Friday, August 29, 2008

The Kessler Craftsman Gets Fired Up

Here is an article originally published in a newsletter for glass artists. I'm reproducing it here to show some love to my long-time crafty pal, Larry a.k.a. The Kessler Craftsman. Enjoy! As an artist with a long-time fascination around Japanese culture and art, I recently developed a line of fused glass pendants that feature painted Japanese kanji. This article will describe the process step-by-step. The kanji symbol I’m painting in the pictures is the symbol for “the present” or “here and now.” I start by using a template to cut my pieces of fusible glass in a square. The pendant pieces pictured have a background of black Spectrum 96 glass with a foreground of various Spectrum fusible colors. I have applied the same techniques to opaque, cathedral, clear, and dichroic glass as well. Depending on the style of bail or snap-ring used to attach the piece to the necklace cord, I may also drill a 2 mm hole for the snap ring before ever attaching the foreground piece and before firing. Once my pieces are cut to a uniform size, I use a tool called an Air Pen to apply my kanji characters. The Air Pen is air-operated and was originally developed for silk painting. It forces any kind of liquid through a very fine needle-shaped tip. The tool comes with various sized tips for liquids of varying viscosity and for thinner/thicker lines. I tend to use the finer tips to apply dark Glassline glass enamels. Once the kanji characters are applied and have fully dried (just a few minutes), I use gel-glue to glue the foreground piece to the background. I keep the glue off of dichroic glass because it tends to discolor the dichroic upon firing. I then assemble the pendants on the kiln shelf of my Paragon Fusion-10 or my Paragon Caldera and tack-fuse the pendants, insuring that the square pendants don’t excessively round while firing. Once the pieces have cooled in the kiln, I attach the bail or snap ring and then ready the pendant for final sale. I hope you enjoy this technique and adapt to your own work!

1 comment:

Funky Finds said...

OMG! Congratulations on your pregnancy!!! Joe & I asked where you were at Show Pony - you were missed. I hope you are doing well! We look forward to seeing you soon. Jessica