Monday, February 26, 2007

Fusing glass is fuuuuuuun!

Wow, what a fun weekend! Mary Jane and I met in Burlington and had lunch at the Vermont Pub and Brewery, where, to ease my guilt at leaving Tom for the weekend, I bought him a growler (half gallon jug) of Dogbite beer. We stopped at Vermont Beads and Fibers in Middlebury on our way down to Chester.

We managed to find the Quail Hollow Inn ( in the dark in an area where I've never been before (an accomplishment!), and were completely enchanted with the place. One of the innkeepers, Peter, gave us a tour of the place before showing us to our room. This photo is the reception area of the Inn, looking into the dining room.

Our room - woa. The bed had to be one of the most comfortable beds I'd ever slept in, and the room was warm and cozy. We were right down the hall from the staircase that led to the bar and the hot tub! When we got back from dinner, our beds had been turned down and a little piece of chocolate had been left on our pillows. (I could totally have gotten used to that!)

The next morning, breakfast was an upside-down apple pancake cooked in maple syrup. Hot tea and fresh orange juice were already at the table, and Jane and I just loved it!

So, stuffed to the gills, we headed over to the Fletcher Farm School in Ludlow where we met our teacher, Cheryl, and the six other women we would be learning with this weekend. We spent what seemed like thirty seconds learning how to cut glass with the different styles of glass cutters, and then off we went!

We were each given a 1/2 pound bag of dichroic "scrap" glass, which were leftover pieces from whatever glass supplier Cheryl purchased them from. She showed us how to measure and cut a straight line (which I never did figure out!), and told us that for our first pieces, we should just do a single layer, meaning, a base of opaque or transluscent glass, a piece of dichroic or two in the middle, and a clear cap on top. Half of the fun was sorting through all the colors and patterns and textures of the glass to come up with different designs. We put our first attempts onto small ceramic brick shelves covered in special ceramic fiber paper, and into the kilns they went! When they came out two hours later, we were shocked - not only were they all beautiful, but they looked almost NOTHING like what we had put into the kiln two hours ago! Hahahaa!

This photo shows all the different cabs I made this weekend. Other students embedded fine silver wire into their cabs to use as earrings or glued bails on for use as pendants, but I left mine as cabochons so that I can embroider around them to make bracelets and pendants.

The second day was just as good as the first, except that we had to go home at the end of it!

For breakfast, another gourmet dish at the Quail Hollow Inn - this time it was French toast with orange zest cooked in honey, with maple syrup that, as Bob said, "kept us bouncing all day"! When we got to Fletcher Farm School, Cheryl had just finished loading up the kilns with the last of the pieces to be fused from yesterday. We worked on learning finishing techniques, which included using a glass grinder to sand down and straighten the edges a bit, how to cut a backing out of glass, and how to make a hole or include a wire finding into our piece. We all totally loved using the grinder - it was completely mesmerizing to hold our little pieces of glass up to the grinding wheel and watch them get smooth and straight! Then we would either firepolish them or fuse them again with a backing to create a hole for stringing or attaching to a piece of jewelry.

When we were finished, Cheryl handed out a little certificate that stated that we had each completed fourteen hours of class in fusing dichroic glass. I laughed and told everyone that the sad part was that I would probably get more use out of this certificate than I would out of my four-year college degree! At least I got a laugh out of everyone...

It was such a downer to have to get up this morning and go back to work! But this evening, I'll sit down and look at the Delphi Glass website and figure out what I need to buy to start making these lovely little gems here at home. I can't wait for my next show at the Lake Placid Library - I hope to have a whole slew of these made into jewelry and ready for sale!

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