South-Eastern Seaboard Ocean Depth

Our semi-regular trip to the glass shop takes place on Friday.  This week we took pictures of a collective project – the continental shelf’s decent to the abyssal plain.

First, a shot of Mike’s Shop.  Mike is a master in multiple disciplines of glass work and he is not afraid to share his knowledge.  There are four main areas of glass development:  stained glass, creating beading from glass rods, blowing glass, and fusing glass.  Stained glass works with glass that is cooled and not reheated.  Beading works with glass in its molten (1200*) state.  Fusing glass is the part of working with cooled glass that is then heated and melted together to form a smooth surface.  Mike does not blow glass in his shop.

There is a tremendous amount of physics involved in the heating and cooling of glass.  All glass has unique characteristics born from how it was created and the various minerals, elements, and metals added to the molten glass.  We nearly used a lovely blue/lavender color on our piece, but Mike stopped us.  He showed us that under florescent lights the blue lavender color is seen but under natural lighting a florescent purple is visible.  Cool but would have ruined our piece.

shop shot

The shop looking from the working space to the front.

We plan to spend an hour and a half at the shop.  The design process is simple, but it has taken the boys time to learn the basic principals of glass fusing.  This week was our only collaborative effort. Could we play well together? We decided to make a 10 by 12 art piece of the Eastern seaboard from the outer banks of NC down through the tip of FL.

JV’s job was to draw the map on a piece of paper, trace it in Sharpie on the glass, cut the dry land out of glass and finally grind the map to show the irregularities of the coastline.


JV freehanding the east coast of the US - Yey Montessori maps


JV's sketch under the piece of "laced" glass. Boy is it going to be hard to trace.


Mike did the actual cutting of the shape. JV did the fine work with the nippers.

Meanwhile.  BR’s job consisted of choosing the frit (small pieces of crushed glass) for the ocean depth, nipping out the Bahamas and some Keys from scrap glass, mixing the frit colors for gradients as the slope falls away to deeper water.


BR concentrating on his nips


Making sure the glass doesn't fly all over the place, is the right size, and is a good color. This is a lot to plan for in a .25 of an inch.

Meanwhile JV was getting specialized lessons in grinding the glass on a wet grinder.


Must hold a wet sponge to the small grinding bit and carefully not break the fragile narrow glass piece.

AV had gone next door to get a hair cut during the first half of the work. Grand ma – aren’t you proud!  He returned in time to begin working on the ocean.  The east coast was glue dotted to a piece of clear backing glass. The frit would be lain on top of the backing glass.

His job was to spread the frit evenly while Brooks used his frit mixtures to simulated various depths.


AV watching while BR lays down the frit.


AV's final touches as BR finished laying on the frit for the abyssal plain.

The final product before firing.


We’ll see what the kiln does to the piece.  We will have to grind down the sides as they will be uneven from the melting.



Filed under Art, AV, BR, glass, Going outs (Field Trips), Oceans and their creatures, Science

2 responses to “South-Eastern Seaboard Ocean Depth

  1. Grandma Vice

    Can’t wait to see the piece after the firing! YES, I am so glad he finally got a hair cut! : )

  2. lapazfarm

    This is so incredibly awesome!!! I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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