Artisan Studio

A Wine Glass and an Old Ornament

An old wine glass. There is only one of them; the other broke years ago, but you haven’t thrown the partner away.

A glass candle stick. The kind you put tall tapers in, but you haven’t used it in years.

A cake plate. A cake plate? Where on earth did that come from?

An old ornament for the Christmas tree. You just have too many ornaments to fit on the tree so many of them have just sat in the box for years.

All those odd pieces of glass in closets, in buffets and china cabinets, or in unopened boxes stored in the basement. You find them at garage sales and flee markets.


What To Do With Them?

Rather than toss them out, try creating elegant sculptures.

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The piece in the wagon consists of a votive holder (blue glass),

an upside down candle stick, and a small patterned serving bowl turned upside down.

It added a bit of non-green color in my herb garden.


I Tried Some Others

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The piece on the left is a serving platter, an ice cream sundae glass,

and a mirror and red mosaic glass vase that flowers might be delivered in.

AND

The piece on the right is a cake plate turned upside,

a stubby candle stick holder with a large blue Christmas ornament glued where the candle goes,

and then a large vase protecting the ornament.


My Glass Collection

I am a garage-sale-aholic. When sale signs pop up on corners, I just have to stop. I’m choosy though, picking up the possible pieces and turning them right side up and upside down to see what could become of them. Then, of course, I look for other pieces that just might look good together. Then I look for the unique pieces: the ceramic tea pot without a cover, the ceramic high heel that had once been a planter, and a clear glass Tiki glass. I have a several boxes in the shop’s clean room waiting to become sculptures.

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Assembling Your Glass Sculpture

I work outside under the awning of the shop. It’s wide open with good air flow and shaded from the sun. There, on the old kitchen table, I can spread out and plan several sculptures at the same time. It also eliminates the potential of making a complete disaster of my house.

As I arrange the pieces, I play around with the order of the pieces. It’s much like trying to find where a jigsaw puzzle piece fits. Sometimes it seems that the pieces I want to work together just don’t, and pieces that I don’t know what to do with work together beautifully.

As I you the right arrangement and fit, I set them in a column with the bottom piece (the widest) to the top. It is essential to prepare the glassware before gluing it together. I usually find that storage has left the pieces dusty or grimy or that there is some sticker that I want to remove. Every piece really needs to be washed and left to dry. I have opted to take a picture of my planned sculptures and run them through the dishwasher.


Gluing the Pieces Together

When it comes to gluing the pieces together, it is best to choose a day that is not too humid or too hot.

A humid day causes steam to get trapped in the pieces; the moisture can condense on the inside of the glass and even mold. I had to throw away  a couple of early sculptures.

A day that is too hot doesn’t allow the glue time to dry correctly. I glued some pieces together in the heat (90 degrees). The pieces NEVER completely bonded, and when I picked the first one up the next day, the glue was still soft and the sculpture fell apart.


Glue?

Any of the glues that adhere one piece of glass permanently to another MUST be used in a well ventilated area. Some glues even suggest the use of plastic gloves so that your skin doesn’t come in contact with the glue. I use E6000 on my sculptures, but there are other glues you can use.


Decorations Inside the Glass Pieces 

Fishing line allows you to hang ornaments or other dangling items from the bottom of an upside down vase or the bottom of the piece that covers the vessel. A small knick-knack statue glued to the pedestal of a candle stick adds interest. Glass teardrops or beads glued on the outside of some of the pieces can add an interesting touch. If you are going to display the piece inside without the concern of the weather, the sky’s the limit in how you decorate the piece, but if you are going to set the piece outside in the elements, make sure everything you use in the sculpture is weather proof.


Take Your Sculptures Inside During the Winter 

If you live in the northern portion of the country where the temperature dips well below freezing and snow mounds up in your yard, it is best to protect your sculptures by taking them inside – out of the winter elements.


Have fun. Be creative. And then give your sculpture a name.


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