Friday, March 9, 2018

Making fused glass jewelry: glass scenery pendants

For the last two years, I've mainly been working with shiny dichroic glass. Lately, I've been working with other types of glass so I can make different kinds of pieces. Now that I finally have a professional website, I need to increase the variety.

I really like plain, old Bullseye sheet glass. Bullseye is the glass-making factory where most outlets get their materials. They make every color imaginable and it's all hand-pulled. It's actually kind of cool to see it being made because it looks a bit like the artists are pulling taffy. Because it's made this way, each sheet is slightly different.

My favorite sheet glass comes from a series called "Streakies." When I first read that name, I laughed because I have the sense of humor of a teenage boy. But it's not called this after naked folks running through a field. The glass has streaks of color, which allows for depth and shading when making pieces.

The streaked glass works really well for scenery pendants. When you deep fire dichroic glass, it'll hold its shape because the dichro is actually a coating on top of the glass. So a thoroughly-fired square patch will still look like a square. However, the sheet glass melts more intensely and the colors bleed into each other. You can't quite mix them the way you would with paint, but you can set them up so they run together.

I had some beautiful scenic glass decals, so I decided to try my hand at making sunset pendants. I layered red, orange and pink glass to make my sunset sky and fired the piece until the glass was fully melted and blended:

I then added the decals to finish the scenic effect. I love the reds and oranges, but you can use blues to create an ocean scene or greens and rainbow colors to design a field of flowers. I'm not a great painter, but these scenic pendants are prompting me to arrange the glass in realistic color sequences. Most of my designs are abstract, but I've been looking at photos, as well as the actual outdoors so I can get a better idea of how to use the glass for shading. For instance, you can depict an ocean scene by simply having a blue bottom half of the pendant. However, it looks much more realistic if you combine navy and turquoise blues, and have a touch of white thrown in for the foamy tops of the waves.

Today at Stein Senior Center, I had my students play around with sheet glass. I first had them make an abstract pendant, arranging the colors any way they liked. I then had them arrange pieces in more natural color combos. I'm firing their work right now and am excited to see how theirs turned out. Once they get the hang of it, we'll move on to adding the decals.

The great thing about fused glass is it's so versatile. You can sculpt with it, use it in mosaics or use it almost as paint. I'm eager to try everything!

Check out my NEW website, Naomi's Designs, for my latest jewelry and art pieces, news and craft fairs.

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