I’d like to share with you a step by step into how I make my most popular design and what inspired this design.
I’m fascinated by macrophotography and this is a design that came as a result of looking at bamboo leaves on a recent trip to the tropics and thinking about chlorophyll as you do. Here’s a brief overview of what it does.
“Inside chloroplasts are stacks of flat disks, called thylakoids. Their shape helps them absorb lots of sunlight. Chlorophyll is in the outlayer of the thylakoids. The chlorophyll is also arranged in flat circles, to help absorb sun. Chlorophyll uses sunlight to split water apart. This separates oxygen and hydrogen atoms so they can be used to make energy.” See how fascinating Chlorophyll is? So I wanted to recreate this in glass somehow. Here’s what I came up with.
To start making this piece I put a piece of green glass (moss green its called) in the kiln and cover it with dichroic glass of all shapes and sizes and then cover this with a layer of clear art glass.
In order to avoid capturing bubbles between this layer and the top clear layer, I put some dark green double layers throughout the piece. If you want to know more about dichroic glass please feel free to read this previous post I wrote on it:
When this is tack fused its really lumpy with loads of air bubbles that have been caught between the dichroic glass and the clear so I cut upside down on a very soft surface. I cut this “part sheet” as they are called into strips that are exactly 2cm wide.
The length of the strip doesn’t matter with this design because its designed to look like short segments of stems. The segments are separated by 1mm sized gaps. When the work is finished it then looks like segmented bamboo – well, that’s what I’m aiming at anyway!
I then put the glass into the kiln for a tack fuse. That is when the glass doesn’t completely melt flat into the base glass but only slightly melts into it – it fuses. You can see that there is still some dimension left on the surface of the glass above.
When the strips are ready I put them into the design. I cut them into the patterns that resembles transparent plant shoots.
Then I cut a full sheet of clear art glass into the base strips that I need for the end product, and cut a full sheet of Moss Green into the appropriate sizes for the sides of the design.
In this instance it is 350mmx200mm. I cut using just a regular oil-filled glass cutter and a square edged ruler.
Then with a thin 1cm clear strip separating the centre dichroic/sparkling chloropyll features and a 2.5cm strip separating the edge strips, the piece is now ready to full fuse.
Sometimes the glass comes with an uneven edge (this is because it is double machine rolled – somewhat like rolling out pastry – more on this in another blog).
By the way, all glass colours have an identifying number to assist with efficient ordering and accuracy,
Once this has been washed and dried and reconstructed, this “blank” is put into the kiln to full fuse. This firing schedule depends on your own kiln. My full fuse works really well at 766 degrees, but other people need to take their kilns to 804 degrees to achieve full fuse.
Everyone who does kiln work keeps a log book of what works and what doesn’t in their kilns. And it may depend on where an item sits in the kiln etc etc. A lot of glass gets used in experimentation! As you can see, some designs get 2 strips of “sparkling chlorophyll” design and some smaller glass pieces get one strip. You can let me know what you’d like for your bespoke Sparkling Chlorophyll piece.
Ok, now you have a clean dry finished work, but it is perfectly FLAT!
This is not what the customer wanted, of course, they wanted a shape as well as a design, so when I am 100% happy with my finished blank – I select a mold and put the work onto (or into) the required mold. I have a wall full of molds to choose from.
When the glass slumps into the internal shape of the mold the piece is complete. To do this I put the kiln on to a much lower temperature than for the full fuse because the glass just needs to soften to take the shape, it doesn’t need to fully melt to incorporate other pieces of glass.
In my kiln, I take this only to about 676 degrees and sometimes less than that depending on the thickness of the glass and the glass type.
And the next thing you know – Voila! It is ready to sell to someone who will hopefully treasure it for a lifetime – perhaps it will even become a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation to be enjoyed.
So we have a finished piece of art. I put a sticker on it and wrap it and deliver it to the gallery who have ordered it or the customer who wants it.
And that’s it! Lots of love and care goes into each unique piece. That’s how an idea becomes a modern funky functional object! Thanks for reading to the end.Tags: art glass bespoke orders chloroplast coaster making dichroic dichroic glass glass art glass making green glass handmade Jenie Yolland jenieyolland.com melbourne artist moss green sparkling Sparkling Chlorophyll thylakoids