will probably never be good enough to use. We pulled a lot of cane (including some that we twisted by putting a punty rod into an electric drill!). Personally, I asked for and got help specifically on problems that I've been having with cracking on the knock-off, and controlling the bowl form. I learned a lot on both of those (even if my work didn't show it immediately). Josh also shared some of his techniques with making marbles, blowing into welded copper baskets, and making goblets and bowls. He presented each of us with a genuine Simpson slightly-used marble mold. (He also gave everyone on staff and in both classes a Simpson marble/planet--slight seconds, but wonderful anyway.)

An unexpected bonus was Bill Gudenrath, the Studio's Resident Advisor. Bill was around most of the time, and worked about four hours every day on his own pieces. He has his own corner and furnace in the hot shop, and makes magnificent reproduction Venetian glass. He works entirely alone, and is a pleasure to watch. (If you don't know Bill, he did the how-to illustrations in Tait's "Glass: 5000 years", and nearly all of the demos on the terrific interactive CD-ROM "The Story of Glass". If you haven't seen the latter, order it through the Museum Store at Corning. It runs on both Mac and PC, and is well worth the $65 price tag.)

The six day workshop presented a lot more than just the hot shop. Each of us was given a one year membership in the Museum, and a lot of us made heavy use of it. Every day there was a featured event of some kind--after-hours museum tour led by Bill, a talk by a librarian (the world's most complete glass library is housed in the Museum, and it's the most helpful library I've ever used), a talk by a Corning scientist on technical topics of interest, etc. Probably the highlight for most of us was a guided tour of the actual production floor in the Stuben factory--ordinary mortals simply are never allowed there. Fantastic!

I came home charged up and ready to get to work and try some of the new stuff. But my furnace is still down, awaiting repairs. I think I'm going to take some Polaroid shots of the troublesome burner and see if Scott can give any insight into why it keeps melting itself!

I'd highly recommend The Studio courses. During the year, they offer an assortment of classes, but save their Big Names for the summer series. The new Fall and Winter brochure is just being sent out now (Mid August), and looks interesting. If you want a copy, or more information, e-mail Amy Schwartz, the Director of the studio: If I can tell you any more, drop me a line and ask.

Dick Lehman - R_Lehman@ACAD.FANDM.EDU (That's R-underscore-Lehman)

Richard S. Lehman, Professor of Psychology Franklin & Marshall College, PO Box 3003, Lancaster, PA 17604-3003, Voice (717)291-4202 FAX (717)291-4387 "I'd rather be blowing glass."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 7, 1997 - Contact: Charlette Hendrick, Manager, The Museum Shop (806) 742-2436, Linda Filippone, Volunteer Date: August 7, 1997 PRESS RELEASE The Museum Shop, the Museum of Texas Tech University, 4th & Indiana, Lubbock, Texas, is hosting an invitational glass event from September 2 to October 31.1997

Over 150 glass artists were invited to participate in 'Hot Lips-"Cool" Glass' Perfume bottles, paper weights, vases, jewelry, animals, toys, sculpture, and more are entries. Nine educational, informative, and entertaining programs are scheduled during this two month period to call attention to glass as an art form. Large, stained glass architectural installations, demonstrations of glass bead manufacture using 24K gold, fine silver, with encasements formed by a torch, a bus tour*, a luncheon*, video interviews, antique collectable glass, jewelry trunk shows/sales, slides and examples of components of glass craft are resources used by the speakers/artist participants. All events are open to the public and free of charge unless noted*. For more information, please call (806) 742-2436. Submitted by Linda Filippone, Volunteer HOT LIPS---"COOL" GLASS The Museum Shop, the Museum of Texas Tech University, 4th and Indiana, is hosting an "art-glass" invitational event from September 2 until October 31, 1997 Over 150 artists from across the United States were asked to participate in this exciting activity. Glass beads from early 2nd millennium B. C. have been found, yet the ad and craft of glass is in its infancy. Educational, informative, and entertaining programs call attention to glass as an art form.

Artistry of Stained Glass Nolan Barrick Thursday September 4 10 AM to l2 noon Slides of historic European windows of flat, stained glass will charm attendees. The sublime elegance of the windows, along with the discrete language of glass and supplies for production, will deepen your interest and knowledge of this beautiful craft.

Glass to Go Dee Jones* Thursday September 11 8:30 AM Prompt A bus tour of three "jewels" of stained glass installations will be followed by luncheon at The Museum. Dale Chihuly in video will introduce participants to blown glass artistry. Reservations for lunch at the Museum and a $15 fee is required by August 29 for participation. *Hodges Center Cultural Leisure Program. Lunch will be at approximately 12:30 PM.

Baubles, Bangles, & Beads, Ginger Bundock, Tuesday, September 18, 10 AM to 5PM (Slide presentations at 11 AM and 2 PM)

An all-day trunk show and sale, highlighted by slides and specimen beads, will gladden the hearts of "Ginger fanciers."

Windows to the Soul, Chuck and Melanie Berg, Thursday, September 25, 7 PM to 8:30 PM Faceted glass captures the emotion and mystery of the windows designed by The Berg Studio artisans--Chuck, Melanie, and Amy.

Fused and Slumped Glass, Vickie Bunting, September 25, 2 PM to 3:30 PM Kiln-formed glass using "fiber release" to mold the art piece is the fascinating subject sure to excite art collectors. Slides and examples will abound

Grimm's Fairy Tales--The Emperor... Peter VanderLaan, Thursday, October 9, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM "Glass" as art, craft, and business - a behind-the-scene glimpse of another world. Be prepared for an enlightening evening!

Hot Glass Bead Wizardry, Bernadette Fuentes, Tuesday, October 14, 10 AM to 5 PM (All-day sale with demonstrations at 11 AM and 2 PM) Fine silver, 24K gold, and encasements adorn the beads designed, made, and used in her jewelry creations All-day trunk show and sale is a must for the bead or jewelry collector.

Formed by Fire-Aspects of Sculptural Glass, Bill Bagley, Sunday, October 19, 2 PM to 3:30 PM The transition of the sculptor to that of glass artist, teacher, and mentor - an incredible journey!

The Cutting Edge--Glass of the 40s, 50, & 60', Jacque Hastings, Thursday, October 23, 2 to 4 PM The challenge of the antique collector and/or dealer is to look ahead to the next "hot' collectible.

All programs are held in the Museum of Texas Tech University, 4th & Indiana. Proceeds of sales benefit the programs, projects, and activities of the Museum and the community. Programs are free and open to the public, unless noted. The Museum Shop is open daily from 10 AM to S PM Tuesday through Friday. and 1 PM to 5 PM Saturday and Sunday. Please call 742-2436 it you have questions. The Staff and volunteers invite you to attend all of the events.

COEFFICIENT OF EXPANSION - (Douglas Wiggins) writes:
>Can someone tell me what the coefficient of expansion of ordinary
>cutlery-type stainless-steel is? Just so that we are talking in the
>same quantitative levels:
>Bullseye stained glass has a COE of 90*
>Window and bottle ("soft")** glass has a COE of approximately 86
>Pyrex (Corning 7740 borosilicate) has a COE of 32.5
>Spectrum stained glass had a COE of 106
>*times 10-7 cm/cm/degree C, starting at 300 degrees Celsius -

The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics has a table for pure metals (not the various stainless alloys) which is based at 25C (77F) and uses a different multiplier.
If I convert the ones above to decimals and put them a the left edge of the screen to allow for different text sizes, etc.
0.123456789 decimal places
0.0000090 Bullseye (move the decimal point seven places to get 90)
0.0000086 "soft" glass
0.00000325 Pyrex
0.0000106 Spectrum

Then here are the metals
0.0000250 Aluminum (move the decimal point 6 places to get 25 in book)
0.0000120 Iron
0.0000350 Zinc
0.0000200 Tin
0.0000166 Copper
0.0000060 Chromium
0.0000030 Silicon
Or Aluminum has twice the expansion coefficient of Iron
Glass coefficients fall below most of the metals we are likely to encounter, although Chromium is lower. Interestingly, most of the metals are well above (120 or more using glass x10^-7) or well below (50,70,60) glass. Metals with a 90 COE include Antimony and Platinum while Titanium is 85. None are listed at 100 or 110.
Alloys of metals, just as different mixtures of glass, can have widely varying COE. Remember, these are measured at different temps and can vary with temp.
What does this mean practically?
If a 1 meter long strand of iron (120 COE) were bonded at both ends with a strand of Bulleye glass (90 COE) and the temperature raised 100C. (Making lots of assumptions) the iron would be 1.00120 meters long and the glass 1.00090 meters long (1001.2 mm vs 1000.9 mm or 0.3 mm difference or 0.012 inch) If the two were attached so the shorter glass formed a straight line and the longer iron went out to a corner at mid-point - forming a long thin triangle - that point would be 12.2 mm or about 1/2 inch from the glass line.

[For those who care to check the math, the distance is one side of triangle with a hypotenuse of 0.5006m and a base of 0.50045m - half the length of the expanded iron and glass respectively. The sides of a right triangle are A^2=B^2+C^2 where A is the hypotenuse and B & C are the other two sides and ^ is exponentiation as in spreadsheets. To get a side, the formula is rearranged to get the squareroot so B= (A^2 - C^2) ^ .5 . So Glass side squared is 0.250450203; Iron side squared is 0.25060036; difference is 0.000150158 and sq.root is 0.012253877 all in meters.]
That conversion of 12 thousandths of an inch difference in expansion to about 1/2" separation at mid-point suggests why COE is important.

GLASS WIND MILL Here is a topic for discussion.[Posted to the newsgroup.]
I have put up a post (12' tall 4"x 4") from which I expect to rig a number of things over the next few years. At the moment there is a long piece of wood with lead weights on the short end and a good bearing mounted at an angle in the middle, so I learn how such an item moves in the wind and how hard it is to balance. I may well mount a multi-section bird watering station on it.
I put it up originally wanting, possibly, to do some slow moving steel sculptures like the ones that are in various places around the country.
What might concern this newsgroup is my recent idea to make the "blade" of such a sculpture largely out of glass. Two thoughts that occur to me are something about seven feet long with a pivot about 2-3 feet from one end shaped as long thin triangle, the image of an hour hand on a clock comes to mind. Another is to make a shape with a twist to it.
In any case, my initial thought is to build the outline of the moving arm from 1/2" square steel tubing, welded or braised, with appropriate cross pieces to carry the bearings and counter weight. I thought today it would be better to place the tubing on the angle so the corner faced in rather than the flat edge, so the glass holding stuff (technical term) would be easier to attach.
So, what are people's thoughts about fitting the glass into this? Would you use zinc came, foil techniques, or steel channel or angle? Or something else? Would you use solder or epoxy or both?
Clearly, it does not have to be sealed from the weather (i.e. be water tight) but it has to withstand the weather and wind. I am in Texas, so there will be less enduring cold.
This is not an immediate project. I may make some test pieces with a few pieces of glass between steel tubes over the next year. The glass is mostly likely to be cut from blown glass shapes or fused/sagged flat sheet.
Comments and suggestions welcome. Do it on the newsgroup for public discussion.

GAS FIRED KILN - Subj: Building a gas fired Kiln Date: 97-10-02 12:01:20 EDT From: (Luther Smith) Mike, I have been doing flamework for a short time now but would like to set up to do glassblowing. I took a class in glassblowing last winter at the New Orleans School of Glass and loved it. What I need is some very detailed plans for building a gas- fired kiln and glory hole. I would use a brick mason or someone like that to build the kiln and may be the glory hole too. I have a book that gives pretty good instructions but fall far short of the detail (kinda' like blueprints) that I need in order to have a brick mason do the job properly. Can you help me out or tell me where I can order blueprints. I want to start with a small furnace and glory hole - something I can do vases, glasses, bowls etc. with. Please let me know whether you can help me or not.

Thanks, Luther Smith

For free comments, see below.

Well, there are two ways to spend money with me and get some detailed stuff. For $20 you can get all the back issues of Hot Glass Bits, my casual newsletter for furnace workers. For another $20-25, you can get several of my "recipes" detailing what I did to build my equipment, with follow-up comments, plus and minus.

Henry Halem's book, Glass Notes, has some plans with much detail for some equipment that ranges from medium to big (in my view point.)

The Independent Glassblower has technical information, but the cost mounts up for back issues because they cost $25 a year for only 2-5 pages of new data (non-ads) per issue.

From the Book Exchange [90 W. Market St., Corning NY 14830 607-936- 8536 FAX 607-936-2465], buy a copy of the 3rd Edition of Henry Halem's Glass Notes and a copy of Ed's Big Handbook of Glassblowing by Edward T. Schmid. About $75 total.

The other newsletter for furnace workers is the Independent Glassblower [%Gruenig Glass Works, Main St.,W.Barnet VT 05821,1-802-633-4022, $25/yr, qrtly] it has good information in certain issue, but I find it hard to recommend that you buy all the back issues as the cost rapidly gets very high, as he charges $25 for each year (4-6 issues) There is absolutely no need for a brick mason for building glass furnace and glory hole. More likely you will need a welder or cement worker if you don't learn the modest skills in those area, which you should.

Henry Halem favors large brick built annealers with a steel frame that can be run up to casting temperatures (1800F) because that is what he does and because they drop fewer degrees when the door is opened (and he also seems to believe they use less energy, which isn't true.) I favor Fiberfrax (ceramic blanket) in old metal shells (i.e. refrigerators) because they are cheaper, lighter, and easier to move without damage. I also build annealers which only go up to about 1100F, just for annealing, which means lower cost coils (nichrome) can be used.

It is possible to build a furnace out of brick. No (or very little thin set) mortar is used because there is no mortar which will stand up to the forces of the hot glass or will not dissolve in the glass. Brick furnaces are built of (mostly) full sized bricks, laid so their joints don't line up framed with steel corners and threaded tightening bars.

But most individual glass artists do not use brick furnaces because the economics of making one. Brick furnaces are usually tank furnaces holding more than 250 pounds of glass in multiple blower operations (including schools.) Laying up enough brick (high silica, surrounded by hard brick, surrounded by insulating) to be efficient makes too thick walls to do it for 50-100 pounds of glass.

Most individual glass artists make a variation of a pot furnace, making or buying crucibles to hold 100-150 pounds of glass, surrounding the pot closely or loosely with insulation. The choice is free standing pots in some box of insulating brick or castable or frax or an invested pot, usually in a cast hard shell.

Invested pot furnaces are usually a metal shell (sheet metal) inside another metal shell (barrel or sheet metal) the space between filled with hard castable. The metal shells are removed. The pot is set in insulating castable. The upper part can be a hard shell cylinder with a cast roof or a cast dome shape in insulating castable, all surrounded with frax or poured insulation (vermiculite, pearlite or castable.)

Virtually all glory holes in smaller operations are made in barrels - 30 or 55 gallon - lined with packed frax or with other insulating materials (I use vermiculite) covered with castable - insulating or otherwise. 10/2/97

MILLIFIORE - >Unfortunately, within my admittedly limited knowledge, doing a nice square pattern (which I assume the checker pattern is) is one of the most difficult to attain. While Millefiore retain the large pattern of the color rods when pulled down, they tend to move it toward roundness.

I would think your best chance would be to use fusing techniques to make flat bars that you saw and re-fuse to make the basic checker, then reheat and encase (see below) that and pull to size.

Among the clues I picked up from Drew Ebelhare in Houston, one of the primary makers of American Millefiore paperweights, is that casing the Millefiore the rods (and parts of rods) in clear makes them much less likely to have compatibility problems. The effect of a thick(er) clear casing is to have the flower stand away from adjacent flowers which may be desirable, but a thin one reduces this effect when closeness is wanted.

When doing an unusual shape - like initials, faces, animal shapes, etc. - virtually every Millefiore is round, having added rods (in the original large bundle) and or casing to make it that way. Adding glass to make the round surface reduces the distortion as the rod works toward round in the first place.

Not mentioned in the theory of Millefiore is the amount of glass that ends up as scrap because the result is unacceptable. When the glass is pulled and cut, it may be that half or more of the pull is not usable because of damage to the pattern. Careful examination of Millefiore and murrini used in glass shows distortion of the pattern that is normally considered acceptable because it reflects the handwork of the product. 10/9/97

In a message dated 97-10-20 12:19:24 EDT, you write:

ALL TEXANS should give serious consideration to blowing glass next summer at Junction Texas. For residents of Texas who can qualify as special graduate students (not working for a degree) it is one of the great bargains in glassblowing learning, costing under $500 for tuition, room and board for two weeks.

Contact Betty Street, TTU Center at Junction, Dept.of Art, Box 42081 Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock TX 79049-2081, 806-742-3026 FAX: 806-742-1971 as soon as possible to get the brochure before Christmas. Sign up as soon as possible, the classes often fill by February. If you don't get in, stay on the waiting list, if you are willing. My second year, I messed up my timing, didn't get in, insisted I would stay on the waiting list to the day before the class started and was called the Thursday before the class started (on Sunday) because one student had just been told she was pregnant and should not blow in the heat.

Generally, TTU's on campus and Junction classes will tend toward use of lots of color and rather forceful working of the class. Other teachers will offer methods that seem more focused on control and form. After taking two classes at Junction, I choose the third year to spend my chunk of money on a workshop in Ohio and saw people working 15-20 pounds of glass on pipes they were handling with their finger tips. It was a worthwhile insight.

HOT GLASS QUESTIONS - In article , (Cassie Conley) writes: > -- the glory hole: hot or cool, & why?

Hot - spend less time before it reheating and cooking the gaffer.

I have worked cool glory holes, usually ones above melted glass kept cool to keep the glass more like honey and less like water. Hot is better.

> -- how much glass on the moil, & why?

not much. Too much and the glass worker is ducking glass chipping off the cooling back of the moil or is ducking the reheating flame.

> -- bubbles: thin thin thin, or lots of glass on the bottom (I know this >is a stylistic choice depending on the piece, but what about aesthetics?)

Neither necessarily, one worker I respect has virtually no bubble before gathering all the glass that makes a goblet bowl several inches tall and across. (obviously it is hot, hot, hot.)

> -- the 'dimple of death': flat bottom or dimple for punty-mark, and how >deep is too deep?

I avoid "dimple of death", but otherwise, style.
> -- punty: pointy /\ or flat on top, and how much glass? Also, how hot?

Flatness is necessary but diameter is different - big for big pieces. The glass should be hot but the end should be cool and - most people seem to feel - dirty. I have seen almost as many punty shapes as blowers, including cut cross, center dimple (usually from pushing on the head of a carriage bolt), texture on a rasp and just a flat metal surface.

> -- when to trim: thick lips, anyone?

don't trim much.

> -- and for my own personal improvement, does anyone have tricks for
>getting punties to come of cleanly (other than not cooking them too much
>in the first place, which is what I really need to do, but the new teacher
>likes a *very hot* glory hole, and I haven't gotten used to it yet).

As mentioned above, a dirty chilly punty with hot glass behind it. When I do a really hot punty and am sure of a weld, I neck the hot punty and take the piece off there later, grinding or chipping as needed.

THE CRAFTS REPORT [The Business Journal for the Crafts Industry, PO BOX 1992, Wilmington DE 19899-9776, Fax 302-656-4894 or call 1-800-777-7098, $29/yr, $52/2yr] has been arriving at my house, for no good reason that I can recall. The issues I have seen are true to the title, with a firm emphasis on business for crafts people who don't want to be too sophisticated about their business. In these issues glass barely appears, even in ads (1 photo in 8) with wood, painting, and pottery dominating the artist profiles provided. Most of the articles deal with ways of selling stuff - catalogs, mailings, malls, marketing plans - and how to keep up with sales generated and how much freedom you have to be unique within the bounds of multiple sales. 11/4/97

SIGN OFF - I don't know what printed form Hot Glass Bits will take from now on, perhaps 1998A & B, or how I will make people aware a new issue exists, perhaps postcards and the Internet. Perhaps the energy going into Hot Glass Bits will leak off into book form. Some of it will certainly go into making my own glass. I hope you will tell me, via written word, phone call or e-mail, what you are doing and how things are going.

Blow Good Glass Hot Glass in Texas Dallas - Kittrell-Riffkind Art Glass, [5100 Beltline Suite, Suite 820, 214-239- 7957]

Dallas: Carlyn Galerie, [6137 Luther Lane, 214-368-2828] A Gallerie of Glass into November

In Wimberley, southwest of Austin, Sable V Fine Art Gallery, [The Courtyard Overlooking Cypress Creek, 512-847-8975]

The MSC Forsyth Center Galleries [Student Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, 409-845-9251]

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