Friday, April 25, 2014

I have committed multiple perversions

Back in 2001, I was commissioned by the glassblower to make a pickup kiln for him. I was proud of the fact that I came up with a pickup that used a cantilevered pickup shelf using drawer slides underneath so you didn't need to buy high temperature rollers like what they use in glass lehrs.

Building the pickup kiln got me interested in gas kilns and burners and furnaces, and I decided to make a propane-powered version of a vitrigraph.

Reason I did that was vitrigraphs are electric kilns raised above the ground with a hole in the bottom of them for soft glass to stream out of, and since they are electric there is the risk of a shock. So, that would not be problem with propane-powered one. So, I built a series of them, and finally ended up with what was called the Stringinator Mark II.

Now, at first I just used the kiln to make thin pieces of stringer, where you put scrap color glass into a flower pot and then heat it up to flow out quickly and make thin strings of glass. But then I decided to see if I could make cane, and I could. It was kind of a pain in the ass, because I had to crouch in an uncomfortable position on the floor. Looking up into the bottom of the kiln played Hob with my neck, but  I'd grab the nubbin of glass coming out of the flower pot with tongs, and then as you pull the glass slowly down, it would cool enough you could grab it with your bare fingers. ("Cool enough" being a relative term. My calloused fingers tips didn't seem to mind that it burned a little).

So then, I would twist the glass to make candy cane type of stuff, and then really rapidly twist the two-colored glass to make what I called "supertwisties". So, then I got bored with making helices, and would stop twisting the cane one way, and start twisting it the other way, and make what are called hemihelices.

So, then I got into a regular pattern of twist one way, stop, twist the other way, stop, back to twisting the first way, etc. I don't have any pictures of the glass vases or bottles that used these alternating supertwisties for surface patterns. A number of renters really liked them. But the interesting pattern, when these canes got spread out from the heat and getting blown larger I had no name for.

But now I know there is name for them. A hemihelix with multiple perversions:

I'll see if any of the renters can find a picture of this pattern.

Update: Couldn't find the glass. Here is a link to the video:

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