First Experience: Borosilicate Glass

boroFully armed with a selection of glass and a host of notes, my first studio session with borosilicate was an interesting one.

Truthfully I was expecting something a world away from what I was used to…..

One thing about my torching style is I like to work hot in some respects with soft glass it’s more of a hindrance than a benefit. But with boro the flame seemed perfect for it.

My first test in boro was small cabachons,  one thing it felt like it seemed to take twice as long than what I was used to from making the same designs in soft glass, actually it did take longer, but after checking the clock it wasn’t as long as I thought.

I did find transferring the glass between rods easier. When I use punties with soft glass I do seem to stick them onto the piece I am working on rather than a temporary connection.

So with a few successful test pieces in the kiln I attempted to play with a few other things.

I tried tubing, attempting to blow a bauble (I have had various unsuccessful attempts with soft glass tubing) While the resulting “wonky bubble” wasn’t what I wanted it to be it was still intact and the wall of the bubble was fairly uniform. I have decided to shelve tubing for a later date, perhaps when I have learnt more on heat control of the solid rods.

Next on the list to try was a marble. This is another thing that while I can produce them in soft glass, thermal shock kicks in before I can finish it. Much easier and surprisingly making a marble was faster in boro than soft glass. This was probably down to finding it much easier to shape the boro in the marble mould. The result wasn’t a pretty marble, but it was, at least, characteristically a marble

Finally a little stretching and manipulating the glass to form shapes. Nothing came of this really it was just an exercise in heat control.

Overall I was left wondering why I had refused to work in the glass for so long. A lot of projects that I have sitting on the shelf would be completed a lot easier if done in this glass.

Differences in the end? So far not as much as I would have thought. Colours are more sensitive, but they produce a much nicer range. It also takes more work to attach two pieces of glass together. Other than that, this totally alien glass isn’t as strange as I perceived. I’m going to look forward to making more with it.

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