Friday, January 25, 2013

Boom, Badoom, Boom, Boom, Badoom, Boom, Vase... Yeah that's the Super Vase.

I met a new friend for knitting today at Top Pot Doughnuts.  Thanks Ravelry!

I brought two hats that were almost done, and I finished them both. One was the hat I knit with the yarn I bought at Goodwill back in November when I first arrived in Seattle, before any of my yarn got here.

It came out too small:
The small size gives almost an elf-effect because of the way it sits high on my head. I have a big head. I'll need to think of a friend with a smaller head than me who might want to wear hearts in primary colors.

I also finished this hat:
I'm not in love with the colors. It's hard to tell from this photo, but there are some blues and purples in there, but it's all very muted. Not necessarily my thing, but it fits and it's warm. 

But finishing two projects? That's a big day! I've got projects from years ago... (Hads, what year did I start my February Lady Sweater?) that I still haven't finished! 

Walking home after knitting, there was a big burning ball of fire in the sky.  I thought about calling the authorities to report this unfamiliar phenomenon, but then I remembered this thing I used to draw on the corner of all my pages in kindergarten called "the sun."  It all came back to me. 

So, I did what any self-respecting Seattle glassblower might do.  I grabbed a vase I hadn't yet photographed and ran to the roof deck to get some photos in natural light! 

Here's the story with this vase. We were making vases in class. In transferring mine from the blowpipe to the punty, I dropped my vase on the floor. Where it bounced off the concrete and rolled halfway across the shop. My teacher was able to pick it up off the floor and save it. Then it fell again - this time into the furnace. And my teacher saved again. It was the vase that would not die. Super Vase.

Given all that, I think it came out great:

It's cobalt blue, with an orange handle and a clear foot.  The orange kind of swirled into the blue because we had orange on the pipe (preparing to make the handle) that my teacher used to pick up the vase when it fell.  I think it made a cool effect. 

There are also a few other smudges, namely along the top lip, from where it fell.  

 Looking at it from the top, you can see that the bottom is a lot clearer and the orange swirl is a lot more evident. I think it actually ties the piece together:

I've been making a habit of reviewing what I have learned from each piece. This was my first time using the cobalt blue, and it was difficult because the glass gets much hotter (because of the dark color) and there is a much finer line between firm and melty. But I have always thought cobalt blue is the most stunning and beautiful color.  It's worth the trouble.

The techniques I practiced were making a bit for a handle, attaching the handle, shaping the vase, and shaping a lip on the vase.  

But I think I also gained some awesome knowledge about rescuing a "lost" piece. When it fell on the floor, and again when it fell in the furnace, I thought it was done. My teacher acted quickly (but safely) to grab it and save it. What I learned from that was that it's not over until it's over, that there's always (almost always?) a way to save a piece if you think quickly enough, and sometimes the "mistakes" improve the project. I really like the swirly color effect on this project, something I wouldn't have gotten if I hadn't dropped it - twice.  

I usually ask myself what I would have done differently.  Looking at the handle, I think I could have done more to shape it smoothly. I think the trick would be to make the handle bit nicer to begin with, rather than trying to shape it once it is on the vase. It was too hard to do once I had the handle attached because, to heat the orange to a nice soft melting point, the blue would have absorbed a lot of the heat and been totally melty before the orange got nice and soft. 

When I dipped the clear glass in the cobalt blue frit, I obviously didn't saturate the tip with blue. That's why the bottom of the vase came out clear.  This is the kind of mistake I can live with, because I think the uneven color is pretty, but if I were in a situation where I was making a vase to sell or based on someone's order, that would be a costly mistake.

The other thing I could have done different is, obviously, not drop it.  But I think it came out great, in a "happy accident" sort of way, so I'm ok with it. 

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