Saturday, August 23, 2008

Unlocking Time and The Grind Goes On

Down in Studio B (Basement) it's messy but productive. All the glass cutting, chemicals, etching and torch work goes on down there, plus the kiln and the soldering station.

And the grinder for the glass. Noisy, wet, messy - but lots of fun. To watch solid glass shaped right in front of you. Very exciting.

Today the glass for the next group of clasps is being shaped and ground and the hole drilled for the toggle to go through. That is nerve-wracking, and there is a deep breath taken before plunging into the hole drilling process. And whoosh - a big exhale when it works out okay.

This photo show the fronts of the glass clasp pieces after grinding and beveling. See the scuff-marks and rough edges? That's why they go back into the kiln for a fire polish, to smooth them out and make them all glossy again. They have three firings, in all, to make the finished glass clasp.

You can see the back of the key design clasp here, and the front of the clock glass clasp. The backs have very faint writing designs on them, very subtle. These are substantial pieces of glass even after I shaped and ground down the edges, 2 7/8" x 1" wide.

The grinder I use has a beveling station on top of it, so I can put an angled edge on the glass.

When the glass comes out of the kiln from the second firing (capping the enameled image with clear glass) it's not very square on the edges and sometimes the clear cap slides around a little. That's one reason why I fuse the enamel design on the glass in the first firing, so it won't smudge if the clear glass slips or flows in firing to a full fuse at 1500 degree F.

When I use the grinder the glass has to be kept wet, to protect the diamond carbide grinding bit, and to keep the heat from building up in the glass. The glass might crack if it gets too hot during grinding. And it creates a kind of soupy glass particle spray that can't help but go everywhere. I always put on a heavy vinyl wrap-around apron to keep from getting soaked, and to keep the glass particles off my clothes.

Most important of all - I wear these glasses. To protect my eyes from little shards of glass getting anywhere near them. I can feel the grinder spray on my face sometimes, so I know it's getting up that high. The safety glasses aren't good looking and I look like a geek wearing them, but they are ultra-super-important!
Safety first! Always wear any safety gear you need when you are creating. There are links on the side of the blog for my posts on different equipment safety posts, if you need a refresher.

So, off I go to pop these two pieces in the kiln for their fire polish, to spiff them all up. But I thought you might like to see them in their 'before' state.

What do you think of them?


Lorelei said...

Outstanding! Love the color and images are really great. Old but new! Love it!
Nice Job!

LLYYNN said...

Thanks Lorelei - and once again my manicure looks like it was given by a lawnmower, I just can't keep my fingertips out of the grinder bit ... it all happens so fast!

Anonymous said...

I love them! I want to pop all of the tiny bubbles :)

Fanciful Expressions said...

I think they're just lovely. Keep it up..


Amanda said...

I am so very curious to see the inside of your studios... have you made a sort of "studio tour" post that is buried somewhere in the archives that I might be able to look at? You do such interesting things!

I love the designs on these two clasps - I think the clock is the most interesting!

Also, did you ever see those safety goggle posters that were occasionally posted in chemistry rooms? "Carol didn't wear her safety goggles, so now she doesn't need them..."
That last bit about the goggles made me think of that. Safety is such an important part of any job or hobby!

LLYYNN said...

Carolyn, I breathe a sigh of relief when the hole gets through and nothing cracked, thanks for the encouragement. My heart starts beating again.

Amanda, I have some very grainy webcamera photos on there somewhere, use the 'studio' label on the posts and they should show up.

My dog cringes when I use the wire cutters and the little ends get away from me, I think I need some 'doggles' for her.