Pet bought me a circle cutter for Christmas. It’s pretty much a thin metal ruler, suction cup, cutting head, and a ball to hold onto, but it’s really neat. In fact, here’s a picture of mine.
I’ve wanted a circle cutter for a while. Glass likes to break in a straight line, and free form cutting a circle is tough. They get lumpy and lopsided. So I wanted a circle cutter. Pet provided me one.
Have you ever seen a movie where someone sticks the suction cup to the glass, cuts a perfect hole, and then punches it out to accomplish whatever? Yeah, that doesn’t happen. In most cases, they’re trying to get through window glass, which is tempered glass. What that means is the glass is heated, flattened, and then cooled rapidly, so that it’s stressed, but holding together. Ever seen a tempered glass window shatter? It’s little tiny pieces, not sharp jagged shard. If you tried to cut out a circle, your window would shatter.
But I digress. Cutting circles is a lot harder than it seems. So my first few circles looked pretty funny.
Notice how the one on the top left is the only nice one? I’ve cut more since then, they’ve gotten better, but I still get some weird shapes, like the bottom one, and some broken ones.
I decided simple was best for the first circles, and so all I did was sprinkle blue and green frit (tiny pieces of crushed up glass) between 2 layers of clear glass, and then fired it.
Glass is a funny object, when it gets hot, things change colour. For example, above 800 degrees, red glass looks black. And green and blue glass? Well, see for yourself.
Isn’t it pretty? I nearly melted my phone taking that photo. I wish I could get neon colours like that in my glass. This is what the circles look like when cooled down, you can see the green and blue pretty well. We could also play a game, can you spot the pieces that had a circle that I broke? I’ll give you a hint, only the top left circle used 2 pieces of round glass that hadn’t broken.
So, how do these circles translate into bowls? This is the really cool part. First, I take this foot mold, and I put one of the smaller circles in it. To make sure the foot isn’t lopsided, you have to position it in the center.
Then, I center a drop ring on top of the footer, and then center the larger circle on top of that. That way the top isn’t lopsided either, or the foot mismatched from the bottom.
Once they’re in the kiln, I run a special fusing program that takes it hot enough to sag the foot, and sag the top, but not so hot everything melts and runs all over.
When the bowl comes out of the kiln, it looks like this.
My photography skills aren’t great, especially when I’m using a phone camera, and sitting on something squishy, like a couch. This is what they look like tipped towards the camera. You can tell my circle cutting skills are pretty rough.
And this is the bottom of the bowls. My grandmother’s first thoughts were that you could turn them upside down and put candles in them. Here’s the bottom of the bowls.
One thing I noticed, is the first bowl I didn’t center the foot, and you can tell. It’s the bowl on the right. When I put the second bowl in, I made sure to center the foot, and it came out much better.
I have 3 more sets of blanks near the kiln, waiting to be turned into bowls. If I weren’t working on a beautiful set of dessert plates, I would have bowls galore right now. More photos soon.