With the addition of the ring saw to my studio, I have been experimenting with a stacking technique to create striped pieces. I start by stacking together a small pile of scrap glass pieces that are approximately the same size and shape. This stack is then tack fused together, this allows the pieces to stick together without changing shape. The ring saw is then used to cut slices out of the stack crosswise. The slices are then heated to a full fuse (1500+ degrees F) at this high temperature the glass will flow until it becomes about 1/4 inch thick. After some edge cleanup work, the pieces are then ready for a third trip in the kiln for a fire polish and annealing cycle. The pieces in the photo are the results of my first three stacks. All they need now are the findings and they will be in my inventory.
What is dichroic glass? The term dichroic, meaning two colors, refers to any optical device which can split a beam of light into two beams with differing wavelengths resulting in the appearance of two colors. When talking about dichroic glass it refers to a thin coating that has been permanently adhered to the surface of glass, that gives the glass color changing properties. Examples of adding metals to alter the color of glass date back to the 4th century and the ancient Romans. Reflective gold and silver particles were added to glass to give it color changing properties. Today we have NASA to thank for our modern dichroic glass. Their research and development of dichroic filters in the 1950s and 60s gave us the process used to create dichroic art glass. This coating process takes place in a vacuum chamber where quartz and metal oxides are vaporized with an electron beam. Resulting in micro thin layers of vaporized metals condensing on the surface of the glass and forming a crystal structure. This coating gives the glass its changing color appearance.
I am very excited to have some new tools in my studio. They will allow me to create many of the pieces that have been ‘in my head’ for quite some time. This is my first test run of my ring saw. This diamond blade will allow me to make more intricate cuts. I’ll be using it to work on some new spring pieces later today. I know, crazy to be thinking spring when it is 17 degrees and snowing outside, but we creatives always need to be at least one step ahead of the season.