Some success

So I have some progress!  This morning I have some time in Pilchuck's secondary hot shop, know as the casting shop, and will be able to make some work for later this week.  Since the last post I have been able to get an experimental mold tested, a Rayzist photo-transfer ready for the print shop, and mixed organics with milled glass for a slab mold in the kiln.  All of these things are things I haven't done before and I'm pretty excited for today's work.  

Part of today's work will be getting this glass plate printed.  You can see from the two photos above the original image, which was slightly doctored, and the sandblasted Rayzist glass plate underneath.  This was an interesting process and helped confirm my loathing for Photoshop even more.  The image I chose was, of course, not ideal for this process.  This process works best with pictures of a high contrast, so any graphic imagery would work well here.  However, there is a way to convert the image to a half-tone gradient and this is what was done.  I chose the smallest dot size to try and make it as close to the original picture as possible.  Even then there's still some image loss, not necessarily through the Photoshop image but when I went to sandblast the image into the plate.  The dots were so small that I got a few areas where I just blew to dots off the plate.  I know we have a roll of Rayzist at CCAD, now it's a matter of finding the product number and working with illustration, ad/graph, and photo majors to put their work into glass.  

Today will focus on making a good print run, my class has access to the print shop today, and then cleaning out that plate REALLY well.  Once it's cleaned out, I'll fill the sandblasted areas with glass micro-beads and fire that to tack fuse them together.  Then go back down to the print shop in the next few days to print the embossed plate.  So it's a subtractive and then additive process to produce several results with one  slightly over-worked object.  

Next up, mixing organics with powdered glass.  So a mix of 50/50 flour and milled glass powder, with a little bit of water, yields a very stable bread dough like substance.  It in fact raises in the kiln like bread.  When talking about this to Anjali, the correlation of a souffl√© came up in regards to how delicate it is in the kiln in regards to how it raises and falls.  It doesn't take much to disturb this mixture.  If the mix is altered... extra things like yeast, sugar, eggs, other baking items... the matrix destabilizes and the glass behaves differently.  This has me wondering about purposely destablizing the mix to see if I can get the glass to disintegrate over time, more than likely as an outdoor installation.  Clean up, or containment, will be a concern and I will have to think about this more.

My slab mold with the puffy glass mixture on top of Spectrum sheets, with just a dash of black glass powder.  Cooking fun in the studio!

So this being an experimental casting class, I had the idea of using glass vessels as molds.  No plaster involved.  A normal kiln mold for glass is usually a 50/50 mix of plaster and silica.  I was thinking if applied a few coats of kiln was or alumina oxide to the interior of the object, that should be a sufficient enough resist to prevent any tack fusing with the glass inside the mold.  The intial test is using a beer bottle (ready-made object) washed with alumina oxide on the inside and then packed with clear and black glass marbles.  Then back fill the entire mold with #5 size micro-beads to fill all the gaps in between the marbles.  Tack fuse the entire thing at about 1250 F for about 20 minutes, and then see what happens.  My main concern is that since the bottle is thin, overall wall thickness is only about 1/8 inch, that if I run the kiln too hot the whole thing will slump over.  My hope is that I could fill a kiln with work in one go as there wouldn't be and molds to eat up shelf space in the kiln.  So loading a kiln with 10-15 pieces instead of 5-7.

I am really excited with how things are coming along, it's also exhausting but that's the idea.  Become inundated with ideas and information and just tired enough to try just about anything without fear of failure.  Most of my days are 18 hours long.  Get up at about 6, and go to bed around 10-12 at night.  There's still so much to do.

Did I mention we are also trying to get a small show going on campus from the class?

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