End of Term Review

As we leap-frog from day-to-day, I found myself feeling stressed that I had not done enough.

I worried that somehow I have been negligent in my efforts so I began to collect the pieces I did in an effort to account for my time.

For my kilncasting, I began the log to satisfy my teacher (Orion Arger) because he couldn’t actually read my writing–I like to use different colours and I write my thoughts all over the place.  Since I can follow my own thinking, it has not really caused me a problem–but Orion was not impressed.  Hence, the online journal of its sort:



Above was the outcome of the vase (3 bowls joined to make 1)

These stacked bowls are in the process of becoming a fountain where the water trickles down through the holes to be pumped back and recirculated in an endless cycle–just like my assignments!

Boots/Hands– event though these had glitches unforeseen, I was able to revisit them after all and I am rather pleased with the promise of more…

Bibles –this came from that on the left

These seem to just keep growing in mass.  I had no idea how much muscle fatigue could be caused by trying to hold these to the polishing wheels

Doesn’t seem to matter that I experiment with different types of glass at all.  They are just very heavy.  My arms actually began to spasm when I bathed one night so that I couldn’t even get the soap on me.


My school activities are not all about kiln casting…

I have been doing some stain glass work because they brought a man (Josef Cavalieri) all the way from New York who introduced us to some really “kewl”  ideas.  Each of what you see below is something that has different layers in one way or another!


In the 2 centered pics above, those photoresist images are my drawings from the summer.  The images I work with are almost always my own drawings or photography.

Then again I do what is called cold-working with another teacher (Andy Kuntz).  (Andy was the teacher at Haliburton School of The Arts who told me that if I came to Sheridan to study glass, I could go almost 3 years without ever blowing)  Not quite true–but close.

This block of crystal was a reject from some commissioned work that Andy had done.  As students, we were allowed to buy the blocks at less than cost so that we could attempt to develop our carving skills. 

I decide the bristling hair of my husband’s beard was more interesting than any body part of mine that I could think of.

I began to carve at the surface and for several days, Andy got a kick out of calling my piece “Cousin It”!


This is the more humanized version of my work–created from that block  of crystal.  Note that it caused me to think quite a bit about things I have yet to resolve.  When I started here, I was quite good at polishing smooth surfaces.  No one said that getting into nooks and crannies and corners would cause me so much grief.  I have broken tools and bent mandrels on the dremel–all in the name of accessing rounded corners.

And I did some work with photoresist of drawings and fusings I made…


The Installation:

You already know about our work at the new Mississauga campus where we did the installation.  My job (one of them) was to contact people who might help us to promote public recognition of the event.  Another of my duties was to take pictures.  So I took pictures and wrote emails until my program head told me to stop.  What took the most time was the sandblasting and rinsing and packing of the borosilicate glass tubes that had been donated for that exact purpose.  No marks were given for the work we did there.  But the experience on my resume is worth more than mere lip service.

The glass blowing furnace:

As  you might recall, the support staff was on strike when we returned to classes in the fall this year.  Time was spent in the completion of the new furnace.

  Did I even mention that I do sandcasting with glass?  Hmmm…


The above were last year’s sandcastings

  This is an example of my last year’s sandblasting

  And this is what happens when I really screw up with my pieces…

Guess I’ll have to wait to show you things I plan for this coming year …

Seasons Greetings to All who visit my site!

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Sheridan College Glass Installation (new Mississauga Campus) – “The installation”

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As we approach the end of term, we stressout over how to allocate our time.  We have upcoming exams and final presentations.  And… who could ignore that many of us are trying to get pieces ready for final crits as everything that could go wrong, does.

What you should remember from what you see here is just one more demonstration of the reasons why I attend this institution.

Earlier this year I was present when our technical assistant rebuilt one of the glass furnaces.  Although many of the support staff went on strike this summer, the furnace was just far enough along that we students could help to finish.  The experience of such an event is hard to come by — and invaluable!  Approaching the end of my 50’s decade in age, I am certainly not be the most technologically savvy person around.  We were shown just how doable building our own equipment could be.

All 3 years of glass students joined forces to assist with the installation of this piece.  Other programs within Sheridan have given their support when possible.  Alumni have given of their time; local suppliers of donated many of the supplies.  For that reason, I’ll save the explanations for another time and content myself by submitting pics so that at least the story is told in a timely fashion.

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Sheridan College Glass Installation (new Mississauga Campus) – “The process”

This gallery contains 98 photos.

There was a lot of work gone into this installation… Meetings began last spring and our program head Koen Vanderstukken kept the momentum going right through the summer.  Upon our return from summer break, we sectioned off the various aspects … Continue reading

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Sheridan College Glass Installation (new Mississauga Campus)

This gallery contains 57 photos.

Many people who go to college, see their classmates as being the people in their class, studying a particular subject, for a particular period of time… I am a glass student at Sheridan College, Trafalgar Campus, in Oakville, Ontario.  My … Continue reading

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Stacked Bowls

The bowls I have attempted seemed to have created almost as much drama as my bibles.  In fact, as I sit here writing these notes, I have no idea if any of my bowls will survive the current firing–either in float glass or soft!

We have only about 1 month before Christmas break and so many assignments to complete.  Some of what I have worked on this term, may have to merely be carried over to the winter term.  And I guess that I can live with that!

Three separate waxed forms that I made into 1 single vase.

Bottoms were cut out to allow for formation into 1 complete piece forming a vase.

Here are my wax forms.  I had 3 bowls that left me wanting some excitement.  I began stacking the bowls and made them into a vase (which I liked alot).  However, as you can see from the finished  float or plate glass piece here, my glass did not fully melt to satisfy allowing the glass to flow all the way to the bottom of the plaster.


I need to mention here that before anything got done, I had some major setbacks in accomplishing these bowls.

One of the molds leaked into the kiln and as a result, the element broke and the kiln is out of action.

The cracked flower pot from the glazing present when I bought the pot reacted with the glass I melted. Note that because float glass takes more to completely melt, it didn't leak and cause the damage that might have taken place with a similar mold containing soft glass

What also shows from the picture of the flower pot is that the glazing on the pot does not work well as a reservoir for glass.  It was therefore a poor choice of glass reservoir on my part.

The resulting piece you see here came out of the mess shown above.

Still, you can tell by the colour that this plaster mold contained float glass.

The green of float glass is much stronger and more translucent than that of the slight green (but more transparent) cast noticed on the bowls of soft glass

In the program I used with the float glass, what can be belatedly noted was that the melting temperature for float glass needs to be set somewhat higher than 850 degrees Celsius (perhaps 900 or 950 is more realistic for this much glass).

Also what we are beginning to figure out is that the reason for my cracked molds seems to stem from my inadequate allowances for drying out — while the firing is gaining heat.

My molds are quite often (but not always) done while the mold still has a great deal of moisture.  The period calculated for drying is supposed to happen long before I reach 600 degrees Celsius.  I had misunderstood and was working to have the moisture vented out of the kiln by the time it reached 600 degrees.  What I now realize is that by the time it passes from 120 degrees, there should be only the slightest bit of moisture (known as chemical moisture) showing on a clean piece of glass where the kiln is slightly opened.  Chemical moisture does not typically dissipate from a piece until it reaches the 600 degree mark.

The steps to this input were actually included as of November 27.  The firings took place as far back as October 31.   I was using kiln #2 and set the firing to begin as of 2 pm.

I have learned so much from the time I initially began to write and submit these pages until now!


  1. 4: hrs                             ^   90 degrees
  2. 14: hrs                           ^  110 degrees
  3. 26: hrs                           ^   120 degrees
  4. 34:  hrs                           ^   600    “
  5. 38: hrs                         @  600      “
  6. 38:01                             ^  850       “
  7. 52:  hrs                           @ 850       “
  8. 52:01  hrs                            540       “
  9. 68:  hrs                             @ 540      “
  10. 90:  hrs                                  400     “
  11. 110: hrs                                     50     “

Let’s move on for the next couple of days….

You can see here the wax forms of 3 bowls.  What you can’t see (because I forgot to take the picture) was a small urn attached to the top inside the plaster mold.

For our next more current effort, we put lots of blocks in to prevent the form from breaking and leaking if any cracks develop.

My pics aren’t showing that when I set up the kiln #4 for firing on November 2, I got shut down by my program head just prior to reaching 600 degrees.

The mold had not sufficiently dried out to satisfy his piece of mind.  So Koen had me shut down my program because he could see cracks beginning to appear in my mold and did not want a repeat performance of me downing another kiln from leaking glass.  That was a fortuitous moment!

I have adopted an attitude that whenever one of my instructors gives me a direction order, I follow it–no matter how stressful it may appear to achieving my goals (in that specific moment).  I am so glad that I follow that mindset every time.


  1. 3:  hrs                              ^ 90 degrees
  2. 12:  hrs                            ^ 110   “
  3. 29:   hrs                          ^  120   “
  4. 35:   hrs                            ^600   ”              ** **This was just about to happen when
  5. 37:  hrs                            @ 600  ”              Koen had me stop the program and so
  6. 37:01  hrs                         ^ 850     ”            this part never actually ran as you see it
  7. 50:  hrs                             @  850   ”            here.
  8. 50:01  hrs                                516   “
  9. 80: hrs                                 516   “
  10. 105:  hrs                            @ 390  ”

    Can you see how we blocked all around the form to prevent the plaster mold moving anywhere?

  11. 125:   hrs                                   50   “

Some days later–November 7, Orion & I packed a different kiln #2 for firing at about 3:pm using soft glass.

Same mold but now the things is totally dried out so drying is not the issue here…


  1. 2:  hrs                       ^ 100  degrees
  2. 7:  hrs                        ^ 120     “
  3. 12: hrs                        ^ 600                                *** Again we were foiled at this point
  4. 15:  hrs                        @ 600    ”                   of temp.  in a different kiln
  5. 15:01   hrs                   ^  850     ”                    Before resuming, the temp actually fell
  6. 28:  hrs                        @  850    ”                 back to about 400 degrees Celsius
  7. 28:01  hrs                         516    “
  8. 58:  hrs                          @  516     “
  9. 103:  hrs                             390    “
  10. 148:   hrs                               50    “

However….  there was an issue.  I happened to notice that the kiln stayed at just under 600 degrees Celsius for longer than the allocated time of 11 + hrs.  It took me about 2 days to realize that it had stopped heating and was waiting for me to realize some other problem had developed.

Again Koen told me to crash the program while waiting for an answer.  Jason was not yet arrived for the day and without my kiln casting instructor to consult, Koen’s first line of defense is “shut it down” and wait for Jason to fix it.

Can you see how we blocked all around the form to prevent the plaster mold moving anywhere?

Luckily, Jason arrived within the 1/2 hr and figured out that one of the elements had failed and was preventing the kiln from reaching maximum heat.  He was able to fix the problem and set my kiln to holding while I re-input  a modified program.

Final programmed steps:

  1. 0.01 hrs                 from 400 – 600 degrees
  2. 3:  hrs                          @  600  degrees
  3.  3:01 hrs                          ^   850   “
  4. 18:  hrs                             @  850   “
  5. 18:01    hrs                            516    “
  6. 48:   hrs                              @  516  “
  7. 90:   hrs                                    390  “
  8. 138:   hrs                                     50   ”

    Three stacked bowls & an urn that is intended to pour water than leaks from bowl to bowl (as soon as I can assemble the pieces to form the base with the pump)

Those flower pots shown at the top of the plaster were to hold (hopefully) enough of the clear soft glass (note the lack of green tinge) to fill the form.  As of the final writing (November 27), the flower pots had completely emptied without mishap (no glazing so no cracking from incompatibility problems).

Rough edges are partly from the interference of clay and plaster getting stuck in the glass as it moved to fill the form.completely emptied and appeared to be almost exactly the right amount.

However, then one of the elements failed while the kiln was firing to melting point and so we were lucky enough to have a technical assistant who could work his magic–even while the kiln was loaded and hot.

When I last looked inside the kiln, those pots were empty of glass but they were glowing red–just prior to the temperature falling back to cool.

In the final analysis, I have decided to make a small fountain out of my piece to offset some of the things that took place within the piece itself.  Plaster got trapped inside some of the glass while things moved that weren’t intended to move.

Look closely and the clay between the bowls is still visible (even if the small urn at the top of the bowls is missing)..

I had used wax to form my bowls; but clay to form the platforms holding the bowls together.  That is an issue of developing skills to work with wax.  As of this writing, I have begun to make more bowls that have no clay as part of the form so that when I melt the wax from the plaster mold, it will be just wax I am trying to remove.  Some of my clay got stuck and never did make it out of the form.

In closing off at this point, I should also mention that Jason has since found time in his very very busy schedule to replace the broken element of my previous glass mishap.  We are no longer down by 1 kiln.


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Bible Technology

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One (of 2) classes I chose this year was Production Technology.  Here, we learn about outsourcing as artists to expand our horizons by finding ways to include materials we might not normally work with.  I have a friend in Haliburton who works with metal.

Ron Costescu is now working part-time for Fleming College Haliburton School of The Arts as the Technical Assistant in the Blacksmithing program.  Some years ago, my friend won an award from the school with a metal rendition of a sword piercing an open bible.  It made quite an impression on me and I continued to think about that piece and what it means to me.

I decided I wanted a metal cross that resembled enough of a sword that I could use it to actually appear to pierce my glass bible.

I began with the assumption I would use what I have been calling soft glass.  I made 2 differ models of bible in the same soft glass.  One is spread open while the other is almost (but not quite closed).  I have been repeatedly attempting to make different versions of my piece.  Success appears in unexpected moments.

I began to consider using float glass because the end result of melting is that it looks so creamy and mysterious to me.

So far, I have done 4 firings of bibles.  I have only 1 working model to date.

October 3 (@ 3:pm), I did an Open version of a bible

Although it did survive the firing, it was a bit short of glass so I refired it and lost the entire piece.

Here is the 1st program October 3 (@ 3:pm):


  1. 3: hrs…………..^90 degrees
  2. 12: hrs…………^110 degrees
  3. 24: hrs…………^120 degrees

    This was the original open-faced clear frit bible (very delicate)

  4. 30: hrs ………..^600   “
  5. 32:  hrs………..@600  “
  6. 32:01 hrs………^850   “
  7. 40: hrs………….@850  “
  8. 40:01 hrs………  516     “
  9. 55: hrs ………….  516  “
  10. 80: hrs………….  390  “
  11. 100:  hrs…………50    “

If you look through my program, it becomes clear to me that not enough was understood on my part about what I was asking the glass to do for me.  As I said the piece survived this firing in clear frit; but it was very delicate so I refired it and the plaster mold created quite a bit of damage to the kiln in its firing later in the month (October 29).

Due to delays while on Reading week at Sheridan, I fired up another bible (soft glass) on October 26 (@11:am)  in kiln #4.  There were actually 2 pieces this time.  The closed upright version of the bible plus a base to support the weight of my friend Ron’s cross did not survive the firing.  The molds actually cracked and leaked ( no damage this time to the kiln). The pics below show the current status of each piece as of this writing.

This is presently how the refired upright bible looks

Here is the other soft glass version of my bible done October 26 (@11:am) in kiln #4


  1. 3:  hrs…………….^90 degrees
  2. 12:  hrs…………..^110 degrees
  3. 24:  hrs………….^124   “
  4. 30:  hrs………….^600   ”

    This is what survived of the based for the bible. The discolouration was a piece of copper (2mil) sheeting meant to survive as a half mask

  5. 32:  hrs………….@600  “
  6. 32:01  hrs……….^850  “
  7. 50:  hrs…………..@850   “
  8. 50:01  hrs……….  516    “
  9. 65:  hrs……………@516  “
  10. 90:  hrs…………..  390    “
  11. 110: hrs  …………  50     “

During this time, I successfully managed to produce 1 open-faced bible made from the float glass.  Below is the schedule for this Open-faced bible from October 24 (@11:30 am) in kiln #5


  1. 3:   hrs…………….^90 degrees

    Presently how the float glass open-faced bible shows

  2. 12:  hrs……………^110  “
  3. 24:  hrs……………^120   “
  4. 30:  hrs …………..^600  “
  5. 32:  hrs……………@600  “
  6. 32:01 hrs………….^850   “
  7. 50:  hrs…………….  540    “
  8. 65:  hrs……………  @540   “
  9. 90:  hrs…………..     420    “
  10. 110 :  hrs…………..  50       “

As of 9: am, November 18, my most recent open-faced bible began its firing in kiln #5 (soft glass).

I can list the steps used in the program. But the program was another lengthy one.  It was just cooling when I left to help with the installation of our Northern Lights sculpture at the new Sheridan HMC Mississauga campus (across from Square One).  Friday morning required us to meet our Craft History teacher downtown at the Harbourfront Centre.

You might have noticed that I am using clay (not wax) to form this book-like form.


  1. 4: hrs                ^  100 degrees

    I have blocked up my form so that no matter what happens, the plaster is not likely to move.

  2. 24: hrs              ^ 120 degrees
  3. 34: hrs                ^  600   “
  4. 49:  hrs               @ 600  “
  5. 49:01 hrs             ^ 875  “
  6. 85:  hrs             @  875  “
  7. 85:01 hrs             > 516     “
  8. 115:  hrs                @ 516   “
  9. 175:  hrs                > 390  “
  10. 215:  hrs                > 50     “

That is how I wrote the program–because now I am paranoid about allowing enough time for drying and melting of glass.  However, somewhere into the melting process Orion convinced me that I had perhaps attempted overkill for the melting cycle and since the glass appeared completely melted (and showed some small cracks in the mold), we moved forward to the annealing cycle.

Stay tuned for the pictures to show  how my efforts turned out!!

Today’s writing is now Sunday, November 27.  Now that my vehicle has been repaired of a faulty wheel bearing, I can return to school tomorrow.

Prototype of the metal cross-2nd edition is expected to be scaled down

This is the plaster cast I have prepared and have begun firing in soft glass as of this writing

Below are shown the actual cross as well as the plaster cast that is currently being fired as of this writing.

So much happens in the days of being a student!

As of 9:am, November 18, I fired a program to melt soft glass in what we call the Italian kiln in our glassblowing studio.

Here are the steps as they took place without mishap.

Because all of our other kilns work on a different program, I included the equivalent program so that I could understand what I did, should I look back at a later point.

This a detail shot to show the texture of the original metal cross.


Accum.       Equiv.                   Celsius                 Fahrenheit

  1. 4:  hrs     (240 min)           ^  100 degrees  ..     200 degrees
  2. 14:  hrs   (600 min)             ^ 120   ”            ..    248      “
  3. 30: hrs     (960 min)             ^ 120  ”           ..    248       “
  4. 40:  hrs    (600 min)              ^  600  ”       ..   1112        “
  5. 43: hrs    (180 min)                @ 600  ”       ..   1112        “
  6. 43:01  hrs  (1 min -9999)      ^  875  ”       ..    1600       “
  7. 51:  hrs       (480 min)              @  875  ”    ..     1600       “
  8. 51:01  hrs   (1 min-9999)        >   515  ”     ..      960       “
  9. 75:  hrs     (1440 min)            @  515  ”        ..      960       “
  10. 123:  hrs    (2880 min)              >390  ”        ..      740      “
  11. 148:  hrs    (1440 min)                   50   ”       ..       120       “

Our other kilns run on what we call an “accumulative” program and so the time adds up to be reflected in how we input the data.  On the Italian kiln, you must also allow for the fact that we are no longer working in hours but in minutes with Fahrenheit temperature readings–not Celsius.

The glass melted downward into a plaster cast. The rough edge visible was the exposed open side while melting in the kiln.

This smoother surface was what touched the plaster as the glass melted and would produce a slightly translucent quality to the piece.

Miraculously, there were no actual mishaps in the firing of the cross.  It has survived both the total firing process as well as the grinding  of the exposed rough surface and is now safe for someone to pick up and hold in bare hands.

The actual thickness of the piece is approximately 2 1/2 inches.  It is 32 inches long x 20 inches wide (as was its original metal form).

A smaller, altered more decorative version of the cross is being fired as of this writing in the same Italian kiln with soft glass.  To give stability to the mold while in the kiln, it was done this time as a rectangular shape (whereas the first one was shaped to the cross to reduce the amount of plaster used).  Both casts were so heavy that I needed help to place them inside the kiln.

The 2nd cross was begun in its firing as of 5: pm November 23.  With so much plaster and newly molded from the day before, the program went as follows:


Accum.           Equiv.                  Celsius                     Fahrenheit

  1. 48: hrs      (2880 min)      ^  90 degrees         200 degrees
  2. 96: hr        (2880 min)      ^ 120    ”                  248      “
  3.  120:  hrs      (1440 min)      @ 120   ”                248      “
  4.  144: hrs     (1440 min)       ^ 600     ”              1112       “
  5.  147: hrs     (180 min)          @600    ”              1112      “
  6. 147:01 hrs  (1 min – 9999)    ^ 875    ”              1600   “
  7. 157: hrs     (600 min)            @875   ”                1600   “
  8. 157:01 hrs  (i min – 9999)     >515   ”                  960    “
  9. 181: hrs    (1440 min)             @515  ”                 960    “
  10. 229: hrs    (2880 min)            > 740  ”                390     “
  11. 253: hrs    (1440 min)             >  120  ”                  50     “

What you see in the program is about 5 days of slowly climbing temperature to factor in a lot of drying time and note that it is also a weekend (nearing the end of term–so people are stressed and subject to change whatever plans they make).

You can see how this shape has challenged my approach to casting the glass version. I have yet to see if I can manage to save the swirl.

I usually go up north for the weekend.  I could not be certain that someone would be available to check my program and did not want to take the chance that if something failed, it might have reached a higher temperature.  This particular kiln is not used by most of my classmates (it is best suited for fusing with its top elements whereas the others all have their elements on the sides).  The mold for both crosses were only about 5 inches high and would be exposed to the top elements.  That would work in favour of using this kiln.  It is also the only kiln that would hold this type of form.


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Wax Drippings (Larger success story)

Before we begin… I should mention that I found a new passion when I went from using small globs of wax drippings to very large platters of same.  But what really made the difference is what happens when doing this not in soft glass — as I have been using up to now — but when I switched to float (plate or window) glass…. life took on a new direction for me.

Sunday, October 23 @ 6:00, my kiln#1 fired up as follows:


  1. 3:  hrs ……………^95 degrees
  2. 12: hrs……………^110 “
  3. 24: hrs…………..^120  “
  4. 30:  hrs………….^600  “
  5. 32:  hrs………….@600  “
  6. 32:01 hrs……….^850   “
  7. 50:   hrs…………@850  “
  8. 50:01 hrs………     540  “
  9. 65:   hrs………….. 540   “
  10. 90:  hrs …………. 420   “
  11. 110: hrs…………..  50   “

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In my next posting, I’ll talk about the bibles I have been attempting to make.  I use float glass in one of my more successful failures.  I have gone so far as to bring some of the window glass I have been keeping in my yard for years.  As weird as this looks so far, there were no visible checks from shock in this piece.  And the mold actually held–although another using the same material  of similar size did not fare so well.

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