How do I get my pieces to be round?
Well you simply have to grind down all your bits of
glass so they are round before assembling and firing…….. NOT….. I actually
had a few students who had been taught that you needed to do that! The
simple truth is that, unlike the women of today, glass has a burning desire
to be round. It will round up all by itself if you give it the chance.
However, you have to have enough volume of glass for it to do that. You
will be enlightened as you read on…..
Should I use thin or standard thickness of glass (1.5mm
Many people choose to use 1.5mm art glass on the bottom
and top layers because they want to keep their pieces light in weight. While
this may seem prudent, I don’t do it and no one has ever complained about
the weight of my work. I DO use 1.5mm dichroic glass. I find that if you
use 1.5mm art glass as the base your piece won’t have enough liquid volume
of glass to round up nicely. In addition, if you are making a pendant the
mandrel sinks into the base a little and the back of the channel will be too
thin. I use 3mm clear on top for the same reasons – an adequate volume of
liquid glass to round up nicely. In addition, 3mm clear on top lends a
better optical effect. As with everything, you should experiment for
yourself and see what you think.
Why is my piece larger/smaller than it started out?
OK, here’s the thing…. Glass wants to be ¼” thick. If you
start out with a piece that you stacked up an inch or so then it is going to
flatten out and get wider so it can be ¼”. If you start out with 2 thin
layers of glass then it will pull in, rounding up, so it can reach ¼” in
height. Rephrased – if it is less than ¼” when you start, it will round up
to reach ¼”. If it is higher than ¼” it will flatten out and spread so it
can shorten to ¼”. Think of it as baking cookies - you spoon a little ball
of dough onto the cookie sheet and as it bakes it spreads out becoming
larger around but flatter... same thing with glass.
Some glass is repelling.
When layering glass you need to know that you shouldn’t
place dichroic coating to dichroic coating as the coating repels itself.
UNLESS, you stack other pieces on top so they melt around and hold them
together. Iridized coatings will also repel each other and dichroic
Stacking dichroic glass:
If you are going to stack layers of dichroic glass one on
top of the other, always stack UP the rainbow, i.e. Red is on the bottom,
Orange next up with Violet on top. Dichroic glass will change in the kiln
and, while red seems fairly transparent, it will be very opaque once fired
and you will not see the glass underneath. (Rainbow = Red, Orange, Yellow,
Green, Blue, Violet).
Naming conventions for dichroic glass:
Dichroic glass colors have 2 names, i.e. magenta/green.
The first color is the transmitted color, or the color you see when you hold
clear dichro up to the light…. It’s the color that goes thru the glass. The
second color is the reflected color, the surface color. The reflected color
is the one we mostly care about when fusing jewelry. It is VERY important
that you understand this so you can buy the colors you want and make the
pieces look the way you want them to. Magenta/Green is GREEN not magenta!
Green/Magenta IS Magenta!! Specialty colors and Premium colors only have one
name like Salmon or Candy Apple Red.
Figuring out which color name is what color!!
Probably the single most difficult thing when using
dichroic glass is learning which color is which and training your eye to
know the unfired colors before you make your pieces. The colors shift, some
manufacturers’ colors shift more than other. When using CBS dichroic glass,
the only colors that shift much are the golds and reds. See the color chart
below as I’ve annotated it to indicate which colors shift.
Which side is the dichroic side?
It’s hard to tell which side is coated sometimes so it
takes practice. There are a few methods for doing this. Take any sharp,
pointy object and hold the point to the glass. If the reflection of the
point touches the actual point then that is the coated side. If there is a
space (equal to the depth of the glass) between the point and it’s own
reflection, then that is the non-coated side. Another method is to tip the
glass at a 45 degree angle. If you can see the edge of the glass thru the
surface then it is most likely the non-coated side. Note that the color you
see reflected at this angle closely relates to the after firing color as
well. Some colors are harder than others. In every class I have at least one
student make a pair of earrings with one up and one down….sometimes I even
do it myself <smile>.`