Trial and error. Lathe and dremel.
I might just be in love with the lathe. Or, maybe with the dremel. It’s a pretty close race.
At the start of class I used the dremel to add detail to my cup from last week. After a few shaky lines, I got a basic feel for how quickly I should move and how steady my hand needed to be. I managed to “draw” some relatively smooth lines before moving onto our new project…graals.
Normally, graals are blown in the hotshop with clear glass and colored glass is added to the outside. After cooling, the graals are carved or etched in the coldshop, cutting through the color to reveal the clear glass beneath (Similar to sgraffito). Finally, they are reheated, stuck on a punty, coated in clear glass again and then blown a final time. For our class, we were only going to coldwork graals. (Big thanks to the tech crew for making graals and cubes for us).
Our graals were big, thick spheres, so I sliced mine open with the saw and ground the sharp edge down on the grinding wheel. Then I headed to the lathe. When Ashley showed us the lathe using spherical miracle wheels, I wasn’t that excited about the results. This week, she brought out centered wheels, which are a higher quality and offer more shape options. I used one of the centered wheels to carve nice, sharp lines in my graal.
My first line was a little wonky, I had some difficulty keeping the lathe straight and following the same path. After the second line I had figured out how to slowly and evenly rock the piece back and forth for much cleaner results. I also tried putting in a lens using one of the spherical miracles. For a lens, you need to hold the piece very steady while rotating it 360° to create an even circle. I couldn’t get the hang of this as quickly. Since I wasn’t holding my piece still, I ended up getting scuff marks outside of the lens. When I have the time to do a few more, I think I can get the hang of it.
I’m finding that the techniques we learn in the coldshop usually involve a few wonky first tries but after a couple practice runs, the results really tidy up.
Next week, I tackle the cube and six different finishes!