II: Twenty Ways to Use Glass . . .

In Your Metal Clay Studio

Part 2: Ways 11 thru 20

Glass 1

These are small pieces of glass that I cut from larger pieces.
I filed the edges for safety, or you can tape them with masking tape.

I Use Glass in My Metal Clay Studio . . .

11 As Temperature-Resistent Work Surface

My second work station, the post-fire one, has a piece of Pyrex glass over a square-inch grid.

I put my solder brick and firing brick (used in teaching) on the Pyrex.

I can put hot pieces on the Pyrex glass to cool after firing or soldering. 

The glass helps them cool fast, especially if you move them every few seconds.

My post-fire glass surface cleans up easily at this work station, too. Whether I vacuum filings or wipe away a coating material with denatured alcohol, my work surface always returns to a nice, clean, flat surface.

12 As a Tool for Drying Flat Pieces  

I always accelerate the drying stage in my pieces. As you know, this causes them to dry unevenly, which then causes them to warp. I use small pieces of glass to gently press my pieces flat. Of course, before you do this you need to make sure the textured part of your piece is dry. 

See Quick-Drying Flat Pieces.

13 As a Way To Test if a Piece is Dry  

There are a couple of ways to test if a piece is dry. One is to place the cooled piece on the inside of your wrist. If it feels cool, then it is not dry. This is like mothers used to test baby’s milk in a bottle, with a few drops on the wrist, but it’s pretty subjective. 

The second way is to take the piece from the warming tray and place it on a clean section of glass, on an area that might be reflecting a light into your eye. Let it sit there 10 seconds, then slide it to the side and immediately examine the surface for any condensation. The photos below show the steps; however, the condensation is so slight it did not show up in the photograph. I sometimes smear my finger over where the piece sat because if you don’t see condensation at first you’ll see it in the smear.

I way over-dry my pieces. I leave them on the warming tray for fifteen minutes more than I think they need, calling this strategy FGM or For Good Measure.

14 In Syringe Work   

Here’s a story. I was applying to become a Senior Instructor. One of the pieces I had to submit was one with syringe work. The technical person on the committee wanted to see syringe work that involved some skill. So I made a pendant with a million CZs and applied syringe work around each one, in swirls in a complex pattern. It was a no go. They didn’t think it took any skill on my part. 

So I designed an OHM pendant. I printed out an OHM sign I wanted to use. I placed a small piece of glass over it and applied my syringe to the glass in the OHM shape. I let the OHM dry, cleaned it up a little with a scalpel, then placed it in sections (one actually broken) onto the dry pendant part. I considered this cheating, because one can move syringe on glass way easier than one can move syringe applied directly onto clay. Regardless of the irony, this pendant was accepted in my application.

You can apply syringe onto glass then transfer it to another piece. See Syringe 3 of 3.

15 To Make Bails    

I use drinking straws for bail holders. As you can see I set them on glass and press flat the part that will attach to the pendant. They always have a flat back and this allows the pendant to hang at a good angle on the décolletage. See Shaping Bails—Various Tools.

Glass 15

16 As Shapers

To make pieces are convex or concave, you can gently press them on to glass light bulbs that have had non-stick applied to them. 
To make these stands, I screwed my lightbulbs into a glob of polymer clay, removed them, and backed the clay. 

17 As Supports in Complex Designs   

I designed a pendant. I made the background. I placed a piece of glass over that and positioned the snake frame where I wanted it.
I did the same with top curve to which the chain attached.
You can see I used sections of coffee straws as spacers in between glass, had I a texture or something I didn’t want the glass to disturb.

18 As a Way to Use Rubber Stamps   

If you use rubber stamps for textures or imprints, do you press them with your hands? Or have you concocted some way to make sure their impression is even. The photo below shows how I use rubber stamps. See Using Rubber Stamps.

19 As Containers for Clay Filings   

I use Ball or other jars to hold my clay filings. When I turn them into clay for recycling or for clay-to-use, I grind them then return them to the original jar. In the same jar, I add the water and other ingredients. When all said and done, I have wasted no clay in other containers.

20 For Making Flat Mega Molds   

It’s one thing to make a mold using Mega Mold. It’s another thing to make one that is usable. The key feature of any mold is the ability to make a clay impression that is even, flat on one side, and detailed.

I make a sandwich, with glass on the bottom, Mega Mold and object (like a leaf) in between with or without spacers (the colored slats) and glass on top. You can press the glass on top and leave it there until the mold material sets up. Set up takes about ten minutes with glass, five minutes without.

Mega Mold never sticks to glass or anything else for that matter.

What do YOU use glass for in your metal clay studio? I’d love to hear.

For online courses in metal clay, go to I Love Silver, where you learn how to design and create your own silver creations.

© Kris A Kramer 2018