While in Portland I also visited Aquila Art Glass studio. I met Don, one of the owners. He was very gracious and showed me his working studio. Not only do they teach fused glass they also teach flameworking. More than teaching Don, Tammy (his wife), and his other partner Scott produce and sell hand crafted fused glass products for stores. Don also creates custom molds with his locally created mold material. He also makes and sells glow in the dark frit. He also showed me another section of the facility (owned & operated by Jason), where they had two waterjet machines where he can have any type of glass including 2mm up to 2 inches cut into any shape including dichroic without any chipping. Very impressive! These waterjet cutters can cut glass, metal, etc. BTW I went back (3rd visit) after my class at bullseye and took my friend Kate and we got to meet Jason also a very nice and talented guy.
When I went back for my 2nd visit, I was able to meet Don’s business partner Scott. He is a fused glass artist and very forthcoming with any information regarding fused glass. We talked for quite a while and there was nothing I asked that he didn’t tell me. We also talked about our military days, he was in the Army and I was Air Force. I love talking with other Veterans it’s truly a family just like glass artists.
While I was at Aquila I took a Flame-working class. It was my first time working with borosilicate glass. Which is a much harder glass than I worked with last time. With Leslie, I worked with 104 COE meaning relatively soft glass. Borosilicate is 33 COE so a much stiffer glass. What we were suppose to do is to make a stem for a top and bottom of a wine glass (which Rodney had created before hand). So basically we assembled a wine glass. So I’m thinking oh that’s simple. And for someone who has done a lot of flameworking it would be relatively easy. But not necessarily for someone new! However, it was a great intro to borosilicate glass, because I got to shape the stem, connect and disconnect several times, make it straight & centered, and take out any mechanical devit that happens.
Rodney was the instructor and made it look so easy. He explained the steps and since I was new helped me quite a bit. We used a clear glass solid rod. First you have to put a small rod onto the big rod, cut off the big rod to the size you want then flatten the end and then we made the goblet portion of the glass (luckily he had these made) a little sharper so the big rod would stick better, oh and did I say that you have to be twisting everything at the same time. Much tougher than it sounds, especially for someone uncoordinated like me.
One thing I really liked about the borosilicate is that it is much more forgiving. When I was working with the 104 it was constantly getting out of shape and Leslie would either fix it or coach me on how to fix it. The borosilicate didn’t get out of shape as easily. The other thing I liked about the borosilicate was that once I put the goblet portion of the glass on the stem and wanted to lengthen or straighten the stem, I just held it on end and let gravity straighten it out. Same thing with the bottom, once I connected the bottom to the stem to make it centered I just held it up from the goblet and it straightened out. If I got it too out of whack for it to straightened on it’s own I just heated it up again and did it again. Speaking of heating the glass up again, the borosilicate was easier this way too, I’d heat it up a little (twisting it constantly) and then when I took it out of the heat it got stiff a lot quicker. Borosilicate is also easier as far as getting it in the kiln to anneal. We messed with it a little because we were trying to make sure the glass would stand etc and we still had enough time to get it to the kiln to anneal.
I made 2 glasses and they are just clear little dessert wine glasses, but a great introduction into borosilicate. I enjoyed Flameworking again and I enjoyed talking with Don, Scott, and Rodney! BTW when I went back for the 3rd time with Kate, one of my glasses got knocked over and Scott was nice enough to get Rodney to fix it and send it back to me.
Just like my first 2 visits, my 3rd visit was wonderful. Scott was so friendly and forthcoming. He showed us his hand made cutting table and molds. Just wonderful talking with him.
If you are in Portland check them out and see if they have a class that fits your glass needs. All of the guys involved are great guys and deserve a visit!
If you would like to see more of my fused glass work or more of my activities please refer to my website Elegant Fused Glass by Karen.
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Keeping my Kiln warm,
PS I just ordered some custom molds from them. Such a great resource.