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Steider Studios:  Finished Birdbath

Happy Father’s Day Weekend to all the men making a positive difference in the life of a child!  I’ve been working on a bird bath that was commissioned as a gift for a special Dad this week.  Below are my process photos:

Steider Studios:  Paula's Birdbath phase 1

Powdered glass is sifted in a pattern on top of a sheet glass substrate, then lines are drawn through the powder.  Disc is fired in a glass kiln for about 16 hours.

Steider Studios:  Second Layer of Paula's Birdbath

Second layer of glass powder is added to client’s bird bath, mimicking the first layer, but overlapping colors will be richer.  Lines are drawn alternating with the under-layer design.  Additional red accent dots are added to balance how bright the central red ring turned out.  Firing schedule includes a slow ramp up, long bubble squeeze and careful annealing.

Steider Studios:  Birdbath photographed in shade before slump

Out of the kiln, a bit of cold-working (grinding the edge to eliminate any rough spots and to form a perfect circle) then it will be almost ready to shape into a bird bath form.

Steider Studios:  Birdbath outside in sunlight.

I auditioned it in my sunlit garden to make sure the iridescent sparkle in the glass showed through these colors.  Next I add some lines of gold duplicating those drawn through the powder, then it’s ready for it’s final firing.

Steider Studios:  Birdbath Shaping in Progress

To shape the disc into a functional bird bath, I ramp the heat up slowly overnight so I can watch it and control the process the following morning at my leisure.  Center of glass slowly ‘drops’ or sags through the open center of a ceramic ring.  At 1200º it took about 35 minutes – may have taken less time if I weren’t introducing cool air every 3 minutes as I peeked to watch progress.

When I like the shape, I quickly ramp down to the anneal segment, then wait until the glass is at room temperature before removing it from my kiln.  A potter friend made this ceramic ring for me in a larger size than commercially available.

Next up some pendant lighting and a cool outdoor fence/gate project!!

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