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Friday, September 10, 2010

Half a dragonfly and its looking good so far!

Yay, I checked the kiln first thing this morning and couldn't wait to saw the rough ends off my half dragonfly cane..... what a charming way to wake the kids at 6.30am I was thinking!!!!!

Here is a pic of the two dodgy ends of the half cane I cut. Seeing as the lobes are transparent they are quite difficult to photograph unless you are looking up into the sky with some light behind. This morning is really foggy here which has been very handy, sort of like a natural version of a light tent! Anyway, as you can see I opted for a very fine thin tail with the thicker body and head. The gather was quite large before I pulled and I really struggled on my Minor torch to get the heat built up enough to pull, therefore there was a bit of distortion and the side that was supposed to be flat.... isnt! I may yet have some tears and swearing trying to get the two sides together neatly, but sometimes it just sorts itself out in the wash. One trick is to heat the first side quite a bit (making sure it is the more circular one) and pressing lightly on the marver to re-flatten the side prior to applying the second part. I will use the right side cane in this photo first and re-flatten it so it should fit together a bit better - will see!

I reckon that I will try to heat the tail end after the two pieces are together and bend it a bit to one side then refill the hole with clear. I think it will look more natural and way cuter to do it that way, but it will depend on how soft the clear is, I don't want a tiny hook on the end instead!
I am finding that increasingly I am listening to what Loren Stump told me and are leaving the final cane really thick. I am just slicing off a piece when I want one and pulling down to bead sized when I want and the good thing is that as a result I am now building up rather a nice stash of complex murrini canes in a more compact form rather than loads of long skinny rods.
I thought I might try another experiment with some of the large slices too. Once tumble polished I have some sheet 104 glass and I am going to try to fuse a slice onto that for a pendant.... might be interesting at any rate. Hopefully I won't end up with a marble on a plinth like I did once before when trying to fuse some tiny murrini onto scrap glass.....doh!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hmmmm, maybe its time for something other than a butterfly..

Yep, I have not been butterflied out yet...... but getting there. I finished up a pink/white butterfly today and if I can get some decent sun I will get a pic and pop it up. To be honest the combination of white and pink is a bit wishy washy. I think it needs a dark colour around the lobes to differentiate them somewhat and also reckon that the wings would look better with something quite dark at the edges.... lesson learnt! I have drawn myself up a line drawing butterfly on MS Paint which I can use as a way to plan some colour combo's using coloured pencils before taking the plunge in glass. I think it might help rather than just trying random things and then being a little dissapointed.

My next project (that I am half way through) is to make.....da dada da ..... a Dragonfly. Yeah I know that anyone reading this is probably groaning to themselves, but I have approached it quite differently to the butterfly in some respects. I decided to make three slightly different graduated lobes in transparent blue, each lighter than the previous one with a black thincoat on the outside. The plan was to have the darker lobes closer to the body of the dragonfly and use the lighter ones on the outside, pop a little bit of clear in as a filler then more black thincoat around the outside to give a sort of delicate graduated blue veined effect of a delicate dragonfly's wing. Here is a pic of the plan (which I had to be very careful to pick up the right coloured lobe in correct order) and a bit of the bodgy end slice so you can see how it has gone thus far.

I have cut the good part of the cane into two segments which I will put together tonight into one side of the dragonfly. I am still thinking of how to approach the thinner tail end of the body and are inclined to leave the clear surround a bit thinner, so that I can put a slight twist in the tail when I construct the final two peices together and then fill with clear to make round...... hmmmm, still got the brain matter working on that one!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Half is better than none!

Well after the disaster yesterday morning with the butterfly murrini wing, in a fit of stubborn bloody-mindedness I went back for round two last night (about 10pm) . I sawed the remaining wing in half to give me two sides once again, ramped it up slowly and made my white/green butterfly. I got to bed about 2am but felt a bit less cranky about the whole thing. Its extremely irritating that I have ended up with half of the volume of cane, but that is much better than none at all....... I will admit the need to repeat this to myself each time I look at the cane! I also had to pull it rather smaller diameter than I would have liked because of the small volume at 1.5cm, but they will still be quite usable.

I have chopped the cane in half and thought I would slice one half up into slices to tumble to application to beads and leave the other little bit for pulling into small bead sized diameter later if I feel like it.

Next project: a Pink/purple and white butterfly with some playing about with edge colouring etc. and to stop being a wuss about starting the face of my complex fish murrini. The scales and the eye is done, but I keep putting it off.... just don't want to ruin the work so far I think!

Monday, September 6, 2010

White butterfly disaster has struck!!!!!!!!

Hmmm, well I had better come clean on here when things astray too!

I have been thinking about the butterfly murrini and colours and stuff and thought that I would make a white butterfly with green lobes.... hopefully it won't look like a moth dressed up as a butterfly, but it would be worth a play around at any rate.

I made the graduated green lobes which was fine and they came out really nicely. I dedided that I would put yellow surrounded by some clear for the small dots on the wings to try and make it sort of "delicate" and that turned out quite well. I made a couple blue/green dots for some extra oomph and they came out ok..... see for yourselves, this pic taken this morning just before attempting to put together for the final pull!

Being lazy and yet, in a bit of a hurry, I decided to ramp my kiln up very quickly and to avoid some crack-a-lacking when introduced into the flame put it on 560C. Well, rather than let the components soak somewhat at this temp I just couldn't wait and as soon as it it the top temp I got my first part out......... Crack time.... yep, huge big splitting nearly in half nasty cracks with bits falling off and completely ruining one half of my cane. Needless to say I was grateful for the kids all being at school, because there was some nasty swearing (even the FG one - F#@ Glass).
Once I had killed most of that side of the butterfly I was then left thinking..... what the hell do I do now? I decided to pop it back into the kiln and see if there is some decent slices to be had off the cane for fusing or polishing and left the other intact cane in there and put the lot back through a long annealling cycle. I am going to cut the one good half in half again and try putting those together in a more measured and careful manner.
Remember folks..... the murrini never forgives and is a card holding member of the Murphy's Law of cocking up!!!!!