This piece has had a long journey. It started out as one thing and ended up something completely different. Along the way I had some issues that required reworking the piece and then some more reworking. Rather than call these mistakes, I prefer to think of these pieces as learning opportunities. This piece taught me a lot!
Always set up the monitor to hear the alarm.
My original plan was to make night lights. I have made night lights like the one pictured here by recycling glass from other projects. I break the pieces up and contour fuse them. Recently I had a lot of glass and thought it would be more productive if I laid out the glass in a long piece that I would cut and fire polish in another step. Unfortunately, I didn’t set up the monitor to hear the alarm when the kiln reached process temperature. I thought I would remember to check back… I totally missed it. By the time I checked, the glass was almost at a full fuse. This was not the look I wanted.
Be flexible and implement a plan B.
I hate to waste glass, so I went to plan B. I cut the pieces to use as a pattern bar with other glass. The full fuse worked great.
Take the time to coldwork edges.
After the full fuse, there were a few areas along the edge that were a bit rough. I hoped that they would smooth out during the slump. They didn’t. I now had a slumped piece with unacceptable edges.
Don’t take short cuts.
So I wondered what would happen if I ground the edges, put it back into the mold and ran another slump cycle with a bit higher process temperature to fire polish the edges. Anyone want to guess what happened? … Not only did the piece distort out of shape, but my mold cracked as well. There are those that claim slumping and fire polishing can be done in one step. My conclusion, however, is doing it in two separate steps yields superior results.
Don’t’ give up.
At this point I was very tempted to throw the whole thing out! But it gave me the opportunity to do some more experimenting answering some “wonder what would happen if…. “ questions. At this point I really had nothing to lose. I placed the already slumped piece back into the kiln and let it “slump” flat. Then, with my tile saw, I cut it to square it up. The top was fairly smooth, but the back of the piece was pretty rough. I sandblasted it, and did a flip and fire to get everything nice and shiny again. The last step was another slump.
Phew! I think I’ve lost count on how many times this piece was in the kiln! A total of seven times if you include the intial firing of the night light turned pattern bar.