Saturday, February 19, 2011

I'm Back!

It was before Halloween 2010 the last time I posted.  Not that I don't have a lot to say.  Well, maybe I don't after all.  I'm been extremely busy during the fall and winter.  And I've just been in the glass doldrums for a while.  I suspect that the extremely cold weather has had a bunch to do with that.  

It's been a very cold winter here in Michigan.  I think there were very long periods to time when the high for the day was about 10 to 15 degrees Farenheit.  My sheet glass and tools are in the garage.  Way too cold to even stand there for five minutes.  My pole barn (my workshop) which has the coldworking tools is heated, but I keep in down low to probably 45 degrees most of the time.  This prevents things from freezing and water from condensing and rusting onto the surfaces of equipment like table saws.  I can turn it up and it'll get quite comfortable in about 30 minutes, but walking out there and starting work just didn't seem like fun.

I'm getting ready for spring.  And starting to think about glass again.  I've sold a lot of pieces at the gallery in Lansing and that is nice to get a check every month for a couple of pieces or so.  I need to gear up for glass.  I haven't blown glass since November and am looking forward to it some more.  

I'm always on the look out for new tools.  I find them in the strangest places.  I found this one last summer in the local Bed, Bath, and Beyond store.  

You are probably asking - what is the "tool" that idiot is blathering about.  Well, its the "Baking Mat".  It's a baking sheet made of silicone.  It is meant to line a cookie sheet and prevents baked items from sticking or burning.  If it can stand 450+ degree temperature then it should be pretty durable.  I can't remember the dimensions but it is a "Full Sheet" size, 17" x 34" or thereabouts.  

I found that clay doesn't stick, wax doesn't stick, and it cleans up very easy.  I've actually poured hot wax directly on the sheet.  I built dams from clay, and then poured the hot wax directly into the dammed area.  Once cooled it was completely flat and perfect.  Peeling off the clay dams was easy and then the wax model just popped off.  No fuss, no muss.  

One more silicone item I picked up was a mini-muffin mold.  I didn't get the full size muffin mold but that will be a future acquisition.  The mini-muffin mold makes a dozen small muffins.  I just pour leftover wax into the mold, let cool, and then pop out discs of wax.  These can be easily stored and re-melted in the future.  You can see one of the wax muffins off to the right side of the mat in the picture.