Saturday, August 28, 2010

World's Tallest - Revisited

A week or two ago I posted an entry about what I called "The World's Tallest Vase".  You can read about that part of the story here.  Well to my surprise it actually survived the annealing process.  When I went to the studio to pick it up, I was more than shocked.  It was intact, quite uniform, and actually pretty nice.  

I couldn't photograph it in my usual set up.  I have a small table top tent and lights that most of my glass work fits into quite nicely.  However the tall pieces I'm doing now will require much different approaches to photographing.  While I contemplate that process, I thought I'd capture a snapshot of the piece and post it here.

This is a little hard to see in the photo.  It's a nice steely blue color and fairly uniform the entire length of the glass.  That doesn't usually happen.  The lip is slightly darker as it is a little bigger than the long stem.  The bottom still needs grinding in order for it to stand by itself.  However, I don't think it will be standing on a table by itself any time soon.  If it gets displayed at all, it will have some sort of mechanical help to stand up.  Perhaps I should cast a hand grasping it and have that anchored into the wall.

By the way this thing stands 53" high.  That is four feet and five inches!  Now, that is certainly the tallest thing I've ever created.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The World's Tallest Vase?

I don't have pictures yet, as the piece is still in the annealer.  It certainly won't be the world's tallest, but it will be the tallest piece I've ever made.  Or is it the longest?  Either way it is big.  

So what is "IT"?

I was glassblowing yesterday, during my normal time slot.  I am making a new series of tall vases (vessels?) that have curved, swooping tops.  Not entirely ready to post pictures, nor do I have the ability to make a decent picture of them.  Anyway, the first piece I made was a very nice vase about 16" tall.  The only problem is that is was very plain and had pretty thick walls.  I was having a little bit of trouble and accidentally bumped the pipe ever so slightly.  BONK.  The piece hit the floor.  It survived and I thought I could rescue it.  Rather than just putting it into the annealer - it would have been a good piece of "Flintstone-ware", or a good blank for carving and sandblasting.  But no, I was going to be a hero and re-punty the thing and finish it according to plan.  Almost made it too.  Got very near the end and the cold spot where it was resting on the floor for a few seconds cracked.  Oh well - 45 minutes wasted.

The second piece was much nicer.  I followed the same steps, but this time things were looking up.  However, another problem occurred.  I put bases on the tallish vessels.  This is done with a "cookie foot", basically a patty of glass.  Now I've made hundreds of them and usually pretty good.  This time I wasn't.  I did some things to correct it, but it wasn't going to be one of my best pieces.  My glass blowing partner, John, said "Keep working, you never know how it will look finished, and you can cold work it later".  OK, keep pushing through the piece.  

It was very hot and humid yesterday, actually the entire last two months, and I just wanted to finish the piece.  To stretch the neck, you get it pretty hot and swing it out.  I wasn't paying attention and got it rip roaring hot.  Usually, I don't work that hot as it is easy to lose control of the piece.  I started the stretch and it was going quite well.  Going fast, too.  I kept letting it drop down.  The base of the piece is six or seven inches across and the neck tapers down to about an inch and a half.  And there is a lot of neck.  Kinda like a giraffe.  There is a a wide mouth at the very top which is probably three inches wide.

Getting it knocked off the pipe was a lot easier than I thought.  Getting it into the annealer wasn't.  The annealer is about 54" long and 24" wide, and pretty deep.  There were already some big pieces in there so there was about 48" of length to put the piece.  I put it in and it didn't fit.  I had to lean it up against the far wall.  At least I avoided placing it against the elements!  I don't think it'll slump, but who knows.

I have no idea if the thing will even stand up, or be worth finding a way to stabilize it.  But it sure was fun, and it rates a story here.  A real conversation piece.

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's Corning Time Again

Time is fast approaching for my semi-annual trek to one of the mother land's of glass and glass instruction - The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass.  I've been accepted into Daniel Clayman's "Mold Making for Glass Casting" workshop.  Here is what the official description of the session 

This course is intended for sculptors wanting to explore kiln-casting glass using plaster molds. Students will explore the how and the why of a broad array of casting concerns. Using the students' work as a platform for demonstrations, the course will cover a range of topics, including mold recipes, wax-working techniques, rubber mold making, glass sources, kiln requirements, and more. Students may make an object or two, but the emphasis will be on learning the process, not leaving with completed objects. 

The description also says some sculpting skills required.  I'm not entirely convinced right now of this.  Of course, this is what I always think prior to attending a workshop!

I've known about this since early May.  Every week I've thought about what I want to make / learn in the session.  But there always seemed to be time for it later.  Well, looking at the calendar, I have a little over two weeks to get off my butt and get ready.  

As inspiration, I'm posting this picture which was in the Corning catalog for the summer sessions this year.

I'm not going this big or anything close.  We've been limited to a size of about 6" on a side.  Given we only have a week, casting anything larger isn't feasible. 

Time to get going...