Intaglio Printing and Glass

I am making new glass pieces for an installation at ForM Bangor Walled Garden, sculpture exhibition. This is a version of “Brave New World” that is currently installed at the Sculpture Park Kerikeri New Zealand. This work is part of a series that explores themes of connection, place, and what it may feel like to be an immigrant or as someone perceived as an outsider. I use glass fragments of fingerprints represent this connection between people, place and the fragile symbiotic relationship between immigrants and their new home. The fingerprints were collected from people in New Zealand and Northern Ireland. The making process consists of intaglio printmaking into a plaster plate, the fingerprints are etched into the plate, the etched lines are filled with powdered glass, a further layer of frit, crushed glass is then added and fused in a kiln.

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Small Works – Results

Well the results are in, the point of research is to document the failures as well as the successes, there is knowledge to be learned from failure, so in this instance failure equals success.
I made a pretty basic error in firing these small cubes (no longer cubes), I thought it would be an effective use of time and money to fire the four cubes at once, wrong. The dam setup was inadequate for the amount of glass, this very blurred photo shows what happened. I used 6mm fibre paper as a dam between the four cubes, it worked ok on the vertical but not on the horizontal. I would imagine that the reason being the top to cubes had more glass in the stack than the bottom cubes. So going forward I will have to bite the time and money bullet and either do seperate firings or make a box to fire these little cubes in.

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Small Works

After my success with the 10x10x5 stack fused pieces I am creating four small works that should be 5x5x5 cm when fused. I have decided on three of the designs, a sphere in a cube, words that will form a cube within a cube and a smaller version of synapses. I am using laser printed decals so these images should come out red as in the third image.

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Synapse – The Glass Prize

This is the finished piece “synapse”, 10x10x5 cm that I have entered into  The Glass Prize. Warm Glass UK. This piece explores the complex notions of memory. It is a visual representation of the neural networks in the human brain that are involved in memory and recall.


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Casting and Images

This week I am attending a course at Schoolhouse Glass with Alison Lowry. We have been casting thick pieces using decals, screen printing with enamels, making lenses, and casting textures. Loads of things in the kiln and really looking forward to seeing what comes out. The images below are: decals, lens, relief plaster casts from some of my printmaking plates, thick blocks in the kiln, screen printed enamels.

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Results Working Deep

I have been making the components for a new thick piece. The images below show the results of the second firing and all the parts stacked. The first firing was a tack fuse on a single 3mm sheet of tekta, with a laser decal. It is so frustrating that these pieces have bigger bubbles. The only thing different in my process was the shelf primer. I used Primo Primer, coated the shelves and pre-fired according to the instructions. So it is back to the beginning with this work.

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Working Deep Results

Pretty pleased with the fired block. Yes there are some bubbles, but nothing more than usual. I am not sure I like the effect of the Irid glass strips on the sides, so next test will be without these and a layer of Thin Fire along with the fiber paper, doubble rolled clear in place of the Tekta should reduce the bubbles.
There are little dents at the bottom corners, I do not know what caused these, but need to find out before I do the next block. This piece consists of two bottom layers of 3mm clear, 4 6mm prefired pieces, two 3mm clear inbetween the pre-fired pieces and finnaly 3 layers f 3mm clear on top. Measures 10x10x5 cm.
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Firing a Thick Block

I am testing firing a thick block using the instructions in the Bullseye tip sheet on Working Deep. I decided to use the second option to construct the block from 4 pre-fired pieces and the rest clear 3mm sheet, with iridescent glass for the sides. As this is a test I used spare tiles from previous tests. The tiles were printed using both screen printed powders and a lazer printed decal, so I am hoping the decal does not move about in the firing.


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I am firing in a Skutt 14, so my process temp is 790c not 804c.
Here is the suggested schedule from the Bullseye tip sheet.
Second Firing of Double-Fired Block
1                    400°F (222°C)          1250°F (677°C)           1:15
2                   600°F (333°C)            1480°F (804°C)           :10
3                    AFAP**                      960°F (516°C)           7:00
4                   9°F (5°C)                      800°F (427°C)             :00
5                   17°F (9°C)                    700°F (371°C)              :00
6                   57°F (31°C)                  75°F (24°C)                   :00

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Testing New Kiln

Thanks to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland I was awarded funds to buy some equipment, materials and tools to develop my practice and research in glass fusing using printmaking techniques.  Today I am conducting the first firing in the new kiln, a Skutt Firebox 14. The kiln will hold nine 10x10cm tiles or a piece up to 30x30cm in size.

The Skutt has pre-programmed schedules which appear to be aimed at System96 glass, I am using Bullseye glass which has a coefficient of 90 therefore the firing schedules are different. Working out how the kiln fires is time and materials consuming. It has to be done. Lets see what comes out of the kiln.

I have started with the following Auto Full fuse schedule, Fast fire to a process temp of 790 degrees celsius. Using two layers of 3mm glass and one piece 2mm on top of 3mm clear.

The text and Celtic design are 3mm Opaque White Opal tack fused with powders, these are capped with 3mm clear Tekta. The Light Peach Opal with Steel Blue Opal powder is 2mm and is placed onto 3mm clear Tekta.

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Tests & Results #6

Continuing on with reactive glass and Steal Blue Opal has given some interesting results. Glass used Bullsyeye sheet Light Cream Opal and Steal Blue Opal 2mm. Powder used Reactive Ice Clear, Steal Blue Opal.
Firing: Low tack fuse to 718c.

Most interesting is Steal Blue Opal powder on Steal Blue Opal sheet.

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Steal Blue Opal powder on Steal Blue Opal sheet.

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