Thursday, October 5, 2017

Sea Turtle Wall Art

In a yoga class, in an awkward position (downward facing duck, I think), I noticed this sea turtle design on the back of a fellow practitioner. A few days later my own glass facsimile was cooling in the kiln. To simulate the shell, I used Vanilla Cream opal coated with transparent Sea Green powder. The ensuing reaction was just enough to make it interesting, but I was never completely satisfied with the project on the whole.

So … things got considerably more elaborate. I went swimming with the sea turtles on Google — saw hundreds of them — and decided to use a technique I call “powder plowing” to create an organic looking pattern that could be repeated in each segment of the shell. By powdering each segment individually and low-firing them before project assembly, the “rolled edges” became a design feature that outlined each segment.
first effort

The appendages are formed with a “stepped volume” approach that contribute to their sculpted shape, and their embellishments are frit pieces, screened to two rough sizes and individually placed.

For hanging, I used the homemade offset mounting technique described in the “Hanging Glass on Walls” video. The end result is 11 x 13 inches in size and weighs 1 Lb 10 oz (28 x 33 cm, 740g).

This project is more involved than most of those featured on Glasshoppa’s Video Glass Projects, but it’s not difficult — just a few extra steps. The components are twenty-one cut pieces of glass, frits and powders, but it requires only two firings and no molds. My favorite part is the pattern itself; the subject matter is a trendy eco-conscious one, and turtle shells make a great canvas for all kinds of creative fill.

The Sea Turtle Wall Art project video is currently available to Glasshoppa patrons on the community’s Patreon web page. A $3 pledge of support earns access to this and many more video glass projects (complete with patterns and firing guides) that are available exclusively to program patrons. You can see their descriptions HERE, and learn more about Patreon HERE. Enjoy!

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