Friday, September 23, 2016

Pot Melt How-To

There are few things more exciting then melting glass, especially when you’re the one in control of the super-heated flow. Pot melts are a terrific way to make your own twisted mixes and curving color blends. The colorful glass patties that result from your efforts have so many artistic possibilities, that you’ll never run out of creative ideas for using them. 

I like to cut some of my pot melts into interesting shapes and then design them into my artwork. The characteristic feathery pattern and vibrant color washes in pot melts, make them showy focal points and therefore ideal for inclusion. On occasion, I’ll produce a really special one that’s visually complete right out of the kiln and just too beautiful to break up. I save those exceptional hybrids and slump or drape them over a mold that gives them a flattering, sculptural shape that’s worthy of display.   

Selecting glass. 

The melting glass mixes as it hits the kiln shelf and rolls away from the hole in the bottom of the pot. Be sure to use plenty of clear glass in your pot melt to ensure you retain the true color of each of the glass colors you include. Too much color makes muddy puddles of glass. Also, I like to use both transparent and opalescent glass in the same color to ensure that particular color is well represented. For example, if I use aqua blue, I drop both transparent and opal pieces of that color in the pot. 

Experiment to make different design variations.

How the glass is loaded in the pot will affect the way the glass colors mix as they flow out of the hole in the bottom. The size and shape of the glass placed in the pot also changes the way the materials blend. I usually cut random strips of glass that vary in width from ½ inch to 1 ½ inch wide and are anywhere from 3-inch to 6-inch long. I load the glass strips into the pot vertically so they melt like long taper candles. Be sure to cut down any glass pieces that stick out above the pot rim. They may damage the kiln lid or lid coils. 

Another variable to consider when setting up a pot melt, is the distance between the bottom of the pot and the ceramic kiln shelf. Changing the distance between the two will alter the way the glass gathers on the shelf and therefore result in different patterns. Play with the position of the pot to get variations on your designs. But keep in mind, that the top rim of the pot should be as far away as possible from any heating coils. Otherwise, the terracotta pot can break if too close to the heat source. 

Safety first.

Take every precaution to work safely. Wear natural fiber clothing and close toed shoes. 

When making pot melts, I stay in my studio while the kiln is heating and while it’s holding at the target temperature of 1600 degrees. During the hold time, I monitor the progress of the flowing glass by peeking into the kiln every fifteen minutes or so. I flash vent when I have my desired results. Flash venting stops the glass flow by quickly reducing the amount of heat in the firing chamber. 

To flash vent, first determine you have the desired results and turn the kiln OFF. Next, with gloved hands, open the kiln lid with a hook. Prop the lid open with a 5-inch-tall ceramic kiln post and step away. Allow the heat to escape the kiln. When the kiln temperature reaches 1000 degrees, close the lid. Turn the kiln back on and let the controller run through the annealing phase and the remainder of the firing program. 

NO PEEKING until the digital controller shows room temperature.  

Pot Melt Set Up
Kiln Specs
Skutt Clamshell, kiln interior dimensions, 24 in. x 24 in., with a 13 in. depth
Heating coils in the lid.

Primed Ceramic kiln shelf, 20 in. square.
(I use a primed ceramic shelf as opposed to a fiber paper lined shelf. Remember the glass will be moving as it flows. We don’t want it to pick up any fiber material.)   
Terracotta pot, 8 in. tall, 8 in. wide at rim
Stainless steel rods, ½ in. x 18 in.
Kiln posts to support steel rods
High temp gloves
Kiln post for venting
Kiln hook

Note: Not all shelf primers are intended to withstand the high temperature of 1600 degrees needed to make a pot melt. Be sure to read the label on your primer before firing to make sure it is suitable for this advanced technique.    

Pot Melt Tips
It takes approximately 2 square foot of glass to fill an 8-inch pot.
Use 75 % to 95 % clear glass in the pot.
Use both opal and transparent glass in the same color.
Don’t overfill the pot.
Set a timer. Set a timer. I mean it. Set a timer!

Pot Melt Firing Guides: 8-inch pot, 12-inch fused project

Pot Melt Fusing Guide
Segment                     Rate per hour              Temperature °F       Hold Minutes
1                                  500                              1600                        30-90 (until desired result)
2 Flash Vent                1000                            950                           40
3                                  150                              800                           10
Let cool to room temperature.

Slumping Guide
Segment                     Rate per hour              Temperature °F       Hold Minutes
1                                  300                              1265                         5-15
2                                  1000                            950                           40
3                                  150                              800                           10
Let cool to room temperature.
Note: Kilns fire differently. Test fire your kiln and make adjustments as needed.

See it made on YouTube!

Have fun heating it up!

It’s not too late to register!
Advanced Glass Fusing with Lisa Vogt
October 18-21, 2016
Intermediate to advanced skill level.
Intense 4-Day, Hands-on Workshop
Lisa’s Private Glass Studio, Wesley Chapel, Florida
Register online today!

Unlock Your Greatest Potential!
Stand out! Striking glass work is the result of combining multiple, advanced techniques in innovative ways to produce exceptional art. In this comprehensive, 4-day workshop, Lisa will show you how to combine different methods of assembly to make original, fused glass art that’ll make you standout. Techniques include: the new Vogt-flow©, combing, weaving, embossing, advanced layering, designing artistic shapes, plus creative and deep slumping. You’ll also learn how to change the shape of thick, fused glass with various saws, slitters and drills. As if that’s not enough, kiln operation, how to make your own unique display stands and how to photograph your work, are also covered.  

How it works.
Students select what they want to make from a wide variety of large-scale advanced project samples.  You’ll create your unique project using full sheets of glass (not scrap) using a color combination of your choice. You’ll enjoy pulling from Lisa’s well-stocked shelves of materials and working in her spacious, open-air studio at your own relaxed pace. Students will complete several, multi-process projects in class. You’ll leave the workshop with a working knowledge of kiln operation, project specific firing guides, an empowered level of confidence and re-inspired artistic creativity.  

What you will do in this workshop: You’ll learn how to select inspiring color palates, design standout art that reflects your own style, work with full sheets of glass in colors of your choice, be encouraged to combine new advanced techniques and complete numerous large-scale pieces of art. And, you’ll leave with an enthusiastic new level of confidence in your flourishing creative talents.    

What you won’t do in this class: You won’t wait in line to use a tool, bump elbows in a crowded workspace or make boring knick-knacks.
I hope to see YOU in October!

Let’s keep in touch!

Friday, September 16, 2016

How-to: Festive Fall Pumpkin Patch Bowl

What better way to usher in Autumn and welcome the bountiful harvest of Fall than with a spicy pumpkin bowl? And this tasty treat is so fast and easy to bake you’ll be tempted to fuse up an entire field full. Don’t let the subtle shading and intricate details of this piece fool you into thinking this project is time consuming. The beauty of this seasonal bowl is the speed and ease at which you can bring a rich combination of materials together to make a striking arrangement.  

To make this elegant pumpkin bowl draw a 10 ½ inch circle on paper. Give your pumpkin shape be adding a few curves to the top and bottom of the circle. Using the pattern as a guide, cut layer 1 out of Marigold. Cut a second piece of glass, for layer 2 the same shape and size out of Yellow patterned glass. Cut a stem shape out of opal green glass for layer 3. Grind the cut pieces and test the fit for accuracy. After grinding, be sure to clean and dry all of your ground glass pieces. I use plain water and a cotton towel. A single edge razor blade works well to remove any stubborn glue or paint based marker. 

Create lush shadows and contours with frit.

Use a sifter to apply an even layer of red powder frit on top of the marigold layer. Concentrate the frit and make gradual curved lines that accentuate the plump roundness of a vine ripened pumpkin. Use a small, dry paint brush to perfect your curves. Stack the yellow pattern glass on the frit coated marigold base. Add the green stem and fuse. Slump the fused glass in a shallow mold.  

Note: The finished size of this delightful pumpkin bowl is 10 ½ inches. The fused glass is slumped into a shallow 11-inch ceramic mold. You can make the pumpkin larger or smaller to fit any size or shape mold you have.


Fusing Guide
Segment 1: Ramp 300 F/hr to 1300 and hold 30 min.
Segment 2: Ramp 500F/hr to 1465 and hold 10 min.
Segment 3: Ramp 9999(AFAP*) to 960 and hold 40 min.
Segment 4: Cool to room temperature.
*As fast as possible

Slumping Guide
Segment 1: Ramp 300 F/hr to 1265 and hold 10 min.
Segment 2: Ramp 9999(AFAP*) to 960 and hold 40 min.
Segment 3: Cool to room temperature.
*As fast as possible

NOTE: Kilns fire diffidently. Test fire these guides in your kiln and then make adjustments as needed.

Pumpkin Patch Bowl, 10 1/2 Inch

Uroboros Glass - System 96®
Marigold Opal, 60-355-96, 1 Sq. FT. for Base
Yellow Stringer & Frit on Clear, 13-2602-96, 1 Sq. Ft. for Top
Oasis Green Opal & Dark Green Opal, 60-77-96, Scrap for Stem
Cherry Red Transparent Frit, F1-151-96, Powder

Dust mask, sifter, 11-inch slumping mold

Check out the Pumpkin Patch Bowl Video!
Pumpkin Patch Bowl Video Tutorial

There’s still time to Register! 

Advanced Glass Fusing with Lisa Vogt
October 18-21, 2016
Personalized Instruction, 4-Day, Hands-on Workshop
Lisa’s Private Studio, Wesley Chapel, FL
Seats are limited. Register today!

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Upcoming Webinars

Make a Fused Glass Sink, November 10, 2016
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