There are many things I should have been doing today, making hearts (I have sent most of them off to various galleries), writing my first article for UKHandmade (very excited about this new project) and photographing and listing my work on my website (always a chore). Instead, I have been turning some of my photos into new glass pieces; I have had these photos mind for ages and I am glad to finally get round to putting idea to glass.
This is not just reckless experimentation, I have a piece to make for OrganicARTS Open Studios Art Trail in September and I am hoping to do some collaborative photographic/glass designs with local photographer Martin Sharpe. In short, I want to be really on top of the technique before the summer.
My first respectable panel using photo transfer paper sold on its first trip to a craft fair, but if I am honest there have been more failed pieces than successes so far. The first problem being the paper fires to a sepia colour which clashes badly with most greens (learned this the hard way, but it also gives a lovely vintage feel with the right colours) and it needs to be fired at fuse cycle temperature not a painting firing, as I learned to the last panel’s cost (wrong programme on the kiln, Doh!)
Cost is the key word in all glass art experimentation, all the materials I use are expensive, some have quadrupled in price since I started working with glass and this makes the explorations and experiments vital to developing new ideas costly, which can be quite a frustration! Fabulous glass artist Peter Gilles talks about cost v.s experimenting very well on his excellent blog and I took heart from his musings.
Anyway nuff moaning; how does this fire-able photo transfer business work? Firstly, I choose my photo and manipulate it to have a very high black/white contrast (you can also do any kind of photoshop magic at this stage too), then print the image onto the special transfer paper using a black and white only photocopier, then cut you glass to size and float the image off the backing paper in warm water (it makes a satisfying hissing noise when it hits the water). Next float the transfer over the glass, make sure its on straight and get rid of all the air bubbles by smoothing with a damp cloth. Allow 24 hours to set and then fire in the kiln to the temperature on the instructions. These ones are setting and look great… but now we need to see how they turn out after they have been fired. Creases and air bubbles are always a danger and there is always the possibility of the glass failing or the transfer not taking properly….we shall see!
The images are from my recent travels and include a ruined wind pump, (from a trip back to my home of Norfolk), an image of people on the beach and a view across the Teign estuary (a view I keep coming back to in my work at the minute).
Results after firing to follow soon………..