Monday, January 2, 2012

Hollow Tutorial

I am using hollow tubing, 1/8, 1/4, or 3/16 are popular sizes. 

1) Start with a coated hollow mandrel and make a skinny barrel bead a few cm from the end of the mandrel. Make the bottom of it nice and pretty, that will be the neck if desired. (it can be embellished or touched up later)

2) Next start forming a disk on the barrel bead, closest to the end of the mandrel. (it can be in the middle of the barrel too for effect, and to ensure there are no gaps) Keep your walls as even as possible.

3) Continue forming the disk like you would a hollow bead curving to straight sides. Continue the sides as long a you like, then spiral down. (I use a thick wind and start off with a smaller hollow form, I think I get a better shape this way. Before you close off the end hole, you can do inside put stuff and fume too. Also as long as you get the disk extended over the end of the mandrel you can just blob on the end and mix and swirl.

4) Heat the form, make sure that there are not gaps in the sides, patch if necessary, or let gravity do it's thing, just spinning usually gets them out. 

5) Add embellishment if desired

6) Now that you have hollow bead form, heat to glow,droopy but not collapsing, and slowly spin and breath lightly at first and then when it starts to stiffen you can increase the breath (a little). 
I usually end up standing up for this part, it just feels right.

Do a few and you will get the idea. You have to watch for side blow outs (uneven heating or thin wall spots attribute to this) I tend to have more glass on the bottom, so I heat that more than the sides. A good even heat first and then heating the bottom will give you a good shape. A good shape to start with does not always make a difference, as long as your walls are even on the sides and the bottom is rounded, or rounded to a glob it will be fine!
You can also use marble/bead molds to help shape if you roll it out in a 1in bead mold. Play and blow out the shape in the mold itself to constrict the shape. ( I used a 1" and 7/8" bead mold)

Do not be to concerned about collapse, if this happens melt to a nice rounded blob and do it again. (its fun really) and I had a really hard time ruining one *trying to*

Heat the now blown shape in the flame until you like the shape, and/or it is even. give it a puff every now and then if you are getting it hot hot again, or of the shape starts to distort.

7) Add embellishments now if desired.

Depending on how you have worked your vessel in the flame you can touch up the neck with stringer and add wings or handles or handle wings. I use stringer for this (factory pulled is perfect!) Make handles starts with dots and then i connect and make pretty on each side I have done wings using the fold method (in tuts somewhere) on the handles as well or some with just wings.

When it is done you can spot heat the bottom and with a stringer pull to a point as well!

Be careful when adding handles that the spot heating does not collapse the vessel shape, it might be necessary to add a puff if you see it distort. You can also prod your handles to shape them,

Throw it in the kiln!

All the pictures of hollows were made on a HH torch, but the steps are the same for any torch! (numbers do not correspond)

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