Friday, 2 March 2012

The first firing...

So, I have the kiln, but no glass! The kiln arrived earlier than expected and I had decided to visit Warm Glass rather than mail order it. The shop only opens weekdays and as I work in a college, the only time I can visit is in the holiday, so the timing wasn’t great.

Back to the book for advice. Now, glass that is going to be fused together has to have the same coefficient of expansion. In other words, when it gets hot, it all has to heat up and expand at the same rate or it makes the glass unstable. In general, it’s best to use the same make as well, so I decided on Bullseye. No particular reason for the choice!

Never having been blessed with patience, I dragged husband to Creative Glass. I wandered around helplessly for about ½ an hour and then decided to ask for help. Great advice from these guys as well, I came away with a variety of glass, a glass cutter, stringers (long spaghetti shaped pieces of glass in different colours), confetti (very thin glass pieces in different colours) and some copper sheet.

Prepare the kiln – the shelf and kiln base must be protected to stop the glass from sticking to them. The kiln wash supplied with the kiln came as a powder and when mixed with water, looks like kaolin; it needed 4 coats, allowing it to dry between coats. This seemed to take forever!

Then a pre-fire just to make sure the shelf is dry. Excitement! I follow the instructions to the letter and fire the kiln to 500°. It works!

So now to test the kiln. The book says to try coasters and I bought some pre-cut 4” squares to start with. I started simple; well, I wasn’t sure it was going to work (I have very little faith in myself) I set the kiln to the basic setting - another reason for selecting this kiln is it has an idiot-proof setting that you can start with.

And this was the result!

Before & after

Not too shabby! There did seem to be lots of bubbles; I emailed the very helpful people at Warm Glass and they said there could be a couple of reasons:
· Temperature raised too rapidly
· The stringers and confetti trap the air
Now, I had used the fast programme, so that’s something to change next time!

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