Pat from Canvey's blog

Sunny Cromwell

Here we are having just been for a huge hike. The sun is going down and I've been able to check my hotmail messages for $2.
Hope Matt has been able to turn on the central heating. We had an email saying what problems he was having. Having to type quickly as the money is running out of the time on the computer. All going well, John and I are still talking, weather is a lot colder than we expected but they say their winter has been a bad one this year. We've seen lots of lambs plus a few dead ones. Having to look to see if their tails have yet been docked to save them from flystrike, so I'm told.

Off again

We're off again this morning to New Zealand for a month. Wifi points are few and far between there so possibly no contact till November. We've hired thesame type of motorhome as we had last year from Maui company but will possibly stay in the South Island this time and explore more as this was our favourite of the two Islands. The bags, laptop and cameras are packed and we are off to Heathrow at 9am. Matt is looking after the cats and garden but I don't expect much gardening to be done. Currently there are hundreds of spiders spinning webs everywhere and we all know how Matt likes spiders!!!

I'm keeping my beady eye on you

Here's one of the beads made with the Lentil Press, (used for making a shape out of a molten blob of glass held on a mandrel). I decided to have some fun. What is life without fun. So,

I'm keeping my beady eye on you
Kat bought me a lentil press for my last birthday. The press is so called because the bead is pressed between two blocks of brass to give it a lentil shape, a flattened sphere.

Getting hooked

Over the last week or so, I've been frantically trying out different colours and types of glass both from bought Moretti rods and Bullseye ones together with all the various bits and bobs of stained glass left over from other projects, including Bullseye fusible glass and Spectrum fusible too. I've also looked at what in the house I could use to create different shapes in the glass before buying any presses or mashers. I've discovered that a good ridged barrel shape can be made from rolling a bead along a fish slice and a stainless steel paint scraper can be used with a marver to flatten a bead from front to back. At first I was disappointed that some of the paler colours such as pink and white streaky opaque or pale blue and white opaque came out smokey coloured as well as the oranges, greens and yellows but after trying to work further out from the flame of the Hothead, the colours stayed true. It does seem to take longer to make the bead though. I had contemplated getting an oxygen supply for the torch to improve the combustion but decided to try working further from the flame first of all. I'm glad I did as I've spent far too much money on glass and tools this month.

Experiments with colour and shape

I wanted to experiment a bit more to see what happened to some of my store of stained glass when made into a bead. I cut strips 1/4 inch wide and about 9 inches long. When my offcut of glass was smaller, I cut short strips and held the end with a pair of heavy duty pliers. There were some surprising results, not least that a pink and white streaky opaque glass gave a grey bead even when overlaid onto a base bead of white. Some results were better than expected colourwise and the shaping went not too badly too. The barrell shape is the 1st bead on the fourth row and the flattish egg shape is the last bead on the fourth row. I have kept notes of what glass went into each bead, whether one colour was overlaid onto another. I attempted to keep compatible COE (Coefficient of Expansion) glasses together, but time will tell after the beads are kiln annealed.

I've got my Hothead Torch

After waiting too long for one Company to fullfill my order for a torch, I phoned Tuffnell Glass in Yorkshire last Tuesday PM and the torch and ancillary equipment was delivered Thursday morning, so very good service from them. I got a tank of propane gas on Friday from the local camping store and we sorted out a temporary place for me to torch on Saturday. The beads in the photo following are the result. Basically I played, trying out first Moretti glass rods and then some Bullseye fusible. I even tested some Spectrum fusible and waterglass to see what would happen to the colours. I kept notes because although most of the non-Moretti colours produced dark/greyer/beigey shades, I could see that such odd colours might come in useful some day. I even melted a piece of Kokomo brown and green streaky to see what happened. The squarish beads in the picture are the result. I also made some twisties for the first time and used them in a few of the beads. I cooled the beads in vermiculite for the time being but when I have a few more, will put them in the kiln to properly anneal. At the moment, I am standing to torch but have to take a rest after each bead as my back muscles go into spasm, (old injury).

Door Panels

This time last year, I decided to pay a carpenter to replace six of my inner doors so that I could make stained glass panels for each room. The outside of the house has UPVC double glazed units so no opportunity for me there to add panels. I love colour hence what some may think are garish colours in some of the panels suit me and DH lets me decorate with whatever colours I like. The panels for the six doors follow. In some cases the glass colours have had to be sacrificed in order to get a clearer photo and most were taken with a white sheet suspended behind the door a little way.

Bird Panel
I'd always been intrigued by this design which in some way reminded me of an Egyptian motif on a tomb. I liked the flowing lines and the many colours I could use.

Latest pot melt

I'm still experimenting with my pot melts and decided to try one with two extra holes in the bottom of the flower pot. I also stacked the glass in alternating colours with the largest weight of glass being blue followed by just over half the amount of red. I also added some white, orange and green small pieces and some black stringer, ( long thin rods of glass about the thickness of a pencil lead).

This time too I covered the kiln shelf in Boron nitride kiln shelf wash as the refractory to stop the glass sticking to the shelf. Previously I had used fibre paper which results in the reverse of the melt requiring more work to provide a smooth finish. So I eagerly awaited the result. After leaving the kiln to cool naturally for just over 16 hours the result is shown below.

Pot Melts

I have been messing around with pot melts occasionally but decided to try my Bullseye glass that has been sitting there for years untouched. This glass is tested compatible, i.e. when mixed with other colours and then cooled, the same cooling rates of all the glass will stop cracks developing. They are called pot melts because you use a terracotta flower pot to hold the glass and when the temperature of the kiln gets high enough, the glass melts and drips down onto a kiln shelf covered in fibre paper ( a refractory paper that stops the molten glass sticking to the ceramic kiln shelf).

6 centimetre pot filled with glass
I used all Bullseye glass as this is compatible with itself and will not cause stress fractures when cooling as all the different colours cool at the same rate.

Our new cat Nancy

Here she is: My new cat Nancy.Here she is: My new cat Nancy.

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