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Friday, November 29, 2013

Oops! Now what?!? Working with frit and No Days Liquid Fusing Adhesive

"Embroidered Dogwood" fused glass plate created with frit,
Glassline paints and No Days Liquid Fusing Adhesive.
The creation of this plate is an epic tale. So grab your preferred beverage, sit back and enjoy the ride!

Clear fusible glass base with painted trace lines done with
Glassline paints.

In the beginning, there was a circle of clear glass and some glassline paints to outline the design...I've been working on a series of floral themed platters. Some of them are very realistic looking, but mostly, I lean towards abstract and lots of color. My aim for this particular plate was to make it look geometric with a sense of needlework. After tracing the outlines of my design from a template to the clear glass base and letting the paints dry (10-15 minutes), I was ready to add details and color with various frits.

Building frit design from the center outward over the
dried paints. Frit is held firmly in place with
No Days Liquid Fusing Adhesive.
When I'm using frits, the size grain that I use depends upon the outcome I'm going for. When adding fine detail lines, I use fine frit (size F2 in System 96 or size 01 in Bullseye). The fine frit allows me to create highly detailed imagery. It is also easy to sculpt with the No Days Liquid Fusing Adhesive. If I have larger areas of my design to fill in, I'll switch to medium or coarse frit sizes and often blend colors, as well as mixing opals with cathedrals. Once I've got my design established, I find a good starting point in the center-ish. This makes it easier to work on your piece without brushing your arms across your design.

Detailed frit designs are added in a circular motion building outward.
I lay down a bit of No Days Liquid Fusing Adhesive, then cover it with frits. I sculpt the frits into the shape I want them to be. It's easiest to work from the inside out (in this case).  By starting in one spot and then working next to it, you've got a wall of frit to support each new addition. I decided to experiment with adding some coarse frit accents in areas (to mimic the knotted stitches in embroidery), and then covering them with fine frit. Here, we're viewing the plate from what will be the front side when the plate is finished. It's helpful to have a mirror to work on, then you can see what the front side of the plate looks like as you're working without having to lift the plate overhead.

Checking the progress, looking up at the underside.
If you build on a mirror, you can check your progress as you work.
Although there are no trace lines outside of the flower in the center, I wanted to continue building in a pattern around the edges. Each new color got placed and sculpted until I reached the edge...

The design is nearly finished! And then...
Super close to being finished, and can you believe that it still hasn't occurred to me that I'm working with "enemies"? Wait, what?!?

A picture of the finished frit design before firing in the kiln to
burn off the adhesive and save my design...hopefully.
Yea! It's all finished, and about this time I realize that I've used a piece of 90 COE clear base with 96 COE frits. This is one of those projects that sat in my studio for a few months after being painted before I was able to get to it and add frits. A great lesson in keeping an extremely well organized studio if you plan on firing glass in the kiln. Either stick with one kind of compatible glass, or segregate your pieces from step one! 
So, now I'm left with a beautiful mosaic platter. I could have left it glued together as a flat piece and the No Days Liquid Fusing Adhesive would keep it glued together for good. But, that's not the intention I had when creating this plate, so it's time to trouble shoot. And, admittedly, that's one of the great pulls that fused glass holds over me. I love problem solving and understanding the whys behind the process. So, time to experiment...

First attempt to burn off the adhesive...obviously failed.
Getting to know No Days... The picture above shows the results of my poor plate going into the kiln after the first attempt at burning off the adhesive. 

The firing schedule follows:
300ºF per hour600ºF1.30

NOTE: All following firing schedules will have the above layout, with the first column being degrees per hour (in ºF), the second column is the target temperature in ºF, and the third column is the hold time: hours.minutes).

Obviously the adhesive did not fully burn out. The frit is still stuck firmly to the plate and has not dropped to the kiln shelf. Looks "carmelized." Yum.

Detail of caramelized glass...Frit is still stuck in place! the adhesive really holds! Let's see what a second burnout attempt looks like...

Second burnout attempt.

I left the kiln vented for the entire firing so I could observe what was happening. [Also, my studio is in the garage next to a window that I can open for ventilation. I always recommend trying to keep your kiln in a space that is not a living space. That way anything that burns out while firing (binders, adhesives, fiber papers, etc.) will not stink up your house.]

At 800ºF, there was visible smoking.

At 920ºF, there is no visible smoke, but I could smell the adhesive burning off and see brown on the kiln shelf.

After 45 minutes at hold temp (1000ºF), I could no longer see any carbon burnout on the piece or kiln shelf. The frit has not dropped from the glass to the shelf.
After the firing was complete, the adhesive in the center of the plate had obviously not burned off. The frit on the edges of the plate can be tapped off of the glass. (This makes me want to do another experiment to see how well the frit holds on to the plate after burning off the adhesive...that's for another post...)

[NOTE: The plate is placed directly on a kiln-washed shelf with no fire paper. The clear glass on top of all the frit is preventing the adhesive from burning out in the center. It would be much quicker to burn off the adhesive if the glass base were on the bottom and the frit on top. However, I need to get the adhesive to burn out and release my frit onto the kiln shelf, so I can replace the clear glass with compatible System 96 glass! This means that it's taking longer for me to burn out the adhesive than it would under normal circumstances (frit on top of sheet glass in the kiln).]

Second attempt firing schedule:
300ºF per hour1000ºF1.30

The adhesive has fully burned off after 4.5 hours in the kiln and
three successive low temperature firings.
At this point, I decided to try the second firing schedule again. Why? Well, I don't want to raise my top temperature any further. If I creep up towards 1100ºF, my glass base will start to distort and slump into the frit, and my hope is to salvage that piece to create a different dogwood plate. I figured that another long hold at 1000ºF will help to get that adhesive out from under the glass in the center of the plate. Guess what?!?  After the third burnout attempt, SUCCESS! Full burnout of adhesive. The frit is still stuck to the plate in places, but can be tapped off, mostly.

Third attempt at burnout firing schedule:

300ºF per hour1000ºF1.30

The frit that has been tapped off of the clear glass and salvaged on the kiln shelf.

The frit design has been saved on my shelf so I can now prep a clear piece of System 96 glass to cap it with!
This is the frit that was still hanging on the clear piece of glass!
Can you believe the adhesive is still working after all of that?!?
I wasn't able to tap off all of the frit. The adhesive has fully burnt out, but the frit is still sticking together. It did come off of the plate when I wiped it clean, but I just trashed the bits that didn't transfer to the shelf. Below, you can see where I added additional frit to the design to fill in the gaps (aiming for the magical 6mm thickness that glass wants to be at a full fuse).

Take two...(or is it four?)...I've added a clear sheet of Spectrum to
cap the frit that was left on my kiln shelf.

I prepped another sheet of glass, this time using the proper glass: Spectrum clear with Glassline paints.
Full fuse number one...success-ish!
After a full fuse, the plate has a few divots (not to be confused with devit = devitrification; because there's none of that), plus I want to add more depth.

Time to add more depth and detail to the top side of this design
with coarse frits and a No Days Powder Wafer.
Plus, clear frit to even out the thickness of the glass.
There are areas where the thickness of the glass wasn't 1/4," so I added some clear frit to fill in the divots. Also, I wanted more of those embroidery "French knot stitches" and added bits of coarse frit for detail. Then, because the middle was still lacking, I decided to add a No Days Powder Wafer. Uh...what's that? It's still a secret! But, watch for details in the next few months. Oh! And you can sign up for Jacqui Bush's Vegas class to get a jump start on the technique, too!

I'm on a roll! Time to get these projects fired and finished!
For the finishing full fuse, I loaded the kiln with two other projects I've been waiting to fire.
The plate on the lower left is ready for it's first firing. It was also built entirely of frit on clear with No Days Liquid Fusing Adhesive. 90 COE exclusively... I did not have to fire it several times to facilitate full burnout of the adhesive because the clear piece of glass is on the bottom of the frit. This means the adhesive can escape straight up and out of the piece, unlike the previous pictures of the dogwood plate where the adhesive had to escape beneath the clear glass to the edges before burning off.
Also, notice the addition to my kiln shelf of fire paper. Firing on fire paper ensures that any air between the kiln shelf and the plate has a chance to escape, meaning that I get no big, unexpected bubbles bursting through the top of my plates!

Ahhh! What a feeling! Finally finished, well, except for the slump.

Tada! Full fused again and ready to slump. This particular mold is the Round Rippled Drop Out Mold from Slumpy's. I've been really into using drop-out molds against the kiln shelf to make nice flat-bottomed plates. Flat-bottomed plates make my slumping world go 'round...or something like that ;)

Post-slump firing in a drop out mold from Slumpy's.

Wow! You made it all the way to the bottom and the end of my saga! Hope you were able to follow along without too much confusion. However, if you've got questions, I'd love to hear them and see if I can't answer them, as well :) Leave a comment on the blog and I'll do my best to answer!

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