Monday, October 15, 2012

Zentangling at 3000 RPM - Glass Engraving

I spent hours engraving my Picasso fused glass on Saturday, and here are the results - note that these pieces aren't finished yet!

Some close-ups:

All these pieces were photographed wet; here is what they look like dry:

When the top layer of glass is removed, as it is during engraving, the glass turns chalky gray when dry - so these pieces all have to be fire polished (guess what I'll be doing tomorrow?)

A little more about engraving: I used a Dremel with a diamond bit; the Dremel is set to its fastest speed, and then held like a pencil, essentially, and I glided it around the glass, removing color where ever I wanted to put a pattern. I decided to use Zentangle patterns for these pieces, because I know I can Zentangle, but I really can't draw freehand, so you won't be seeing many flowers, butterflies, etc. on my glass!

But just imagine trying to Zentangle with a felt tip marker rotating at 3000 RPM! Every time the Dremel touches the glass, it removes the pretty color, leaving black behind. I accidentally touched the glass many times, but tried to hide my boo-boos in the designs.

This set-up for engraving was almost perfect;

The Pyrex bowl is full of water, and holds the foam sponge perfectly. The sponge is saturated, and dampens a lot of the vibration from the Dremel. The piece has to stay wet while engraving, so every time it dried a little, I just barely pressed the glass down into the sponge, and it was covered in water again. Sometimes, I just held it down a tiny bit and engraved while the tip of the bit was actually in the thin layer of water. The drawback to this set up was that my elbow was resting on the table for support, and to steady it, but my wrist had to rest on the edge of the Pyrex dish, and the angle was awkward, and eventually pretty uncomfortable. Suffering for one's art, you know.

Tomorrow: cutting these pieces into their finished shapes, and fire-polishing them.

Interesting aside:
These pieces are 3 layers thick, the top layer being some embellishing pieces:

They are fired face-down, and the weight of the glass makes the embellishing layer sink into the layers below it (above it, in the kiln):

This is really obvious when the pieces are viewed from the side:

I think this is really cool - you can see how the embellishments just sink down into the 2nd layer, leaving the 2nd layer looking wavy.

The other interesting thing about these side views is that I can see I didn't get a full fuse - close, but not quite. So the next time I fire, I'll need to go a little higher with the final temp. These pieces are fine - and probably no one would notice but me anyway. But the embellishment pieces should have flowed a bit more to meet the second layer.

I'll get it right next time!


Shelley Graham Turner said...

OM Goodness that is amazing! I want to try this - it looks so cool. I love it!! So worth waiting for every post in order to see your progress...WOW!!

BackstoryBeads said...

These are going to make exquisite focals! You look like you're having so much fun with this - and you've penned the BEST post title I've read in ages! said...

Nice work - Its funny how each person does zentangle a bit differently and you so many patterns - these look great cant wait to see them fire polished