Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fused Dichroic Glass and Copper Bangles

Well ! That's my 9 year old Katie's favorite word these days and after taking time to look at how long it has been since my last post here on the blog that's the only word I can think of this morning too! Well....... I guess it has been a while, but I'm here now and thought I'd add a few new photos of my latest projects and wish you all a happy summer!

Summer, what a wonderful word! The weather is warm, the grass is green and my girls are on vacation, YAY!!!! I just love summer, early mornings listening to the birds sing there morning songs while my house is still peaceful and quiet. A walk through the dew covered grass to take a look at my growing garden while sipping on a hot cup of fresh coffee and the smell of the fresh air.

Life is good!

I recently had a request from a customer to make a bangle bracelet as a gift for her sister and of course once I got started I couldn't just stop at one so I have made several to add to my etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5216437 .

I love making these bangles they are just beautiful. Of course I start with a focal of fused dichroic glass that I make in my kiln. The glass is stacked in layers and placed in the kiln for the first firing. I fire my glass around 1500 degrees for about 4 hours and then cool it over night.

This brings the glass to a full fuse and cooling the glass over night anneals the glass and protects it against cracking. It forms a very durable piece of glass that I then shape on the grinder to form the shape. Once I am happy with the shape of the cabochon I change out my grinder bit and use a jewelry bit that cuts the grooves around the outer edge of the cab. After I complete the set of cabs they are all cleaned a final time and placed back into the kiln for a final fire polishing. I fire polish my glass at 1200 degrees , from start to finish this cycle takes about 3 hours and the kiln is cooled again over night.

The groove I cut in the glass creates the perfect channel for wire wrapping and gives me a finished focal piece that is secure with no worries that the glass will slip out. I used 20 gauge copper wire to wrap the cabs and a small dowel gives me perfect rings on the end for adding my bands onto. The triple wrapped loops on each end give the glass balance and makes the finished bracelet more durable.

The bands are made using 14 gauge copper wire that is first rolled through my small rolling mill to be flat. I measure and cut each segment of the band, file the ends smooth and then use metal stamps to add a scroll like pattern. Once I am happy with the design I shape the ends using my pliers and hammer the loops. The bands are then shaped using a mandrel so they fit comfortably around your wrist and they are finished off with hand formed and hammered copper wire claps that simply slide into the loop on the opposite side of the band. Easy to put on, comfortable and extremely durable.

I hope you like them and if your inspired by my design and are able, give it a try, make a few of your own, your going to love the finished product and be amazed at how durable and strong these little beauties are. That's always a concern of mine when I make a product to sell is will it last? and these will last for years.

I have given the bracelets a beautiful aged patina using liver of sulfur and have burnished them by hand using a stainless steel brush that brings out the detail on the band and polishes them to a high shine.

I hope you like them but most of all I hope you have a wonderful day.
If you'd like to see more of my designs feel free to visit my etsy shop where every design is Simply Mine!