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Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Time Event
Saturday at Temperchi
Melinda and I put in 7 hours at Temperchi today practicing what we learned last week at The Crucible. I pulled maybe 6 blanks and made: a very small open-mouth jar; a couple of bottles; a fluted foot; a compound project. I seem to be getting better at blowing bubbles that are round and on-center. Using a lot more heat at the torch helps (I expect we burned a lot more propane today than in most weekends we've been at Temperchi). Also helps is practicing, of course, and finding an effective position for my hands. My left hand is overhand, my right (dominant) is underhand, and so I can lift the point to my mouth to blow without changing hand position. I also just roll the glass between my fingers, rather than rotate it in only one direction. So I never let go of the glass, and I always have control and balance of the piece.

I'm still having trouble reliably removing the blow tube from the top of a bubble -- thin necks close back up easily. Heating the bubble in order to heat the gas inside and add pressure definitely helps. Jay's suggestion was to direct the flame into the hole as soon as it opens, and that'll naturally open it up. I've also been using the reamer to carefully coax the glass apart. Today I spent all my time working with smaller tubing and standard wall thickness, rather than the 1" thick-wall material from last weekend, and so my work was correspondingly smaller.

I experimented a bit with twisting the blank: apply lateral stringers and then twist. I like the effect; I'll learn tomorrow how well it turned out. My first try failed when the blank cracked; too much fussing around looking for stringers I didn't have. The second used portland grey and light ruby and I think will look good if I kiln struck the ruby correctly. I made a second vase using only portland, and then made a fluted foot and a latticino stem to make a 3-piece object. That was exciting: some garaging, some assembly, some fussing around to make everything straight, and then opening the top of the bottle only at the very last step (when I could still break everything). We'll see tomorrow how it looks when I pull it from the kiln.

I'm pretty happy with the compound project, not only because I think it may look nice but because it's the first compound project I've made outside of class (and and only the third ever -- the other two at the class last weekend). Garaging pieces had been a mystery to me; in fact, the mystery was whether the punties outside the kiln would get hot (they don't). Also part of the mystery is planning the assembly steps. Starting from the base and working up works well, because you can held the base with the fingers and add things going up. Also would work to start with the bottle and go down, if the bottle's the last thing to be made and can be held by the top.

Melinda and I both made latticino pieces today, more or less in tandem. I watched Tara make a latticino in the class last weekend and remembered the steps well enough to repeat them today: make two slabs of clear, about 1" x 2" x .25"; warm one and apply stringer; heat the other then paint it over the stringer; condense, round, twist, and pull. There's a lot more condensing and care in there as well but that's basically it. I hadn't made a good latticino before; all mine earlier attempts had been sort of thin strings between two 10mm rods. This one worked very well. I pulled it about 8" which left it about 10mm in diameter. For my goblet it's a bit heavy but will do. I may try this technique again tomorrow in order to make a marble. It's a pretty fun technique and the results can be pretty striking.

Melinda made a couple of pendants (including two from the latticino), a paperweight, and a few jars. I took a long break to watch her on the jars and help remember things we had forgotten since the class last weekend.

Pictures of all things will be along tomorrow or Monday. We go back to Temperchi tomorrow (actually, probably in about 12 hours).

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