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Three Circles

No sooner had I finished a test with Ruth’s enamel kit, I knew I wanted to create a big bowl, which I’ve never done before. The first thing I did was cut the circles that would become the three layers of the bowl. I used Bullseye Glass, all 2mm thick: Clear, Opaque White, and Petal Pink Opalescent. You’ll see the three layers further on below.

Three Layers of Glass

Applying the Powder

At Michael’s I found a stencil that appealed to me: cherry blossoms (which you can also see in the coasters).  The four colors of enamel that I’ve selected are the plastic vials on the gray cutting mat. 

Applying the Enamel Powder Through the Stencil

Powder On

I’ve taped the stencil to the white glass with blue painter’s tape.  In the small plastic cup with the paintbrush is GlasTac (liquid glue that burns off cleanly in the kiln). I brushed glue onto the stencil and through its holes, then sifted the powder on top of the glue. (For how I used the sifter to apply the powder, see the coaster post.)

Moving the Stencil Around

Enamel In Place

After removing the stencil, this is what a section of the enamel powder looked like.

Stencil Removed

Playing It Safe

Because multiple sheets of glass, particularly larger ones like these, will develop sizable bubbles between them when fused, I hedged my bets by using clear glass powder between all the layers. Here the enamel powders are covered with clear powder (which looks white but will fuse clear).

Clear Frit to Reduce Chance of Bubbles

3 Layers

In order for the enamels to stand out, I wanted to place them on white glass. In order to make the bowl food safe and get the vivid colors I saw in the enamel test, I capped the enamel layer with a circle of clear glass. But I didn’t want the exterior of the bowl to be white also. So the bottom layer is a circle of petal pink.

Three Layers

Ready to Fuse

Here are the three layers in the kiln ready to fuse on 12/11/18. Through a series of mishaps, a few of which I’ll show, this piece was in the kiln 12 times. This was the first.

Ready to Fuse

Mishap 1

Although applying the clear powder did indeed mitigate larger bubbles, I also introduced some type of contamination.  Later I concluded it was probably a small particle of metal from the new sifter I bought for this project.


Drill Out the Contamination

I’ve got the fused piece on a rag and the hose trickling water over the surface. Glass will heat and crack if water isn’t used while cold working it. Using a diamond bit in the green Proxxon drill to the right, I drilled out the contamination, or most of it. I found out after fusing the piece again to close the holes, that I’d left some contamination. So I had to repeat this process.

Drill It Out

First Slump

Because the final bowl has rather steep sides, Bullseye recommends slumping into an intermediary form first. Here is the fused piece ready to slump into the Deep Form Step One mold (8738).

Slump in Deep Form One

Slumping One Complete

The fused pieced has slumped nicely and evenly into the mold. Below you can see the cherry blossoms on the outside. This shape is actually rather nice and I would have stopped here except that the bottom is perfectly round.

Slumped Into Deep Form One
Slumped and Round

Priming the Mold

Before using any mold, it needs to be coated with primer which will keep the glass from sticking to the mold. This is the Big Bowl mold (8973), which will be the end slump. Below you see the piece ready in this mold (after the primed mold was dried in the kiln).

Priming a Mold
Ready for Slump 2

Mishap 2

Do you see how the newly slumped piece is off center? It slumped crookedly, which is sometimes a problem with these steeper forms. Below you can see the wonkiness even better.

Crooked Slump
Wonky Slope

All Is Not Lost

I fused it flat, twice. You see how in Step 13 the cherry blossoms are face down (on the outside of the bowl). Well I decided that as long as I was going to flatten it, I wanted to see the cherry blossoms inside. I thought that they’d be easier to see there, instead of stooping low to see the exterior.  So I flattened it then flipped it over and found Mishap 3.

Fusing Number 3

Mishap 3

After being exposed to high heat so many times, the surface of the glass has changed. It’s wrinkled and also taken on devitrification (a crystallization of the glass that gives it a hazy film look).

Wrinkles and Devitrification

The Cure

However all is still not lost! Believe it or not, the cure for devitrification is to add more clear powder and fuse it yet again. Here it is in the kiln for its 5th and final full fuse.

Ready for Final Fuse

Intermediary Slump Again

Here is the final fused piece, glossy and without a blemish, ready to slump in the round-bottom Deep Form One. Below is the piece completely slumped in the mold.

Final Deep Form Slump
Deep Form One Slump Complete

Big Bowl Slump Again

Here is the round-bottom piece ready to slump into its final form. Previously, it had come out crooked. Below you see the results.  It looks nice and symmetric!

Final Big Bowl Slump
Final Slump Into Big Bowl

Final Result

Never say never. This project (begun six weeks ago) has been an incredibly valuable learning experience, which is something that I treasure. Not only that, it’s come out just as I’d hoped. The colors are subtle, the bowl is a very pleasing shape, and I got to use Ruth’s enamels. That’s a complete win-win-win.

Final Bowl

Close-up One

You didn’t think you’d escape without a couple of close-ups, did you? The three layers of glass, visible at the rim.

Rim Close-up

Close-up Two

Last one, I promise. But doesn’t everybody like cherry blossoms?

Cherry Blossoms
Big Fruit for a Big Bowl


SEGMENT RATE (deg F / hour) TEMPERATURE (F) HOLD (hours:minutes)
1 300 1200 :15
2 600 1480 :10
3 AFAP 900 1:00
4 100 700 OFF


SEGMENT RATE (deg F / hour) TEMPERATURE (F) HOLD (hours:minutes)
1 300 1200 :15
2 AFAP 900 1:00
3 100 700 OFF

* The firing schedules may be designed for other projects that were fired with this one. Everything was fired in a Paragon GL-22AD.