Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Former Dental Practice

By coincidence only a week after seeing my dentist I was called out to a house that was the former dental practice. It was designed and built as the dental surgery for the area. Now that dentistry has advanced so much since the 1930's, It was remodelled as a private residence some years ago.

I does have a definite arts deco appearance. It makes use of simple materials, and has simple lines with a few elements picked out.

The dominating feature of the frontage is the tall window that lights the stairs behind.

At the top of the window is the only place on the frontage where the brick is revealed. Otherwise the walls are of a uniform texture painted white.

On the inside the window soars above the half landing and the floor above. It is remarkable how just a few textures of clear glass can provide an elegant feature to a building.

This is the reason I was called out. It is quite a distance from the street, but the stone made its mark with enough force to break the pane.

The large Flemish glass used in this window is no longer made. There is a deep Flemish that is much less soft than this currently in production, but it would be a poor match and stand out obviously from the rest. I have put out questions to various people who I think might have some of this glass that ceased production in the 1970's or 80's.

Just a few days ago when I was looking for some other glass, I came across a large Flemish with soft edges that might just do. It is a little larger than this window uses, but I think it will be a good match for the repair. So if I don't hear from other workers and suppliers, I think I will go ahead with my newly found large Flemish glass. Shame that it is the last that I have.

A complete rebuild came into the studio recently which had the right glass, but unfortunately, of too small a width. So the search goes on.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Testing Fibre Paper

A new product has come to my attention courtesy of my glass supplier. I was given a quantity of 1mm and 3mm fibre paper to test, so I have been combining a range of fusing activities with the testing of this product. I think it is worth knowing about and so include my report to the supplier here.

Eco Fibre Papers


The appearance of the Eco fibre paper is the same as standard ceramic fibre paper. The feel is less fibrous with fewer sharp “prickles”. The fibre paper cuts easily and cleanly with scissors or knives. There is much less tearing than with ceramic fibre paper.

The burnout of the binders creates a “chemical” odour, a faint smell similar to finger nail polish. The odour starts at about the same temperatures as ceramic fibre paper, but continues to higher temperatures – up to ca. 600C.

The unfired strength is as good as ceramic fibre paper. But after firing the fibres have little strength, becoming “fluffy” without changing shape. The effect is that the paper comes off the shelf with the glass at all forming temperatures. Spreading powdered batt/kiln wash over the fibre paper reduces this grabbing of the glass, but does not eliminate it.

The texture imparted by Eco fibre paper is indistinguishable from ceramic fibre paper. This can be reduced by smoothing batt/kiln wash over the fibre paper.

The fluffy nature of the Eco fibre paper means there is almost no dust. The cleanup is easy as the fibre paper can be pulled or wiped off and the final clean with water is simple.

This is a one use paper. Trying to fire a second time leaves a heat mark and fires fibres into the bottom surface of the glass at temperatures above 700C.

I have not yet tried to use this in a rigidised form, or as a mould material with colloidal silica, but it would appear to be well suited for this.

The Testing Conditions were for kiln carving (830C), fusing (804C) tack fusing (770C), and painting (580-650C) in gas and electric kilns. The fibre paper tested was of 1mm and 3mm thicknesses.


The amount of ceramic fibre in the Eco fibre paper is very much smaller than standard ceramic fibre paper making it more healthy to use. There is less dust with the Eco fibre paper, meaning less dust in the studio atmosphere, and easier disposal.

The cost of Eco fibre paper is about 1/3 less than the equivalent thicknesses of standard fibre paper.


The Eco fibre papers stick to the glass very easilly and requires sprinkling of powder over the paper to reduce (although not eliminate) the sticking.
It is a one use fibre paper because of this sticking, whereas the standard papers did not stick to the glass, allowing more than one firing with careful use.


Eco fibre paper is available from Pearsons Glass.

I have yet to test the fibre board made by the same company, but look forward to obtaining some for testing.

Stephen Richard

Verrier, 4.6.10

Addendum 17.6.11

The performance of the Eco fibre paper in a rigidised form is much more fragile than the "standard" fibre paper. It is not recommended for rigidising, as there is much less strength in the fired out rigidised form.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


At the same time I was participating in the Parade Artists show, I was also demonstrating the construction of stained glass windows at panel scale. This was part of a whole range of activities being done in the church during the day on Saturday. Junko Eager was demonstrating glass engraving, Alistair Gray was doing quick portraits for donations to the church, there was a photographer giving information on improving photography, children were painting faces on gas filled balloons and releasing them to fly across Glasgow. There were other things going on too - too many to mention really.

So you get to see me in action soldering a simple art deco style panel that I cut, leaded and soldered through the day.

I also continued work on cutting a second panel during the afternoon as things began to get more busy.

Sometimes I worked in isolation and other times with people looking closely at what I was doing. As you can see the altar was just the right height to work upon - no sacrilege meant or taken.

Near the end of the day one person I was talking to insisted on buying the art deco panel. It made my day in an odd way.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

West End Festival

This year I participated in the West End Festival rather than just attending some of the events. I participated with the Parade Artists in a craft and arts show in Lansdowne Church last weekend.

It was a strenuous show as the props and stock had to be taken through the church and up to the first floor. Then decanted to the ground floor on Friday night before setting up again on Saturday. These photos show the latter stages of setting up for the Saturday show

Emilka the organiser (standing) and Emma Jo (sitting as she has already set every thing of hers up).

Some of the ceramics, textiles, and painting set up. Waiting for paintings for the easels

Glass (with Dorte in front), Textiles, Ceramics and the Sales Desk

Vicky rushing to the next task past some of the texties and ceramics

This proved to be one of the easiest and cheerful of recent shows as everyone participated in getting the show arranged, set up and stocked. It was of course very physical and I felt it on Sunday.

The sales were moderate, but we received a lot of comment on the quality of materials, and some members have said they would be interested in doing it again next year.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Old into New

A while back a client was given an old panel by a friend to enliven their new house.

As you can see there is some interesting and no longer available vaseline glass included in the panel. The varying light between the bottom and the top shows some of the difference in colour caused by the level of light striking the glass. It is also a better example of arts nouveau than many and so seemed to be worth while keeping.

These same people who gifted the panel recommended me as a person who could arrange the mechanisms to hang the panel. The client brought the panel to me and we discussed the proposal to hang this in the door. I was unhappy about hanging a panel in a door for reasons of safety of the panel and of the clients.

I also was unsure of how the size of the panel related to the size of the door and arranged to go to their house to get a better idea of what was being proposed. The door is considerably larger than the panel and of different proportions.

So I said that the minimum required to keep the panel and people safe was to mount the existing panel in steel bars which would be fixed to the sides of the door. This wiould give two strong horizontal lines across the door opening. The client (and certainly not me) was not happy with this. So I quickly went on to say that the panel could be remade into a larger one for the door, removing the deep flemish glass that existed. This was difficult to envisage, so I agreed to devise a setting (for a fee which would be incorporated into the whole cost if they agreed) for the panel and bring it to them for approval.

In the end, I developed a full size cartoon which I took to them and placed in the door for them to consider. As the proportions of the two were so different, I needed some way of lengthening the image contained in the panel. This extension needed to be sympathetic with the original. My decision was to extend the acorn shaped buds at the bottom and add two formal elements - the half circles - at the top and bottom to draw the whole together. It also provided a "base" or cradle at the bottom and gives an overall oval appearance.

The image was approved and after some discussion about colours of glass, light loss and other aesthetic matters, a price was agreed.

The disassembly began. I removed the perimeter glass so the panel would not have an appearance of being inserted whole into the surrounding glass. Various repairs were made and decisions taken on the placing of the grid lines. The cartoon you see here was modified from the one shown to the clients in the detail of where the verticals and horizontals were placed.

The glass was selected to match as nearly as possible to the existing glass where relevant, and clear glass was chosen to surround the main image.

In the leaded up state, you can see that exact matches for the vaseline glass was not possible. Instead a translucent white glass was chosen that transmits amber in sunlight to compliment the way the vaseline glass changes its colour.

Finally, it was cemented and had its ties for the glazing bars attached. After some hesitation I went for two instead of four glazing bars. This was on the grounds that as a laminated glass sheet was to be placed on the outside, the two bars would be enough to protect the glass from bowing inwards if the door happened to slam into the wall.

The finished panel installed. I think the door fits well with the terrazzo tiling of the hallway.

Although the panel is a large one - 1140 by 850 mm - it does not appear to be out of place in scale. As soon as this was installed, the client began to think of how they could deal with the remainder of the large flemish glass. That of course, will be when funds are again available.