|glass clay||kilns at paragonkilns.co.uk or making jewellery at kitiki.co.uk|
Glass Clay is a clay-like material made of fine glass powder and water-soluble organic binders. During firing, the binders vaporise, the powder fuses, and the soft clay turns into real solid glass: ready to wear, give, or sell.
You can design and make your own unique bracelets, brooches, charms, earrings, keepsakes, miniatures, necklaces, ornaments, rings, and seasonal decorations. And you can make beads without a torch.
You can add overlays to gift cards, motifs to handbags, highlights to wood, ceramics, glass, and shells, and produce complex shapes, textures, and patterns from moulds.
|GLASS CLAY: PHOTOS|
To look at the pop-up photos, hold your mouse over the zoom buttons below: you don't need to click.
Flowers By Geneva Perkins.
Since its discovery about 5000 years ago, we've used glass to make containers, decorations, jewellery, mirrors, tools, and windows.
The main component of glass is silicon dioxide, often called silica: found naturally and plentifully as sand. When it melts, at around 1700°C, it's like syrup on a cold day. When it cools, it forms a rigid and brittle glass called quartz glass.
To lower the melting point, and the cost of melting, chemicals are added: typically sodium carbonate and calcium oxide. Other chemicals, and different heating and cooling processes, can produce a range of mechanical properties and colours.
Chemically, glass is an amorphous solid: not a liquid, as is widely believed. As it's heated, it becomes softer allowing it to be bent, blown, cast, coated, and pressed.
Inside a volcano, the intense heat melts sand to form Obsidian, a hard brown-to-black glass. Its lack of crystal structure means that the edges of fractures are extrememely sharp, leading to its ancient use as blades and spear points.
Glass Clay is a clay-like material made of fine glass powder and water-soluble organic binders. As it's fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water vapour, and the glass powder fuses, leaving solid glass. Real glass, not something that just looks like glass.
Glass Clay is ideal for three-dimensional work and frees you from the constraint of working with flat glass. Perhaps the most exciting opportunity is to make your own beads without a torch.
GlasClay is made by ClayMania in vibrant colours, based on glasses from Bullseye and Oruboros. It's sold as a box of twelve colours in 12gm pots. They're all COE90: read this pop-up.
The colours in the table below are a rough guide. The clay powder, mixed powders, fused glass, and re-fused glass will not all look the same.
|Black Opal||Bullseye 90 100|
|Blue Grey Opal||Uroboros 90 076|
|Cinnabar||Bullseye 90 309|
|Cornflower Blue||Uroboros 90 408|
|Deep Cobalt Blue Opal||Bullseye 90 147|
|Deep Plum||Bullseye 90 1105|
|Emerald Green||Uroboros 90 700|
|Grenadine Red||Uroboros 90 606|
|Lemon Grass Opal||Uroboros 90 356|
|Midnight Blue||Bullseye 90 1118|
|Shaded Lawn Opal||Bullseye 90 120|
|Vermillion||Uroboros 90 6071|
GlasClay is fired in a similar way to Art Clay Silver and PMC: put your dry pieces in a kiln and programme the temperature and hold-time.
The firing temperature and time are important: glass clay has to fuse, not melt. There's a difference between fusing and melting: during fusing, the binders in the clay vapourise and the glass powder particles bond to produce solid glass whereas, during melting, the glass powder particles liquify and lose their original clay-shape.
Comprehensive instructions are included with the product although, as with many materials, make time to experiment rather than accept general recommendations as definitive.
|GLASCLAY BASICS: THE BOOK|
GlasClay is a fairly new product. Although you can just read the instructions and experiment, or take a class, there's now a book to help you make a quicker start. You can buy GlasClay Basics in the on-line shop.
As it's an American book, the author, Geneva Perkins, used several US-made kilns such as the Evenheat Studio Pro, the Jen-Ken Bonnie Glo, and the Jen-Ken 11-9. Without trying to compare things that are different, broadly, the Paragon models that are nearest in size get hotter, cost less, have comprehensive digital programmers, and have an EU sales, support, and spares centre.
US-made kilns often have live heating elements that are exposed whenever the door or lid is open. So, to comply with EU safety regulations, most Paragon kilns have an additional switch, included in the price, that cuts off the power whenever the door or lid is opened. Exposed live elements can be very dangerous, and are illegal in the UK.
The glass powder has to be mixed with distilled water. Don't make it too wet or it will get puffy and stay that way during drying. When it's fired, the clay molecules will be too far apart and the end result will be a grainy and muddy.
Firing GlasClay is a multi-segment process: a low-temperature segment, followed by a short high-temperature segment to fuse the glass. Then, by re-firing, the shape, detail, and colour will change: so experiment.
If you're new to glass work, the fired GlasClay colour will differ from the colour when you buy glass: as sheet, rod, or frit.
Glass clays shrink more than metal clays during firing, so it's important to do some tests before starting on your best ideas. However, it does mean that details and textures become more focused.
Coloured glass contains elements such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel, and lead, so wash your hands after use. If you have an accident, wash your hands then your eyes with water and visit the doctor.
All particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so it's important to wear a HEPA mask when mixing powders, handling charcoal, sanding dried clays, and cleaning out your kiln. Ideally, use protective glasses.
Clays, charcoals, dust masks, electric kilns, hot gloves, magnetic polishers, protective glasses, rotary tumblers, and other tools and materials, are in the on-line shop: use the shop link below the menu bar near the top of the page.