Kiln formed bubble blocks.

I have been fascinated by the bubble for a very long time. When very early pieces failed due to any number of contributing factors to cause excess degassing under a slab of glass, no tears. I loved the way it moved the colours at the edge before it thinned out to form a dome. On smaller failures with thicker domes I realized the potential to use them as magnifiers over multiple points on a panel of glass to distort the underlying lay up. This had promise, and still has after I’ve had time to think about it. It has every thing to do with tooling for some things to meet an agreeable standard, neat and clean.
Bicarbonate of Soda is another beauty that delivers great results, especially creating veils between layers or applied to chosen areas between the layers. Getting the mix and application right determines, chaos and control. Don’t mind a bit of chaos from time to time, but it’s much harder to have a vision of what I’ve set out to achieve. Likewise organics trapped beneath or between layers have been interesting as part of trying to understand how a kiln forming glass worker can gain more control.
Glass blowers are the masters of the bubble. I envied all those taking part in the dance to create all of their forms. I was offered a chance to play with a gather of glass once in 2003 and declined, solely due to the fact that once wouldn’t have been enough.
The blocks were not a one hit wonder and had some spectacular failures. With the thought that it was possible to achieve this and that one day I could go bigger and also on to slabs filled with controlled bubbles pushing through the layers to reach the top, I was over the moon when the first successful bubble block was produced. Equally happy when more successes followed, the failures took the foot off the pedal just a little bit. Guessing without a ruler the original blocks to make up the work, “Thinking Totem”, would be an eighth or less of the size that I’m currently producing. One problem with the bigger blocks is that cold working on some of the pieces that are thin walled are at risk of failure due to exposing the bubble. That can be a real whip. Can hardly wait to get home to build a new mould to suit double stacked Caldera kilns, will have to get serious here with time, heat and volume of bubble, along with all of the other considerations to have integrity.
The best part about this process for me is that I need the box open at top temp more often than not. Mindful to maintain good temperature for the glass. I’ve learnt to use compressed air to cool top of block gradually if I feel that a bubble is rising too quickly and is likely to continue once hold at that temp is cancelled. On other occasions it is a case of using a flame to heat a section on top of block to allow movement into that area. I have along way to go before I can gain control of a bubble through heated glass, to know it’s position within a slab at a certain time ,working at desired temperature. It’s just science. How many bubbles in a slab could one fit? Can’t jam them in there all at once. This is where being a diesel fitter is going to pay off again. I so want to be an ex one though

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