What is Have Kiln Will Travel?

What is Have Kiln Will Travel?

Have Kiln Will Travel (HKWT) is a fully equipped traveling fused glass studio. Six small kilns are brought on site to teach glass fusing along with a large selection of art glass, and all of the necessary tools. It is the only traveling glass studio in the United States servicing art centers and community education programs.

HKWT is truly a unique opportunity and an ongoing experiment in community education. HKWT teaches the basics, gives you the opportunity to watch your creations come alive in the kiln, and for the jewelry classes you take your works of art home that day.

When Are Events
/Classes - Use the calendar below for a complete listing of classes and their locations.

Detailed Class Information - Use the "Search Terms" section in the lower left column to find detailed blog posts regarding what is taught and what is made in the classes. There are also class specific descriptions found at the "Information Links" section in the left hand column of this blog.

Where To Register For Classes - Use the "Register For Classes" section for links to the art center or community education program that you are interested in.

Fund-Raising Events
- In addition to classes the HKWT concept can be used to raise money for your favorite charitable or nonprofit organization. Use the "Information Links" section to obtain a document with detailed information on hosting a HKWT event.

Blog Archive - Look through the blog (lower left column) for more information on projects.

Calendar Of Events & Classes

----- Have Kiln Will Travel Event Calendar ------ Registration Links Are Below Left of Calendar

Monday, July 12, 2010

Glass Weaving @ Bloomington Art Center

These are small 5 by 5 inch bowls made using the glass weaving approach. This is a great project that teaches the basics of glass cutting. In this case learning to cut exact strips is pretty basic, but can be really intimidating to the beginner. After all, how many people have experience cutting a whole series of exact 10 inch by 1/2 inch strips?

It is a great sense of accomplishment when building your confidence to cut glass to exacting measures. In one of my classes one person was seriously struggling and gave up at one point. After some encouragement and watching others having success she was determined to do it. I watched her carefully, and caught her mistake in the process, then before you knew it she exclaimed "I got it"!... and I was relieved she did.

Glass weaving is a bit of a trick. The Warp is created by placing glass strips on a mold that is nothing but a series of 'hills' and 'troughs'. When you turn the heat on in the kiln the glass slumps (bends) down into the troughs, and the glass strips are bend into a series of  "S" or sine wave shapes. The Weft is simply straight pieces of glass that you slip between the hills and valleys of the warp. After 'weaving' straight strips through all of the warp strips you then place the assembly back into the kiln to fuse it all together.

It is a bit of technical curiosity that many students find gratifying on multiple levels. For one, they learn the trick, secondly they learn to cut class, and lastly they begin to see the design potential of altering the colors and thicknesses of the weave patterns just as a cloth weaver would.

If you want to see glass weaving gone mad just take a look at the site by  Eric & Marrlow. This is one great example of a good idea taken to new heights.

I will be teaching glass weaving both at the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center and at the Bloomington Art Center this fall.

Fossil Flora : Letting Nature Speak For Herself

I've been intrigued by some recent activity in the glass fusing world of people incorporating natural objects like plants into their fusing projects. The image above was my first attempt and I was pleased with the simplicity and the delicate look of the results.Of course fossils don't come in color, but if they did they might look like these images.

So far I don't offer making fossil flora in any of my classes, but the process is simple enough so I will probably incorporate it soon. This project also uses glass paste (see prior blog posts), but this time the paste is created by sifting multiple layers of powder onto a plant.Between each sifting layer you spray the plant with just enough hair spray to wet the powder but not wash it away. With each subsequent layer the powders become thicker, and with each layer you should add different colors, tints and tones to create a complex naturalistic mixture.

What is really interesting is that the ash of the actual plant is left behind as a ghost image. You can rub it off to reveal more color or leave it.

I started experimenting with this process because I may use it in my fine art powder painting series. Maybe I'll let nature speak for herself instead of me faking it by drawing in foliage.

Drawing with Glass: Fused Glass Flower Vase

This series of images show the steps in decorating the front panel of the flower vase project using glass paste. This process is only one of many ways to decorate the front of your vase. Some may  not like this approach and may opt for other methods some of which I will show in future blog posts.

If you look closely you a piece of clear glass and been seen coving the design to the left. It is shaped like a pocket and is more pronounced in the second image where the design has been traced onto the glass with black glass paste.

The tracing process can be done in just a few minutes and does not have to be exact, because it will be partly covered in later steps. A few posts back I explained how the paste was made. For this project only the outline cartoon is created with the paste mixture and applied using a squeeze bottle. If I had all of my colors ready to go in bottles, then it would be simple to fill in the design with whatever color I wanted directly from the bottles. However, there are advantages to using straight powders instead such as ease of application, ability to mix colors, and create gradations, tints and tones.

In the third image all of the base colors have been applied using powders and a very small sifter.You can see now that some of the outline is beginning to be covered. This not only narrows the lines, but also helps tie the powder to the wet paste so that during firing they don't separate.

In the fourth image the powder is now turned to paste by applying glue through another squeeze bottle. This enables packing the powder to increase its density/opacity. The outline is now considerably thinner and the colors are fully integrated with the outline.

You can see in the green I applied two colors of green. The base layer may or may not show through depending on how thickly you apply the final layer. It helps in color blending and creating rich color interactions if you use multiple colors on both the base layer and the final layer.

One drawback however is that some colors do not mix well resulting is brown instead of a color you see when you mix the powders. This occurs mostly when you mix warm and cold colors like yellow some blues. If you want green, then you should use green powder, and then use white or black to create shades and tints, or, use other greens in combination to create a rich palette of greens.

The process including this step takes around fifteen to thirty minutes depending on the complexity of your design.

In the final image a top layer of colors has been added and pressed into the paste. Some #2 frit was randomly applied and now the 'pocket' is ready for fusing onto the back of the vase creating the pocket vase.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Design Patterns for Stained Glass & Flower Vase Projects

These are four of many patterns which will be available for use for both the Introduction to Stained Glass and Fused Glass Flower Vase classes. The complete set can be found at the "Information Links" in the left hand blog column. The patterns for the vase are size appropriately to fit on the shape of the vase.

For the vase class the pattern will be used to trace onto the glass using glass paste as explained in a prior post. Once you have the outline done then you can fill it in with whatever colored glass powder you wish. It is really easy to do and fun, because you can make any changes easily or even just draw your own design.

This is just one design approaches. There will be other options and a lot of glass to choose from to decorate the front of the vase.

The patterns for the stained glass class are all around 5 by 5 inches, and most will require less than 20 pieces of glass. That doesn't sound like much, but it is an intro class. Leaning to cut glass, grind it to shape, foil it (copper foil) and learning how to solder is a lot to absorb in one afternoon.

Getting the basics down will enable you to do more advanced work, and maybe even create your own patterns from scratch.

Download the PDF files and pick out your pattern and bring it to class!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jewelry Designs

These are examples of some of the design options you have when you attend the Fused Glass Jewelry class. All of these techniques and a lot more will be explained in class. There is a PDF available for you to read before attending the class which will help you to understand how these are other designs are created. Click here for the PDF or find it in the list of "Information Links" in the left hand column.

You will be amazed and pleasantly surprised just how easy it is to create glass art jewelry that you will be proud to wear or give as gifts.

Take for example the bracelet. You will see during class through a little viewing port in the kiln that as glass is heated it tends to gather itself into a rounded shape. The round pieces in the bracelet where actually little squares, but when heated to a high temperature the glass will gather itself into a rounded shape. If you start with a rectangle then the glass gathers into a rounded oval.

Print out the PDF and bring it to class. You will be amazed at all the options you will have in glass selection, techniques, tools, and how much you will learn by sharing everyone's ideas during the class.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Using Glass Paste In Your Designs

This blog post focuses on the use of glass paste in jewelry design. There are various names for this process, but simply put a paste is created by mixing glass powder with a somewhat viscus liquid medium. There are several commercial products on the market you can buy as your medium, Liquid Stringer being one of them. For my medium I use the recipe documented in the video Fritography by Michael Dupille. His medium is CMC based (Carboxymethyl Cellulose) which is a very slimy food additive. When glass powder is added to it the mixture is a fairly think paste which can be put into squeeze bottles and even in a cake decorator bag.

For the item in the image above I used a squeeze bottle and loaded bottles with various color mixtures.The Bullseye glass company makes a lot of different colors so your palette can be fairly extensive. However, you might find powders created by other companies better for this application. The grain size (mesh) of the powder varies a lot between Bullseye's colors. Consequently, some colors clog easily in the squeeze bottle nozzle. When this happens you have to adjust either the mixture ratio (possibly making it too runny), or, increase the nozzle size to get the paste to flow properly. A further note is that you should use a food scale in weighing out your mixture. Getting the mixture just right saves you some aggravation, and noting mixing variations between colors saves you time when making subsequent batches.

Once you have your bottles loaded the fun begins. You simply apply the paste colors in any design you want. For the pendant to the left I used black and white paste. It took a whole five minutes to do.

The steps would be to cut your glass, apply the paste, and let them dry before placing in the kiln. The last step isn't required. You cold put them in wet, but that might cause some bubbling of the liquid during the heating cycle which may distort your design.

There are several other design options. When you fire your glass you can place the piece in the kiln design side down or up. If the paste is down on the shelf then the clear glass base (now on top) will give the piece a nice sense of depth and will be glossy. If the design is up, then the finish will be more mat in appearance, and the design will shrink and distort more. In the case of an abstract design like the picture here the distortions can be pleasing.

The image to the right shows a before and after. These are very simple designs just to get the idea across. Some very intricate and large designs are possible limited only by your imagination or your budget.

The image at bottom right shows glass paste applied in an approximately 6x6 inch square. It was applied in bands of color running left to right in the order of red, black then blue which repeat several times. The mixture of paste was thin enough that a tool could be run through the liquid/paste design, leaving a trail behind. Each vertical line top to bottom is the drag-path of the tool. This technique is called cold raking. The same raking process can be done hot when the glass has been heated to a honey consistency in a kiln and a metal tool is raked through the molten glass, creating the same type of raking path. Cold raking is much safer and controllable of course, because you don't have to go into a hot kiln to do it.

I explain a lot more about the use of powders and paste at my old site (defunct but still available) called EyeCandy.