September, 2016.

Update on recent work.

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A very large fluted bowl inspired by the work of Dale Chihuly.  Here’s a link to a Youtube clip of the last couple of minutes of the hour long process.  https://youtu.be/D0I2mhYD4Ew

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Christmas glass session.  Lave red and aquamarine blue incalmo bowl with internal inclusions inspired by the work of Keith Rowe.

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More Incalmo.  Some of my favourite colours.  Wine red and chilli red.  The chilli red is a Kugler colour from Germany.  Most of our colours are from Gaffer Glass in NZ.

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The view inside.

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Canary Yellow and Saffron incalmo vase.

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Wine red with internal decorations.

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Wine red with gold leaf.

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Saffron and flouro green incalmo.

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Lava red (Kugler glass) and Forest green.

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Saffron with gold leaf in the clear lip.

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Wine red lip and base with inclusions.

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This is one of our favourite pieces.  Wine red and flouro green.

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Triple incalmo.  Wine Red, Canary Yellow and Chilli Red (Kugler).

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Chilli Red.  This colour is semi transparent and just glows.

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Some earlier cane work inspired by the work of Lino Tagliapietra.

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Some photos from a newspaper article in the Hawkesbury Gazzette under the title: “Slow dancing with glass…”  Here’s a link to the article and photos: http://www.hawkesburygazette.com.au/story/3873782/slow-dancing-with-glass-photos-video/

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Copper and silver colours.

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My brother Colin working with me over Christmas.  He kept encouraging me to focus on the incalmo pieces with internal decorations.

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Colin is a doctor and did a great job at helping.

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A very hot trim.  Hot enough to burn my hand so the next time I wore a leather glove.

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Light shades and hanging glass feature at Concord Church.  The Lecturn was also part of the art work for the church.

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Closeup of hanging glass.

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Recent work.

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More incalmo pieces.  Teal green with grey lip.

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Aquamarine with charcoal grey lip.

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Teal green and grey.

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Just a revision of our work on large plates.  The vermillion red plate.  This plate measures 50 inches or 1.25 meters and weighs about 50 kilos.

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A slightly smaller and lighter plate.  The yellow is very bright.l1170438

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First try with red and blue.  Another red and blue plate is on the way.

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This plate is a mixture of pink, yellow and black with reactions between the three.  The reactions give some green, blue and purple tonings.

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Some closeups of the colour.

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The last plate we’ve made.  The photos will be more impressive once the plate is finished.  It still needs to have the base ground with the diamond disk.  That only takes a day to do.

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I used orange glass in the middle but at the moment it looks maroon.  It may look different once it is finished.

The only other news is that I have to replace the tank in the melting furnace because it has cracked and started losing glass.

September 14, 2016.

 

 

 

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August, 2015

Last year I took my long service leave and was able to do more glass than usual.  The new furnace is working really well, but it’s going to be upgraded soon.

Just a few photos of the team.  Wayne and Leigh at work.  Leigh started just this year.

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The Very Large Glass Kiln.

It took two years to build the kiln from scratch.  I’ve made lot’s of spun glass plates in a smaller kiln but I wanted to make them even bigger.

Here’s one of the smaller plates.

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They measure about 20 inches in diameter.

Building the large kiln…

Milling the main shaft from 75 mm bright steel bar.

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The base is insulated with soft fire bricks.

 

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The top is insulated with high temperature blanket.  There are eight elements which draw about 80 amps.

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Switched on.

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We had to install 3 phase power to the garage to run the kiln.  When the kiln switches on all the lights in McGraths Hill go dim.

Some pictures from the first firing.  It took about three weeks to fire the first plate and grind it.

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The colours were added just before the final shaping of the glass.

Here are two links to a Youtube video that show the whole process.

(The second video works on smart phones.)

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The stand holds the plate and makes it possible to turn it over and keep it in position for grinding.  The first plate weighed 70 kilos.  The red plate weighed 50 kilos.

The blue plate broke in half, but that gave us the challenge of making something sculptural.

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The red plate, using my favourite colour from Gaffer Glass, which is Vermillion.

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Recent Glass From 2015.

A set of 41 tall vases, with square bases (blown into a steel mold) made for the Hawkesbury Gallery exhibition.

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More glass from 2015.

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This pink and orange piece was made by Wayne.  Very impressive.

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Detail of the pattern.

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A large bowl in Dale Chihuly’s style.

 

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A vase in Lino’s style.

The new pot just arrived from China.  This will hold nearly three times as much glass as the old one and will make it easier to do a week of blowing.

The hard part will be pulling the furnace apart and putting the pot in.  Then it has to be heated up very slowly before we load the first batch of glass.

 

 

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Until next time…

April, 2014

April Session

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These are Wayne’s pieces.  This bowl is stunning with a mix of gold ruby, aquamarine and orange.

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Cherry red and aquamarine.

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The saffron with the aquamarine reacts on contact giving the darker colours.

The main focus this session was on cane work.

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Plain blue canes.

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Three sets of canes.  Blue and black filigree and fine white lines.  Click on the photo to see the detail.

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Twisted ribbon canes and white.

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Black filigree.  The texture reminds me of weaving.

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Blue filigree or lattice canes.

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This is my favourite of the filigree cane pieces both for its shape and red highlights.

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A larger piece with blue rosettes and white canes in the background.  Next time I will put 24 canes in the decorations.

Rosie and I spent a whole day making canes.  Most of them had a white core with a colour overlay.  We are still learning how to get them right.

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A large vase with free form cane work.  Saffron and aquamarine are my favourite colours for these canes.

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This piece took Rosie and I over an hour.  We tried a Lino method which begins by picking up the canes, then shaping them so they curve around the base.

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Some more cane work.

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The ribbon cane has a vermillion centre and black filigree on the outside.  Click for more detail.  We also finished it with a very small hole in the top.

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A large flattened bowl.L1120871

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This is a delightful piece using cherry red chips and black enamel (powder).  I’ve been experimenting with twisting the chips on the gather, then using the optical mold to rib the colour, then twisting again.  It’s very effective.

Now for a series of bottles as requested by the Boss.

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The first set of colours are mixtures of copper and silver based glass.  The reaction between these two types of glass give some earthy and milky effects.  Silver based glass can be blue or yellow and copper gives light blue or red.

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Gold ruby (pink) and saffron.

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The largest of the set.  Plain pink.

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Some dichroic pieces, leaving the colour on the outside.  This also gives a rough texture to the colour.

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A tall dichroic vase.

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Finally a fruit bowl with a twist.

That’s it for the present.

New Furnace

 

Building a New Glass Furnace.

Before leaving for New Zealand, I decided to start building a new furnace.  The old one was about had it.  So out with the old and in with the new.

I’ll just put captions on the photos of each stage.

 

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Main support for furnace base.  50mm square box section.  Octagonal to support a circular steel plate.

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Angle grinder set up to cut a large circle.

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The disk is about one metre and 6 mm thick.

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Steel disk topped with some thinner stainless just to minimise corrosion.

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One very strong base with solid aluminium wheels.

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Closeup of wheel.

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Insulating fire brick, three layers thick which is about 9 inches.

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A steel mitre box to keep the saw straight.  These firebricks are high quality, very light and soft enough to cut with a handsaw.  They are made of alumina or aluminium oxide which is commonly used in furnace building.

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Each brick gave me two pieces to add to the circle.

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Rubbing the bricks together gave them a perfect fit.

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The centre needed a diameter of 16 inches.

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All finished and tied up with wire.

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The tank or crucible for the glass sits in this cavity.  There is a minimum of 9 inches firebrick all around and underneath.

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The stainless steel case.

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Mixing the vermiculite, clay and water for packing between the stainless and the firebricks.

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This had a month or more to dry out before I finished the top.

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The internal shape for the high temperature dome.

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Internal and external mold for the castable refractory or high temperature cement.

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The casting finished and wrapped up to cure.

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Cast finished.  Very heavy and strong.  It took three or four of us to lift it into place.

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Door mechanism working.

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Blanket insulation in place.

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Finished.

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Inside view.

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All fired up, ready to load.

I pre heated the furnace with an electric element for nearly a week, then started the gas.  We blew glass for over three weeks and the new furnace didn’t use any

more gas than the old one.  It is better insulated and gives better quality glass.

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One ton of glass batch.  Forty bags at twenty five kilos each.

The End.

February Session

February, 2014.

We did just over three weeks of blowing in February.

The first pieces focused on black canes with clear glass.  Some of them were quite monumental.  The first three pieces were a team effort with Wayne and Jonathan helping.

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The largest piece with black cane rosettes.  I made the rosettes first and kept them hot in the top hat kiln, then picked them up on the main gather.

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Twisted cane pattern with flattened sides and a pulled neck.  Looks a bit like a snake skin.

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Fine line canes with a pulled neck.

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Fine line canes on a flattened piece.

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This piece was very tall when we put it away but a crack ran about half way down the neck.

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Black and white canes.

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More black and white canes but picked up and wrapped around the base.

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Same technique as the previous two black and white pieces.

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Another team effort.  We picked up one set of canes and made a small pot then put it in the top hat kiln to keep warm.  Then we picked up another set of canes and blew this gather into the pot.  Hence the lattice effect.  This is quite a long process.

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Some rosettes and fine line canes with added colour.

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Another lattice piece with two cane pick ups.  Plus a pulled neck.

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Rosie and I made some cane with a very fine black line in it.  We will do more of this style.  The colour is vermillion.

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Here is a cherry red transparent with the fine black canes.

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These canes are twisted to give a lattice effect.

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Orange transparent with canes.

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Twisted ribbon canes and plain black canes.  This is a classic looking piece.

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Some of the twisted and straight canes Rosie and I made.  We had better success with canes this time than before.

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Red and blue vase.

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Jonathan’s last piece.  Quite arty.

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Colours ready for making birds and cats.  Hundreds of them.

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The latest fashion in birds.

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And cats.

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The last gasp for the session.  One very large colourful bowl.

The End.

Hi,

This is a brief report on our month away in NZ.  It has little to do with glass blowing, although we visited two studios in the North Island.  One was in Rotorua called “De Flute Glass” and the other was near Taupo called “Lava Glass”.  It was interesting to see what other glassblowers are making.  We also saw some glass in a couple of galleries in Queenstown, which is very much a tourist mecca.

The main purpose of this page is to show you some of my better pictures of South New Zealand.  We lived in Christchurch for six years and so some of the places we went were quite familiar to us.

Here they are.

 

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Lake Wakatipu, Looking towards Glenorchy.

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Milford Sound.  The camera cannot capture the grandeur of this fiord.

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Lake Heron with some fresh summer snow on the mountains.

Mesopotamia

A place called Mesopotamia.  The valley along the headwaters of the Rangitata River.

Lake Camp

Lake Camp, on a rare still morning.  There’s usually a wind blowing from the north-west or the south.

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A bumble bee in Hagley Park, Christchurch.

I took over 6,500 photos in New Zealand.  Most of them will stay on the computer and never be seen again.  I put about a 1,000 on the iPad while we were travelling and now have a selection of 60 or so favourites.

My next report will be the glass from the new furnace.  Maybe I will show how I built the furnace as well.  That’s if it works well.

Report on the Exhibition

Wayne and I had nearly forty pieces to put in the gallery for the exhibition.  A local reporter put our story in the Hawkesbury Independent.

The staff at the gallery were really enthusiastic about having our glass on display.  They’ve done a great job setting things up and promoting everything.

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All set up in the Gallery.

When all the pieces were set out in the room they looked smaller.  Of course the glass artworks for the Ranamok Prize were mostly much larger.

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Four of Wayne’s pieces.

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New Glass.

I thought the middle of October would be mild weather.  However we had the hottest three or four days so far this spring.  The Wednesday was close over 35 degrees.  I had a couple of fans running to keep a bit cooler and drank lots of water and juice.

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A friend of the family wanted some glass for a wedding anniversary.  The large bowl has magic colours.  The vase was also included.

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Wayne made this amazing piece.  He has a good sense of colour.  The base was getting a bit thin so we added a clear foot.

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Lot’s of flattened vases.  I tried wetting the cork blocks but they didn’t work well.  Once they dried out they were back to normal with lot’s of smoke and the occassional fire.

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These two vases use similar colours to the large bowl, but I didn’t put any black enamel with the colour.

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The tallest teal green vase is a metre high.  I got the piece as hot as I could control it then hung it up and watched it stretch.  It almost touched the floor.  I’m learning how to put these tall pieces in the annealing oven.  I can only put them in the large oven.  They have to cool down as much as possible before they are cracked off.  Of course if the vase gets too cool it will crack.

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This vase had three pastel colours mixed and dropped off the pipe before the bubble was started.  Then the top started bending so I grabbed one side with the diamond shears and added a bit of character.

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A Zebra or Tiger pattern.

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I like this piece for the plain colour and the even shape.

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A free form sculpture or rather an accident.  This was meant to be a paperweight but I stuck on the door of the furnace.  I had to get it out of the furnace as it’s a bit of a disaster if all that colour ends up in the tank.  So by the time I’d got it unstuck it didn’t look anything like a paperweight.  Hence the freeform shape.

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This is what a good paperweight looks like.

That’s it for the moment.