Monday, September 5, 2011

Jelly Beans from Leftovers

I've got lots of scrap glass.  It is taking over the limited work area I have.  Without weighing it, I'd guess there are at least 25 pounds of small scrap pieces.  When I cut a piece of glass I throw the cut offs that are irregular in shape or too small to store upright in old buckets.  I now have about 3 of these.  I think the buckets are from old ice cream containers from when the kids were little.  See - I never through "useful" things out.  They probably held two or three gallons of ice cream and have nice lids and handles.  Full of scrap they are in the ten pounds of glass range.

In a bit of a clean up mode a few weeks ago as I was packing up stuff to take with me to Corning.  I couldn't just throw all that scrap away.  The biggest bucket is of Spectrum 96 glass.  I'd built this very wonderful strip cutting machine which I blogged about previously.  I tried a few scraps and cut a bunch of half inch squares.  I got on a roll and had about a hundred in a few minutes.  Now what to do with them?  Well, glass wants to be 1/4" and round by its nature.  That spurred a thought.  Lay out the squares on a kiln shelf and get 'em hot.  One round 12" kiln shelf holds about three hundred squares.    

After several rounds of firing I had a small bag of these beans weighing about three pounds.  I did take pictures of them laying on a shelf - but my stupid camera phone munged the pictures.  I fired hot and fast and ran about four batches.  I ended up with a bag of glass jelly beans.  Square shapes make nice rounded half-domes.  Irregular shapes are interesting as well. Now I had to do something with them.  Here is a picture of some of the raw beans.

I have some nice fusing rings that fit in my small kiln.  I used a 10" ring here.  I found out in the first run that you really need to make sure to pack the beans so that they touch other beans in a couple of places.  Otherwise you'll get a few beans that aren't stuck together.  Here are pictures of the beans packed in the ring and a close up.

After fusing it comes out as a plate with lots of holes - very lacy effect.  Note that this version has two beans that didn't fuse.  There is one on the outer edge at the two o'clock position.  The other is harder to spot.

Final step was to slump the plate into a bowl.  I have a wonderful mold that fits my baby kiln.  I slumped it nicely but when opened the kiln you can see that the mold had CRACKED.  I don't like that, but the glass was fine - very strange.  Very costly.  

 This is a nice low bowl - not sure what I'll do with it, but it is much nicer as a present for someone rather than throwing it into the landfill.  From the top you can't see much, but from the side its rather nice.

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