Adventures in Glass Fusing

About 4 years ago I did some glass fusing courses as I just love the look of coloured glass.  It was very technical and a bit expensive but by the end I managed to have some pretty things I made myself.

I still have a yin – yang dish that David’s keys and change go into when he gets home, a drink coaster set which we don’t use, plus the 3 pendants that are left, the rest I gave to my father, I presume he sold them in his shop. These were made from 96CoE glass, some of which I still have left over. With some fibre paper strategically placed, I could turn the unfused glass into some pretty beads using the kiln my father gave me.

Recently, my dad found a new invention that simplifies the process of glass fusing so much that you can do it at home in your microwave! Each of the pendants below took at least 40 minutes while we waited for the kiln to cool down, which is only big enough for one small piece. We spent more than a whole day on this, plus three failures, making these 16 pendants not too bad a success rate but very slow going. This is the 90CoE glass, which can not be mixed together with the 96CoE. If the kiln lasts long enough, I hope to eventually get around to fusing all my left over glass into pendants and beads. It looks like you can craft glue recycled magnets to the back of these so they make pretty fridge magnets, but they aren’t strong enough to hold up a postcard. In the image below, the top 3 are a set that goes together, the second row is also a set I call “Peeking Kitties”. David made 5 of these pendants, 3 black ones in the bottom two rows, and 2 green ones on the right of the second bottom row. David has written more about microwave glass fusing on his blog.

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Restoring an Old Dusty Cane Basket.

I’ve had this cane basket for ages, I really liked it so have hung unto it. It would make a great bread basket when serving bread rolls for guests, if it was clean!

This was in such bad shape I was thinking I would have to chuck it, but I didn’t because I have inherited that ‘I can’t throw stuff away’ thing from my mum! So I picked it up this morning and had a go at weaving back in the loose cane threads and decided to look up how to clean cane on the internet.

I found a site that explained how to clean cane baskets, which also had other information about wicker. I found out from there that I shouldn’t submerge my cane in water. Good thing I read that first, as I was considering it! You clean the dust off the cane with a brush, like a toothbrush, which is what I used. This site also suggested using linseed oil to polish it up. Now, I know that stuff is expensive and wondered if I could just use olive oil. I have heaps of that as I buy it  in lots of 4L when it’s $5 per L. So I did a google search and found something about using olive oil to polish wood furniture. So I used the recipe, figuring what’s the worst that could happen? I could ruin the cane and throw out something I was going to throw out anyway.

Instead of vinegar, I choose the lemon juice option as I thought that would smell better. I think it does smell nice now, a little like new cane from the shops, which makes me wonder if they use something similar. I put 3 parts olive oil to one part lemon juice in a recycled garlic jar and shook it up. Using the toothbrush, I rubbed a little of the mixture to clean and polish the cane. I then left the basket in the sun to dry. Since then I’ve used it as a bread basket when David made up a beautiful batch of sweet bread rolls.

I made a label for the jar in case I needed to use it again soon, and stuck it on with some wood glue. It was my first excuse to use the new pinking shears I invested in yesterday. They were so expensive, but I was assured it was an excellent brand so I’m going to really look after them so they last me forever!