My first plate using a pattern bar that I created is finally done. It is a long process, but the end result is worth it. This technique results in a unique one of a kind piece that can’t be recreated. If you “Like” my Facebook page (and if you don’t, you should) then you have been following along in the process as I posted pictures. Here is an overview of the process from start to finish.
First I created the pattern bar. In this case, it is called a flow slab. Strips of glass are stacked and placed in the kiln in a damn. The glass is heated until it flows together and creates a slab. It takes about 6 hours for the glass to heat up and melt together and a lot longer to cool it down. It took more than 24 hours before the kiln was cool enough for me to open it up. If you are a glass fuser and want more information on how to create a flow slab pattern bar, visit the Bullseye Education Online website. They have some great educational videos. Some are free, some are for members only. It is well worth the money to become a member to access these videos.
Next I sliced up the pattern bar using a wet tile saw with a diamond blade. This is a very slow, noisy and messy process.
I decided to do a small plate first using just two of the pattern bar slices. I arranged the pattern bars and bordered them with some glass. I used three layers of glass: a thin 2mm clear glass, a second layer of 3mm clear glass, and a 3mm transparent blue glass. This was dammed and fired to a full fuse.
Unfortunately, I was not precise enough in positioning the blue glass. There was a slight gap where the strips meet. I thought since I was going to take this up to a very high temperature and hold at that temperature longer than I usually do that the blue glass would flow out and fill in. I was wrong. I cut off the part that offended me and ended up liking the design better. This is one of the things I love about working with fused glass. I often start with an idea in mind and it changes along the way usually ending up better than I had originally planned it. Not always better… but usually. I also sand blasted the piece to remove a bit of kiln wash and devitrification. It went back into the kiln to fire polish everything.
The next day the piece went in the kiln again, this time to slump it into the soft curve of a sushi plate.
In the end it took a total of 4 firings each one taking a day to complete. I am looking forward to using the rest of the pattern bars to create something really grand!