Friday, March 27, 2009

Working on Glass Wind Chimes




I was asked recently if I would be willing to donate items to a couple of fund raising auctions.  I am a sucker for making stuff for a good cause.  Plus, having a concrete reason to create something (and having a deadline!) gets me working in the studio.  For each auction I decided to make a fused-glass wind chime and a knitted bag of some sort.  I'm posting pictures of my work so far on these two wind chimes to show-and-tell how I make them...



This is my beloved kiln, by the way.  I bought it from the man who owned the jewelry studio where I worked before Nick was born.  I spent HOURS making beads in it for the jewelry studio.  I just realized this week that it might be 30 years old, but I'll have to check with my buddy Carolyn, who was the studio manager and worked there way before me.  Nowadays you can buy kilns to use to fuse glass that are totally programmable.  Luckily I'm an old school kind of gal.  


For these two pieces I decided to make flower shapes out of copper wire and fuse them between clear glass for the body of the pieces.  For the hanging/chiming parts I planned on scavenging spring-ish colors from the miscellaneous glass that I have.  


My layout plan:




This is a shelf full of finished hanging parts for two wind chimes.  I fused a strip of clear glass on top of the strips of colored glass and included copper-wire rings at the top for hanging.  This picture shows you the size limitation that I have to work with in the kiln... the kiln shelf that I use is about 8"x9" - 



I divided up the parts  for the two pieces - 




While the hanging parts were in the kiln I figured out the layout of the flowers and the ring placement for the main part...

 


Ready to go in the kiln...





And the body of the piece after fusing in the kiln -  



I had to take a picture when I saw the late afternoon sun shining on it.  This is a good shot of the kiln paper that I use to keep the glass from sticking to the shelf.  The paper basically turns to powder after being in the kiln.  Nasty-for-your-lungs powder.  Maybe someday I'll try kiln wash on the shelf instead, but for now I'm careful not to breath this stuff.






This final shot shows the clear glass better than the first picture.  I decided that I wanted to hang an additional something from the bottom of one of the hanging parts , so I used a heart pendant that I already had.  For the second wind chime I will fuse a little copper wire flower in clear glass to use instead....




3 comments:

Sharkeysday said...

OH I Love this! It's absolutely lovely! I wish we had sound-o-blogging so we could hear how it sounds tho!

Holli said...

I really would love one of those chimes! I love those!! Seriously. I have a deck that would be the perfect place. How fragile are they?

Studiowhimsy said...

That's a great question. All of the glass parts are almost 1/4" thick (two layers of glass) and cooled slowly in the kiln to anneal them, which really seems to strengthen them. As I was getting ready to put this wind chime together I accidentally dropped one of the hanging parts onto the hard (ceramic) tile floor and it did NOT break!! I was totally shocked (and RELIEVED!). That showed me how they could stand up to clinking together in the wind...!