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Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Time Event
Glassworking today
Melinda and I spent 3 hours at Public Glass today. Melinda spent most of it practicing making paperweights and drawing with stringers. My goals were to practice pulling stringers (specifically, how to get uniform diameter and not super thin); making latticino; making filagree; and maybe making mushrooms.

I had some good success with stringers. I would get about an inch of colored rod to a pretty soft consistency, soft enough that it would flop over if I stopped spinning. Warm a punty a little in the flame, touch to the end of the color, wait, pull slowly a little, then pull a bit more aggressively. This worked. Pulling too aggressively too quickly makes the stringer too thin and also pulls out the center parts much more than at the ends.

Latticino worked okay, too. Warm a rod, paint on some colors, condense a lot, then pull like a stringer. My only issue now is that I don't have much need for latticino at present.

I couldn't get filagree to work. The goal is to make a corkscrew spiral in a clear rod. The technique from Essential Lampworking instructs to lay on a line of color to the side of a rod, fold the rod over to sandwich the color, shape to make a cylinder, then pull like latticino. I couldn't get the right shape: it ended up more flat in cross-section, and so when twisted and pulled all the external edges reflect the light and obscure the curled colored glass inside. I need to work on this more.

I made only one mushroom, and it was a bust. I had a latticino from last weekend so I tried making a mushroom with it. But: my clear gob was off-center, my mushroom push wasn't true, and I didn't have a clean cut to remove the latticino from the stem. Meh.

Melinda and I stopped our work when the oxygen tank ran out. Superman had installed the current tank and so I couldn't get the regulator off, even with the use of a 16" crescent wrench. Meh. Lampworking isn't a strength (or a real interest) of Public Glass, so it would seem, and it shows.
Melinda and I tried Temperchi in Mountain View last weekend. The studio is just off Shoreline and shares a small building with a janitorial service company, among other tenants. The studio itself is sort of small but big enough for 4-5 lampworking stations without crowding. Temperchi has much better tools and equipment than any of BAGI, Public Glass, and The Crucible. Being 5 minutes from my apartment is icing on the cake.

Temperchi is my current favorite studio to work at. It's conveniently located, it's clean, the infrastructure is tended to (I don't need to fuss with changing oxygen tanks on my own, for example), and lampworking isn't treated as an afterthought activity. On the down side, because it's a small operation, the open hours solely depend on Jon, who isn't always available. This weekend, for instance, Melinda and I were turned away at the last moment on both Saturday and Sunday because Jon was busy elsewhere. Still, it's the place I prefer to work at if I can get in.

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