If my early chattering about making globs from scraps of ordinary stained glass in Recycling Scraps of Stained Glass and with fusing glass at Waste Not Want Not have inspired you to make your own then maybe today’s blog will be of some interest. But only if you also do copper-foiled “Tiffany” style work.
Reducing waste and saving the planet is a good ethic, but what’s the point if you don’t make use of them?
I previously mentioned that kids enjoy collecting the recycled glass globs and that sometimes they can be used for pieces of jewellery too. Also, if you live in the land of deliberate bad spellers you might consider making jewelry with them instead.
Today’s theme is all about making use of recycled globs in your copper-foiled “Tiffany” style work.
Grind Before Foiling
Wrapping copper foil around a glob is a rather fiddly process. Not only is it a curved surface but it’s also rather smooth and slippery. The simple answer to this problem is to grind the edges of the globs so that you have a roughened surface against which the copper foil sticks more easily. Grinding can also be used to subtly re-shape a glob that has a defective or irregular shape.
Once you have wrapped the globs with copper foil you’ll want to burnish the copper foil and make the globs ready for soldering. Use your fingers to gently push-in the upper and lower edges of the copper foil but do not waste too much time on this. All that you need to achieve is a crinkly edge that needs the burnishing “finished off” by a method that is less fiddly and more efficient than using a fid or Allnova tool.
Burnishing the Foil
A simple and effective way to complete the burnishing process is to put your foiled globs into a jar with some un-foiled globs, put the lid on the jar, then shake until the burnishing process is complete. This trick is something I read on a forum years ago. So long ago that I don’t recall where or when. There’s no credit due to me for this burnishing method but I can at least recommend it.
On the right you’ll see a picture of a “half pound” jar, some un-foiled globs and some foiled globs. Notice the relative quantities being used. Notice that the foiled-globs still have crinkly edges to their copper foiling.
The number of un-foiled globs to use is not critical. It partly depends on the size of the jar just as it depends on how many foiled-globs are to be burnished. Too many globs in the jar means there’s not enough space for the globs to do their burnishing task. Too few globs in the jar means fewer impacts resulting in a slower burnishing process.
You need to stop shaking as soon as the copper foil is burnished, otherwise the burnishing gets over-done and the copper foil starts to peel away from the globs. The picture on the right shows you the same foiled globs after burnishing. Good, eh?
This noisy task is enjoyed by children but do bear in mind that child labour (labor) is likely to result in over-shaken globs because they are more interested in the noise than the degree of burnishing. To mitigate this problem, reduce the number of un-foiled globs (or maybe eliminate them) so that the burnishing process is slower, thus extending their acceptable period of fun and enjoyment.
Using the Foiled Globs
You might think that there’s nothing more for me to say about how to use some copper-foiled glass. But you’d be wrong. If writing some more means there’s less time for housework then I’m not going to be deterred.
The privileges of childhood include the latitude to do stupid things like stuff small things up noses or in mouths. So, here’s an example of how I tend to use under-sized globs. Incidentally, it’s also a way by which I make use of the irregular shaped rectangles that we produce when squaring-off a wonky ends of newly purchased sheets of glass that were not accurately cut by the supplier.
In this picture you see a small area of a finished abstract piece of copper-foiled work, the design of which is motivated more by the use of scrap glass than intentional artistry. Of greater note in consequence of the theme of this posting is the use of foiled globs. Of incidental interest is the use aforementioned irregular-shaped strips of glass that tend to arise from “squaring-off”.
You can see that this particular example is not random. It may be a “sort-of rainbow” but in other pieces I arrange the globs such that they “sort-of flow” down through “sort-of cracks” between the irregular glass strips in the manner of “sort-of fractured rock”. Notice also that I’ve left a big hole (negative space) in the design. I also try to introduce excitement and interest by using different textures, differing opacity, slipping in a slice of agate or messing around with incomplete patination. Sometimes the best results come from not thinking too much!
My second example is what can be done when you have a huge excess of globs and can’t bear to throw them out. From the picture you’ll see one end of a “box of bubbles”. Just like the previous example I’m using both flat glass, foiled globs and leaving some holes. Incidentally, have you noticed that I chose a Wissmach hammered green border glass to reinforce the “blobby” nature of the interior of the panel?
There are two problems with this kind of panel. The first is that it can use up an awful lot of lead solder and the panels can get very heavy as a consequence. The second is that it’s very time consuming to make. So don’t make these panels too large and don’t expect to recover the real cost of making them if you intend to sell them!
My final comments relate to the technical matter of soldering thick globs into a panel made with thinner glass. You will no doubt realise that the sheet glass will be about 3mm thick but the globs might be 6mm. So, the globs will tend to “stick out” at the front.
If you want your globs to “stick out” only on the front of the panel then simply lay out the pieces front-side uppermost and get soldering without further ado. As an alternative you might try using thick card scraps underneath the plain glass pieces which then allows the globs to “sink” backwards into a more balanced and less proud form.
So, there you have it. A couple more ways to save the planet by making use of recycled glass globs and a simple but effective way to burnish the copper foil onto globs.
A mercifully short blog and not one hint of maths or science. Aren’t you the lucky ones?!
Happy shaking and a happy (though belated) New Year.