My sister brought up a really interesting idea for my atelier, one which intrigued me so much that I just had to swot up and see what’s possible! 🙂  Following her work on stone runes she wondered if it was possible to create them in glass.

Glass runes close-up

Glass runes close-up

So with nose-in-books, I sat out in the lovely Belgian sunshine putting my designs together over the next few days. The Nordic and Scandinavian pantheons have all the beautiful stories and art to keep one researching for months 🙂 So, me being me, I had to remain pretty focused on my intention, to learn more about runes, and not run away with Heimdall and Mordgud!

Once I started to draw the rune letters, I really started to feel them and enjoy the shapes – I referenced several websites, but one in particular I quote here for further reading. I figured using 1mm glass stringers to ‘write’ them would be possible, fusing each glass letter on a glass base. The final set is 25 pieces – there are 24 Elder Futhark runes plus 1 blank rune, which is optionally integrated by the Diviner.

Cut glass pieces ready for Dremel grinding

Cut glass pieces ready for Dremel grinding

Being a lover of colour, and in recent times, chakra healing and colour therapy, I decided to spend some time in ‘mapping’ the colours to the rune letters. Not so easy to do, so I asked Frey and Freja to help me out 😉

Once I’d put together the draught design for a prototype set of runes, I created the technical sheet to record glass specifications, potential chemical reactions, the kiln schedule for the type of glass fuse I want, etc. This same sheet is used later to record times, temperatures, final results and conclusions, etc. and then filed in the kiln journal for future reference 🙂

So, I cut the 2.5cm square glass pieces – the cleaner the cut, the better, since we want to keep the grinding to an absolute minimum! The vibrations can be amusing though!

Dremel grinding wheel (EZ SpeedClic mechanism... which is easy!)

Dremel grinding wheel (EZ SpeedClic mechanism… which is easy!)

Grinding glass safety wear for vision and lungs!

Grinding glass safety wear for vision and lungs!

Don’t forget to wear the safety glasses, glass cutting gloves and a special mask for protection! (I use a FFP3 valved disposable mask – each mask lasts up to 8-hours before disposal).

To minimise glass dust, always grind with the application of water (this is much easier to do if you have a professional glass grinder).

I just dip the glass in water often, which is fine for smaller handheld pieces like this project. For much larger projects, a glass grinding machine would become a necessity!

After using my friendly Dremel 8200 to grind the edges, just to smooth them off slightly, I use Bohle’s specialist glass cleaner to ensure the glass pieces are absolutely spotless. Once dried, they can be very carefully decorated and placed on the kiln fibre paper (on the kiln shelf tray) like little glass sushi, as I call them!

Grounded glass pieces ready for lettering with stringers

Grounded glass pieces ready for lettering with stringers

You can see here (on the bottom row) that one ‘glass sushi’ has a piece of copper foil between 2 clear glass pieces, unlike the rest of the rune pieces which consist of a piece of coloured glass. This is for one of the runes I mapped to brown/copper. Firing copper with glass has wonderful effects!

There are a few other glass pieces here that are labelled as ‘striking’ glass, which indicates that when fired at a certain temperature the glass can behave a little differently (in colour, texture, etc.) than what is seen in the unfired state.

And of course, my atelier attracted another new visitor – this time not the cute cat!

Today's atelier visitor!

Today’s atelier visitor!

Rather cute, close up!

Rather cute, close up!

After applying the letters, the little ‘glass sushi’ are ready for firing in the kiln.

My glass sushi, all ready for kiln fusing

My glass sushi, all ready for kiln fusing

Here below, you can see the fusing temperature is being reached (around 1450 degrees F); the glass edges and corners are rounding and the letters are melting onto the base. The ‘glass sushi’ thickness is 6mm (excluding the 1mm stringer lettering) and this is ideal for retaining the original size of the glass pieces I cut for each rune (2.5cm square). The glass will spread about 1mm maximum each side.
If the ‘glass sushi’ was thicker, the spread would increase (without special kiln furniture supports, called dams or bricks), or if thinner, the glass edges would ‘breathe in’ and create sharper corners… There is much to consider when deciding shapes/thicknesses, etc.!!

Glass at fusing temperature

Glass at fusing temperature

And here, the fired and annealed runes, all washed and cloth polished, sitting in the sunshine by the tree taking in nature’s energetic powers!

Glass runes sat in the sunshine, washed and ready for play!

Glass runes sat in the sunshine, washed and ready for play!

I had inherited a gorgeous set of Tarot cards many years ago from my grandmother, so I’ve enjoyed many hours playing the Diviner to see if a little fun was coming my way (or not, as can be the case sometimes!). And now I have runes!

Originally published: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 at 01:52 in Atelier, Inspiration

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2 Responses to “Glass runes with a colourful twist!”

  1. Jude says:

    Wow super cool runes – gorgeous colours – nice to see a spidey was drawn in to observe too 😉 Look forward to seeing the runes in the flesh (well glass hehe) Jude xx

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