I just loaded the mold of the sunflower center and am filled with uncertainty about whether the mold will fill properly. I chopped up two 8x4" billets of glass into 2-3 inch chunks so that the weight of the glass won't be too great in any particular spot to break the fine details in the plaster but also won't trap too many bubbles. It is now past midnight and the next thing I need to do is close the vents on the kiln at 11 am in the morning. The program is set so that the glass will get to melting temperature at about 12:30 tomorrow when I'll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and hopefully can peek into the kiln and find the glass slowly seeping into the negative spaces around the perimeter of the casting without first deciding to pour over the sides of the mold! We'll see. But in the meantime I've got to get some sleep. Nighty night! (P.S The glass looks clear now, but after firing it should be a burnt red color!
Well, I DID have to add more glass to the hot mess of bubbly action in the kiln. After tending the kiln and adding time at 1525 degrees several times, I decided to don an old flannel shirt backwards, get out my long kevlar mitts and a face shield and get a scoop full of amber and clear class frit ready to sift over what will be the back of the sunflower centre. I shut off the power opened the lid and quickly poured the glass in then shut the lid, turned the kiln back on and waited for another 2 hours... The bubble seemed mostly to have cleared the surface so now the piece is annealing at 900 degrees ... won't be able to see it for another day or two until the temperature gradually steps down through the strain point.
In the meantime, we've been hammering copper leaves for another of my "take it easy" projects. Before I broke my hip in March, I had blown some glass heart centers for some more "Love Lillies" and last week I blew the actual lillies. Barry wanted to improve on the original leaf design with the curly-kews of metal and make more reallistic leaves. I had to agree (although real lillies have strappy leaves and the new copper ones are ovoid - I may have to change the name, but "Love Lillies" is otherwise so apt!). So now we've spent many hours tappity-tap-tapping texture onto the copper, to simulate veins and the interstitial areas and to get them to curl a bit. We are soldering the leaves to the stalks and all is going well. The lights have just arrived from Berkeley Point, so I figure tomorrow we can get the wiring done. That operation is as fiddly as can be though, because the stalks are fairly skinny and the wire has to get fished down through some lamp rod and then through at hole drilled near the base. So much for "easy."
Kim is a glassblower, gardener and choral singer. She is a Canadian transplant, living happily in Oakland, CA with her husband Barry Stone.