"Famille d'Âme I"

“Famille d’Âme I”

Following my first experiment with the glass mould to create glass ankhs, I decided to play with this mould a little more, following my decision to postpone torching the rest of the Isla Formentera beads for now.

So, there were in fact two kiln firings of this ankh mould over two days. My inspired “Famille d’Âme I” and “Famille d’Âme II” tell a few stories!

The first tale is that “Famille d’Âme I” was fired a little too long at 1375 degrees F in the kiln (this creates the sharp bits on the edges, known as ‘needles’).  The uneven surface is due to using coarse and medium frit amongst the fine frit (which is not advised for this particular ankh mould by Colour de Verre… only fine frit and powder is recommended), and, I possibly also over-filled the glass mould (as my scales stopped working during the weighing…. damn!) I hope Ma’at and Osiris have better quality ones when my soul arrives at their door 🙂

The transparent pink "âme" of "Famille d'Âme I". You can see the grades of glass frit range from powder to coarse

The transparent pink “âme” of “Famille d’Âme I”. You can see the grades of glass frit range from powder to coarse

So I don’t wish to ruin the charm of these beautiful ankhs! I love all my work, even those that carry more ‘stress’ than the more charmed pieces!! There is still a beauty here, if we are open to seeing it…

Yes, I’m so romantic when it comes to glass… 🙂

The transparent Bullseye Light Pink Striker (#1215)  glass is a ‘striking’ glass, meaning it has to be fired (by the torch or kiln) to bring out the true colour. This particular glass is almost clear with a slight hint of blue-violet to it; without the label on the end of the rod, you would never know this was pink!

The temperature and handling of this glass will give varying results. I rather like the unpredictable nature of such glasses, but I know some lampworkers are not keen on ‘striking’… as I mentioned in the last article “Evil Purple?“, glass with highly volatile natures is either a love or fear relationship!

I created my own glass frit for all the “Famille d’Âme I” pieces by cutting up some Bullseye rods and smashing them up with my glass crusher. I used opaque Bullseye Steel Blue (#0146) for the medium ankh, and, opaque Bullseye Light Cyan Blue (#0216) for the two small ankhs.

Note for safety: I always wear gloves, safety glasses and my FFP3 mask when doing this kind of work!

Making my own frit from Bullseye glass rods (suitable for torching and kiln working)

Making my own frit from Bullseye glass rods (suitable for torching and kiln working)

Very cute 'mosaic glass cutters' for cutting my glass rods. Very quick and easy to use!

Very cute ‘mosaic glass cutters’ for cutting my glass rods. Very quick and easy to use!

Stainless steel glass crusher from Tuffnell Glass, used to create your own glass frit and powder

Stainless steel glass crusher from Tuffnell Glass, used to create your own glass frit and powder

In one quick smashing session, this crusher creates a spectrum of glass grades from powder to fine, medium and  coarse frit.

You can buy special little sieves to separate the grades and pop them into jars for later use. Sadly, I don’t have these little sieves so I just have to use a little brush to tease the powder and frit into the mould! Not the most ideal way to do it!

The "Famille d'Âme I" ready for firing in the kiln

The “Famille d’Âme I” ready for firing in the kiln

Egyptian Blue Opal 'fine' grade Bullseye frit from Warm Glass

Egyptian Blue Opal ‘fine’ grade Bullseye frit from Warm Glass

For the preparation and firing of the Famille d’Âme II, I made a handful of improvements:

  • To minimise risk of ‘needles’, I changed the kiln programme to hold at 1375 degrees F in the kiln for 5 minutes less. This can make a huge difference, for better or worse!
  • For the large ankh, I mixed some clear Bullseye fine frit from Warm Glass UK with my homemade Light Pink Striker fine frit (not medium or coarse)
  • For the medium ankh, I used my homemade fine frit in Light Cyan Blue
  • For the two small ankhs, I used Bullseye fine frit from Warm Glass UK in Egyptian Blue Opal (#0164)
  • I weighed the glass mould as I filled it, ensuring each was filled according to the Colour de Verre’s advice, as explained in a related article
The "Famille d'Âme II" weighed and ready for firing in the kiln

The “Famille d’Âme II” weighed and ready for firing in the kiln

The second tale is that “Famille d’Âme II” was a little smoother and rounded after firing, with much less ‘needling’. Holding them for 10 minutes, instead of the 15 minutes, at 1375 degrees F in the kiln probably helped. The surface is more even, probably improved by using fine frit and powder. I don’t know if the weighing made a difference here, but I now know I over-filled the small ankhs! – I just downloaded a useful guide by Colour de Verre called Tips for Thin Castings, which states that each should only be filled to only two-thirds full or half :-/

"Famille d'Âme II"

“Famille d’Âme II”

But I’m still determined to create the smoothest ankhs from this mould so for “Famille d’Âme III” I will fill each mould to just two-thirds full. I think this is pretty important based on what Colour de Verre states about ‘surface tension’ and the glass pulling away from the mould edges when hot.

Back to the kiln I go!

I’m also wondering how these moulds would work with COE 104 (softer) glass and Thompson glass enamels

Hmmm… mustn’t get distracted!

And in case you may be wondering what I’m going to do with all these amazing little ankhs, in various states of ‘petrification’, I already have another idea to ‘cook up’! You will have to wait and see… 🙂

Originally published: Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 at 23:46 in Atelier, Inspiration

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4 Responses to “Famille d’Âme”

  1. Julia Akers says:

    oooh these are really beautiful Juss – also love the pics in front of the magic Xmas house – perfect backdrop!!

  2. Swampy :-) says:

    Took me a long time to discover that flavour of BE striker but the lovely cranberry it turns into is one of my favourites!

    Glad you found it too 🙂

    • I found Bullseye’s ‘Light Pink’ striker much easier to handle than Effetre’s ‘Rubino Oro’, which can make a lot of difference when you want a stable pink hue for a project. I also torched Reichenbach’s glass rods in ‘Pink Lady’ very recently and this was a real joy!!! (I’ll try to write an article on that soon…).
      I’m defintely going to do more projects with these all rods. Love love love them!

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