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14 April 2011

Successes in the art room!

In the previous school year, I spent a lot time in the art room doing projects with my kids. It was fun and very relaxing. I learned how to do stained glass, and I got play with pottery ... all sorts of fun things. The kids loved seeing me participate in that setting, and I really enjoyed going. Sadly, this year, my visits to the art room have been far less frequent. I tried to get there often in the first trimester, but my responsibilities kinda took over and my free periods weren't so free anymore. All that changed today! Yeah!

At a meeting the other day, we had little San Pellegrino juices in sweet little bottles. I loved the look of them, and I asked the Art Guru if I could cut them and turn them into cups. She said that I could, but I needed a special tool to do it. Luckily, that tool was relatively inexpensive. Even more luckily, one of the women I work with had one! She brought it in today for me to use, and I got to play in the art room. :)

But, as it turns out, cutting a glass bottle isn't as easy as it sounds. It involves a lot of patience (which I have little of, as you may know) and determination (which, luckily, I have in buckets!). After a few trial-and-error attempts, the Art Guru and I figured out how to do it without cracking the glass. The directions made it sound super easy, but it's not. It takes repeated tempering to get the glass to break evenly. And then you need to sand it and smooth it. But, unlike the eggs, it was totally worth the time and effort. 
A whole bottle and the little cup it would become. 

There were some extra Perrier bottles, so I got to transform them as well.
 The first step in this process is to score the desired cut-line on the bottle. Despite this tool being called a "bottle cutter," it doesn't actually cut anything. It makes a nice score line to guide the eventual cut.

The bottle on the cutting tool.

A complete score. That's all the "bottle cutter" does.

After your score your bottle, you need to temper it repeatedly. This means that you alternate between exposing it to heat and cold until the score becomes a controlled crack. While the instructions made it sound like this took on round of exposure, I can assure you that it takes MANY more than that, depending on the thickness and texture of the bottle My green bottles were separated in about three rounds, while the clear ones took upwards of five because of their texture.

All my tops! Too bad they are trash. They're fun!
Your heat source for this is as simple as a candle's flame. You rotate the bottle above the candle, heating the score line. You want to keep the bottle above the flame because getting too close will overheat the glass and cause it to crack when it is exposed to the cold. If there is soot on your bottle, you are WAY too close. After the glass is heated (about three slow revolutions), take the bottle away from the flame and run an ice cube along the score line. Keep the ice moving to cool the entire line. Don't return the bottle to the heat source until the bottle is a little cold. You'll have to do this a few times, and, if you have a glass cutting tool, you'll want to "tamp" along the score line to help the crack along if need be. Be careful with this since too strong of a "tamp" will lead to an uneven break.

Once your glass is cracked all the way around, it should separate. IT may need a little coaxing, and a slight and gentle knock of the neck against the work surface will most likely help. It takes A LOT of patience to get this project done, but, surprisingly, not a ton of time. I finished all ten of my little cups in the course of about three hours or so. You just can't rush it.

When your glass finally separates, you'll need to smooth the edges. You can get all kinds of glass smoothing tools, but I was lucky enough to be able to use the glass grinder in the art room as well as the diamond polisher. If I do more of these projects, I'll definitely need to get some supplies of my own.

Green tumblers. Perfect for wine. While I've never liked "stemless" stemware, I'm pretty excited about these. 

Just four.

This tiny guys are so sweet. Perfect for aperitifs and port. 

I had to try them out as soon as I got home. Of course! 
It was too early for booze, but this pop is to die for as well!

I've got quite a few wine bottles that The Boy and I have collected over the years. I'm excited to bring them in and turn them into something cool.

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