Monday, April 22, 2013

Bird Badge Comission

[Now that the weekend has passed and she has the panel, I can post this safely]

I took a commission job from a friend, to be delivered in just a few days. I'm writing this on Wednesday, but I will save the post until the weekend just to be certain the surprise isn't ruined.

The design is her personal SCA badge, a bird bendy blue and white. Unfortunately from a recent remark I don't think this is what she is registering with the society, but the piece is done and her husband, the commissioner, is pleased. [Note: Nope, after she got it she said this was the right one!] I learned a new stupid mistake to avoid while working on this.

The original image provided:

I took a piece of my favorite clear class, a heavily seeded clear, and got to work tracing the design with Reusche stencil black:

Once I got as pleased with the result as an artist can be, I went to fire it. That is when I discovered that the piece of glass I had cut was sized to fit the design I printed out, and not my kiln. For some reason the piece seemed considerably less than the 13" internal space of my kiln, but I forgot to consider it's octagonal shape. After the paint was dry, I had to cut strips off of all four sides to make it fit, and then the corners didn't sit on my round kiln shelf. This lead to my first stupid mistake. I'd been doing a lot of silver stain tests lately and figured that this was safe enough, as this wasn't a slumping schedule I was using.

Unfortunately I was thinking of the 1000° silver stain schedule, when comparing it to a slumping schedule, and not the 1240° to which my vitreous paints must be fired. The next morning I opened the kiln and with horror wondered if I had ruined the kiln.

Not only had the four corners slumped down, two of them resting on the firebrick beneath the shelf, but my careful cleaning of the kiln shelf wasn't good enough. The piece was slumped and picked up residual silver stain, to boot! I got brief amusement recognizing the stained shapes (the Latin cross from Bryan's roundel stands out quite well).The piece was quite ruined and now sits next to my work bench as a reminder.

I cut a piece of glass to fit my equipment and resized the pattern to fit it, and not the other way around. I fired it as before, flipped it over, and enameled it. Another caveat I learned: If you are using a hake or matting brush to remove dust while cleaning up a job, make sure it is actually completely dry. Instead I damaged two of the strips of blue enamel, and had to touch them up. It drives me nuts because you can see the thicker areas on the finished object, but the commissioner had no complaint and time was running short.

I fired it again and the end result was rather nice, especially viewed from across a room:

I've acquired a distrust of enamels, however; the edges of some of the stripes have tiny bubbles that appeared, and otherwise don't seem as even as I would like. Elskus wrote as much in his book, so I expected it. If I were doing it over again I might reconsider and do it with modern copper foil technique and maybe paint the detail lines on as well.

The final piece gets an oak frame and then off to its new owner.

Reusche Stencil Black (RP 1059) (Gum Arabic and Water)

     570°/hr to 1240, hold 0
     Full to 1040, hold 5
     50°/hr to 986, hold 0

Reusche Transparent Blue D2867 (RP D273359) (Gum Arabic and Water)
     570°/hr to 1060, hold 0
     Full to 1040, hold 5 [I typically use the same schedule for my enamels and vit. paints, just changing step 1]
     50°/hr to 986, hold 0

Oak framing stock (1" x 3') from Delphi. Hardware from local hardware store. Base glass unsure, I get it from a local shop and  love it. It's one of the cheapest clears I've seen, which does not detract from the fact it's one of my favorites.

No comments:

Post a Comment