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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Making Glass Stringers

I love to learn - my husband calls me the Forever Student. But when you are an artist, I think it is crucial to keep learning and incorporating newness and experimentation into your repertoire!

Since June I have been taking all kinds of classes and workshops to further my glass exploits. I took a weekend workshop with a wonderful glass artist, Rob Morey, who is local to San Diego. He introduced us to several techniques such as silk screen printing onto glass, using glass enamels and paints, organic matter (fusing glass over plant leaves), laser printed images in glass, etc.! So fun and such an inspiration for new ideas.

Something that he is really into right now is a process being called Vitrograph - creating thin lines of glass to create design. The thin lines are created by pulling molten glass while in liquid form (is that redundant?) and stretching and manipulating it before it cools.

He offered to show me how on a day he was pulling stringer at his studio. I brought my glass and we heated it up in his kiln to 1700 degrees until it became molten. Pliers are used to literally tug the glass as it slowly begins to ooze out of a hole in the bottom of the kiln. It feels like you're pulling taffy! The faster you pull it down the more it stretches and the thinner it becomes before cooling and hardening. If you pull it and then bring it back up on itself quickly you get these great squiggly lines of glass that are so much fun to use in other projects. The video here shows my introduction to the process and how I used it in some larger pieces later. I had a blast and now have 2 boxes full of stringer. It will probably take me years to use it all!

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