Hello fellow fusers, and Happy Spring!
At right is a Modeling Glass poppy, built on a single layer of clear, about 4" x 6".
This is a combined March/April issue because March simply got away from me. I attribute this to being super busy, as plans to relocate Glass Bird Studios are afoot! I'm delighted and stretched thin at the same time. So please bear with me as I navigate some big changes that will mean more time in the studio and additional positive developments for Modeling Glass in terms of my creative output and teaching.
I'm going to share some of the great questions I receive from artists who are working with Modeling Glass. I hope these will help answer some questions you may have; I always welcome questions, even though I don't always have answers. It's exciting to help fusers accomplish their goals with Modeling Glass, or to explain why what they want to do might be a challenge.
Please contact me if you have questions of your own, but first take a look at the FAQs on the Modeling Glass website to see if the information is already there. You can also find deeper dives into some topics in back issues of the Enews, or you can order my ebook, Exploring Modeling Glass, which has a ton of great detailed info and projects for working with Modeling Glass.
QUESTION: Hi Lois, I am trying out the Modeling Glass, I love it, but still need some practice getting the right consistency, I think I need to mix a little more as mine is quite sticky, I am carefully measuring correctly but it still sticks to my fingers. My question is in regards to transparent glass, I have not tried it yet and only see reference to opal, can you use transparent?
ANSWER: Thanks for your note. I'm sorry to hear you didn't get a perfect result on the MG texture. If it's still sticky, you might try letting it sit out for a couple of hours and knead it periodically. It's really important to combine the ingredients in the order described in the instructions, and don't add the liquid medium before you have mixed the water and binder into the glass. If it still is sticky, sometimes more water helps, but usually it's because the mixture is too damp. It takes a while to get the hang of a perfect batch.
As for opal vs. transparent, you can definitely use transparent colors, but the result will always be somewhat opaque due to trapped microbubbles that occur in any powder-based approach. I use opals because of the nice intensity of colors. A very pale tint of transparent will appear somewhat greyish, until it is fired to full-fuse. At that point all colors will fire true...but you will still have tiny bubbles.
QUESTION: Can you make a 3 D sculpture with modeling glass like you can with regular clay or will it melt down in the kiln and not retain its shape?
ANSWER: The answer is yes and no. I have done 3-d forms, and when you keep them to a tack fuse and they are mostly flat (bas-relief basically), they retain their shape beautifully. If you are thinking about a 3-d shape that is mostly vertical, or is thin, you will have sagging unless you support the piece during firing with some kind of form. Modeling Glass does not have the clay stiffeners and will not hold its shape the way ceramic clay does. You might make a few small test shapes and fire them to get an idea of what you can and can't achieve.