Thursday, April 2, 2009

When life gives you lemons...

I produce a lot of glass disasters. Sometimes it's a failure of vision - the final product just doesn't look the way I thought it would. More often it's operator error. Mostly it's because I get busy reading a book or watching TV and forget I've got something in the kiln.

I've got a Hot Box kiln, a small table-top kiln that has a simple dial control for temperature. Bigger kilns usually have a controller that allows you to set up a program to control the heating and cooling cycle of the kiln. With the Hot Box, it's up to you to turn it on, adjust the temperature, and turn it off. It's the turn-it-off part where I get into trouble.

Lucky for me, it turns out that I end up liking many of my disasters and my first few blog posts will feature some of my flops turned favorites. In fact, the subject of today's blog was a disaster of Keystone Cop proportions, yet is currently one of my favorite pieces.

My kiln sits on top of my stove when I'm using it. One day, I was making some pendants by stacking two rectangular pieces of glass and placing small glass hearts on top. I was also baking cookies. Apparently, I closed the oven door at the point where the glass had just started to soften, and the top layer on a couple of the stacks slid off to the side and into the adjoining stack. When I opened the kiln at the end, 3 of the stacks were fused together. My initial thought was "Oh, crap." But then I decided that it actually looked kind of cool.

I decided to take my heart pendant jumble, fuse it to a another square of glass, and put the final product in a picture frame. I got as far as fusing the jumble to the square of glass, when one of the cats knocked it off the table, breaking it into two pieces, eliciting another "Oh, crap."

So then I thought, "Hey, I'll take a bigger square of glass, put the broken pieces together on it, and fuse it again." I figured that the broken pieces would melt together, it would look good as new, and all I would need to do was get a bigger picture frame. Wrong. This time, "Oh, crap" really was the appropriate sentiment.

But by this time, I had a lot of glass invested in this project. I didn't want to just throw it away. So I took a hammer, smashed my glass monstrosity up into little pieces, piled the pieces up in the kiln, and turned the heat on. I took the result, glued it to red mat board, put it into a picture frame, and named it the "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre."

I'm thinking that maybe I can claim it's a carefully crafted work of art, symbolic of the heartbreak and despair of failed relationships. Yeah. That's the ticket.