I: Twenty Ways to Use Glass . . .

In Your Metal Clay Studio

Part 1: Ways 1 thru 10

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 . . .

1 As Glasses

I buy reading glasses that look like glasses my dad used to wear in the 70s because the lenses are big and protect my eyes well. The size lets in lots of light, and I can see through the huge lenses at any angle.

2 As a Snake Roller  

Make your own snake roller. It has other functions, too, which you will see later. To make your own snake roller take a piece of glass about 4” X 6” and SuperGlue a handle on it. I used a hose clamp. A drawer or cabinet knob would work, too. In the second photo the demo “snake” is a plastic straw. 

How else could you use that straw under the snake roller? What if you wanted a snake the exact diameter of the straw? You could roll them side by side or put the snake between two straws. Just sayin’.

3 As a Water Container   

The water container is for the water you use as your work. Why? Because when it dries out you can easily remove the leftover clay to your recycle jar (also glass). When you need to add water to your creation, here ’tis. 'Easily moveable, too.

4 As a Syringe Storage Jar   

Store your syringe clay in water in a Ball jar. If you will not be using it for a long time, cover it in plastic food wrap to prevent the water from fully evaporating. 

Notice the settled clay at the bottom? Can’t waste that. Every once in a while or when you accidentally spill your jar of syringes (which I’ve managed to do twice this week), you can allow the clay to settle, remove as much water as you can, allow the rest to dry, and put the dried clay in your recycle jar.

5 To Organize My Tools    

I use empty glass jars for tools. I strapped (masking tape) the thin and tall ones together, and this contraption holds my most often used tools. See also Organizing in the Studio.

6 As a Glue Glass   

I glue some elements in place during the construction of some pieces. For example, I use Elmer’s Glue to glue coffee straw snippets on top of my “Montana’s," so I can build a tiny bail. Sometimes I glue a CZ in place so I can apply syringe without it wiggling around. So, I squirt a snake of glue onto my glue glass and use a tweezers to gently tap the coffee straw tidbit or CZ in the glue. If you get too much glue, it takes away from the surface area on which a clay-to-clay bond will occur. As you can see, I use the same glue glass over and over.

7 As Platforms to Support Wet Clay   

I use the many small pieces of glass as shown in the top photo to build up platforms on which to set wet pieces during construction. I do this most often when I’ve added a bail and do not want any pressure put on the bail as the clay bonds. 

I set my wet pieces on the edge of my glass work surface so that I can pick them up easily and without danger of smearing freshly applied syringe. Do you also feel sometimes that your fingers are those of a giant?

More on #7, which is building platforms on which to work . . . .

In this photo, I have two pieces of glass. My bail sits on the lower piece and the pendant will sit on the upper piece. I have found glass of the fitting thickness so that the end result, when the pendant and bail are one, is the pendant hangs at a good angle when worn. As you know, most of the bail needs to be out in front of the pendant in order to hang well. This seems contrary to what I would have guessed; and in this case, experience and mistakes are the best teachers. 

In this photo, pretend the teflon is the pendant part on which the bail will be attached.

Here are a bunch on pendants with newly attached bails on one large piece of glass. I transferred all of these to the warming tray in one fell swoop on what? A large piece of glass.

A finished pendant to show position of bail.

8 As a Tray for Transport   

I use glass as a work tray. You see I work at this station and I often have more than one item going at a time so I have a holding station over here and my dehydrator is behind me and etc. etc. etc.  I try to move and handle the clay as little as possible to avoid dings and so that wet-clay-to-wet-clay bonds are strong. So, I use plates of glass as little, moveable work stations. 

Here’s an example. Here is a plate of glass that I cut and instead of filing the edges for safety I put masking tape on them.

I plan on making a couple pair of earrings. I spray the glass plate with water. When my earrings are made, I place them as wet-clay-on-teflon on this sheet. The teflon sticks to the glass because of the thin film of water between it and the glass.

As you can see, I could trip on the way to the dehydrator and still the earrings would be secure.

The other beauty is as the dehydrator dries everything — in particular, the finely textured surface — the earrings as a whole stay flat because the teflon underneath is still flat against the glass. Stuck with water, ha.

9 As a Background in Photographs   

I use frosted glass as a background for photographs. I place white paper underneath. The frosted glass gives the piece a softer shadow.

10 As Work-Station Surface   

Both of my work stations (construction or pre-fire and finish or post-fire) have glass work surfaces. 

I have a 1-inch grid under the glass. My surfaces always clean up easily with a little vinegar, water, and a paper towel.

If I happen to roll clay off my texture or mat, it comes off the glass freely or using a tissue blade.

When I use syringe I can’t always prevent drops of water on the work surface. I’ve learned to keep this path free and clear of dry-clay pieces and papers. These wipe up in a second.

Sometimes, I’m working on a piece and I have left-over clay but not one second to deal with it so it doesn’t dry out. I place it on my glass work station and with mister or paintbrush cover it with water saying, “I’ll deal with you in a sec.”

I can cut out homemade templates right on my work station. Sometimes I’ve made additional cuts while working on a piece, which involves no other last-minute arrangements for using an X-Acto knife.

You can also make mini glass work stations for construction that involves a lot of water for bending clay. The pieces stick to the glass, which sometimes works in your favor. You may want to oil the glass before beginning your work.

I can brass brush right on a glass surface and not worry about damaging anything.

Glass 10

Next month Ways 11 - 20 of the 

Twenty Ways to Use Glass In Your Metal Clay Studio, Part 2 

will be posted.

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

What do YOU use glass for in your metal clay studio?

© Kris A Kramer 2018