Friday, October 29, 2010

Fused Glass Coasters with a Quilting Theme

The holidays are around the corner and I've been busy listing my "quilted" fused glass coasters on Etsy. It's such a long process from start of a project to the final listing...I thought I'd share the whole process with you!

The very first step is choosing a quilt block pattern and colors for the block. But, seldom have I ever used a solid fabric in any quilt I've ever sewn. I'm drawn to patterns, usually large floral, colorful and bright designs. However, for this particular example below, I was aiming for mimicking earthy, woven-textile inspired "fabrics." So, in order to turn this:
into this:
I got out my enamel paints, glass powders and tools. For the pattern on the turquoise, orange and brown glass, I first went over them with a light wash of watered down enamel paints (I used Glassline paints, and I think it was a blend of paints from my used paint palette.). Once the light coating dried, I was able to scrape design lines into the paint, with a sgraffito-like technique. Then, I added gold paint highlights and splatters. On the french vanilla piece of glass, I used glass powders exclusively for my design, sifting through plastic needlepoint canvases in different shapes. To add a wavy texture on one side, I dragged a triangular wood-graining tool across the sifted powder.
After patterning my "fabric" glass, it needs to go in the kiln to a low temperature of around 1380-1400 F, just so the paints and powders adhere to the glass. Then, after the glass has cooled back down to room temperature, I can cut it into the pieces needed for constructing my quilt blocks. Each of these coasters used small squares and triangles pieced together and capped with clear glass. I love cutting all these small pieces! But, because of the number of pieces and the fact that I like a nice, straight, clean edge...I have to fire the pieces in the kiln twice more before they come out like this:The in-between stage involves lots of grinding (cold working) with a diamond coated bit and water to get rid of lumps and bumps on the edges of the pieces. They look so much nicer for the extra bit of work, though!
Next, come the rubber bumpers on the bottom corners to protect your furniture and make the glass coasters nicely stack-able.And for the final touch, I tie a ribbon of rafia around the coasters and attach one of my hand carved and printed lino-cut cards with the name of the quilt block:Voila! Now, all I have to do is photograph the pieces, photoshop the photos, write the listing description, upload my photos, tag the listing with keywords, calculate shipping costs and the cost of the product... Whew!
Simple, really...No? ;)

1 comment:

arizona glass said...

Not sure I have the patience but these are incredibly beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


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