Diary of a Demented Store Owner

Friday, 30 September 2011

Go Figure...

Overheard by a staff member:
'I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants...'

A true story (honest- I couldn't make this stuff up);
We once lost a commission because we had suggested the use of gluchip as a background, which the customer had learnt, was made by using animal glue. She was a vegetarian...

Tomorrow Only

Saturday October 1 from 10am to 4pm...
5 lb rolls of 60/40 solder..... $68.88

(cash/debit/limits may apply)

Thursday, 29 September 2011

October Monthly Sale

I don't know which gets people more excited- the posting of our Monthly Sale or the embarrassing pic of Zenia which announces the sale.
We give you both.

Cringe as you gaze upon this photo, and go here for our October Sale!
If you don't see it, make sure to do a page refresh.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Spectrum Score Magazine

The Spectrum Glass Company has been publishing The Score Magazine for well over twenty years. Where it once was a printed and stapled 8 page booklet, today it is a mere shell of itself as it has now shrunk down to a one page email note.
One thing though that they do deserve a bit of credit for is the issuing of some large format patterns. This issue's two samples are great.
Get them here...

Just Too Good To Not Run Again

The process of art glass production really is like alchemy- mysterious and secretive, but in this video, Eric from Uroboros talks and shows you how it's done. 
I know, we ran this video a couple of months ago, but it does warrant a repeat viewing. Besides Gary Brown wasn't paying attention according to Dot The Missus.
While Eric may not be the most electrifying person to host this video, it is his company and he was there at the beginning of the North American Art Glass revival of the late seventies. 
Have patience as the video shots of their glass being mixed and rolled is fascinating.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Kind of a Cool Thing to Try, from Bullseye

Frit balls—easy to make and fun to use!

Spread out pieces of coarse frit (0003) on a primed kiln shelf, leaving space around each piece. Fire hot enough to round out the frits, usually 1500°F (816°C) with a 20-minute hold. There's no need to anneal. Open the kiln and voila, you'll find frit balls! Once they’re cool, rinse with glass cleaner and rub dry to remove primer dust. For opalescent styles that pick up primer, do a quick soak in CLR (calcium lime rust remover) before rinsing and drying. When clean, the frit balls are ready to use as design elements or for building larger forms.

The frit balls shown here were made with 
Opaline Striker frit, which should be fired on the cool side to achieve a pleasing translucent quality: 1480°F (804°C) with a 16-minute hold. Get Opaline Striker frit working notes.

To make the Opaline frit-ball bowl shown above, first create a dam by cutting a 5.5" hole in a sheet of 1/8" fiber paper, leaving the border intact. Place the dam on a primed kiln shelf and load it up with about 5 ounces of frit balls. Tack the balls together by firing at a rate of 300°F (167°C) per hour to 1375°F (746°C) for 10 minutes. Slump the piece in a separate firing using 
mold 8746 . We recommend annealing in both firings.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Happy Birthday!

Gary Brown...

Party hats are on and we are ready and waiting for you...

Getting a Reaction

Something that's been getting a lot of interest lately is the whole notion of reactiveness. While that normally means Zenia yells at Mikey and he reacts, such is not the case here. UROBOROS has created two unique glass formulas for System 96 that are designed to create an interface colour, or a “reaction”, when melted against certain other colours. This occurs when ions from the two adjacent glasses migrate and mingle when the glasses become hot and fluid. Given the right glass chemistry, the co-mingled ions form a very thin coloured line, or “reaction”. Since their formulae react to create a noticeably reddish hue they named them Red Reactives: as in Red Reactive Transparent, and Red Reactive Opal.

The primary ingredient needed in a partner glass to generate a reaction colour with this Reactive glass is Copper. Copper is present in many blue and blue-green glass colours, but in some cases in too low a concentration to create a noticeable reaction.

For simplicity, all System 96 partner colours have been graded for their potential to react into three categories: Strong, Medium, and Mild. You will find that the intensity of the reaction colour will get stronger with longer, hotter, or repeat firings. This is because the copper ions have more time to mingle with their friendly reactive partners in the adjacent glass.

 Don't worry- we've got data and printouts for your amusement, and have even put tags on all the glass in our racks that offer reactive combinations. And a PDF link here.

Oh yeah, and we also have lots of Reactive Stringers and Noodles...

The bottom colour palette showing all possible reactive combinations using both glasses and stringers was ably made and stunningly displayed by The Zenia (face possibly obscured by design).

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Boy, Am I Getting Old!

There used to be a time, years ago, when we heard the name Louis Comfort Tiffany spoken with reverence and awe in our store several times throughout the day.
You see, those were the 'sweet spot' times in our industry when art glass manufacturers were exploring, inventing and rediscovering all manner of interesting glasses such as Drapery, Ring Mottles, various iridescence, Fractures and Fracture/Streamers- of which many were the invention of Tiffany Studios back about a hundred years ago.
And we carried it all.
Heck, we even had our whole east wall full of lamp patterns and molds. We held full eight week classes just on lamp construction. Stocked well over 300 lamp bases at all times.
How things have changed.
We can blame the Chinese, which might be true only in that they now provide a reasonable product at a ridiculously low price (the morality of how those prices are achieved are a discussion best left for another day) which has devalued the efforts of our customers who now are making a lamp worth a tenth of what they used to be.
One thing that hasn't changed though, is the genius of Louis Tiffany, and the legacy of his work and its effect on our industry today.
He deserves to be better known. Check here for a great resource.

Further to the genius of Tiffany, Mikey is currently working on posting a couple of hundred pictures of the Tiffany Windows of Navy Pier in Chicago. A taste below-

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Conrad Black Sent Back to Prison

Despite public perception, former media baron Conrad Black is actually excited by the prospect of going back to prison.
The convicted felon and former Canadian has 13 months left to serve the rest of his fraud sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami, and now has the opportunity to continue the stained glass studies he had originally signed up for, which he had to sadly abort due to being given his freedom (albeit temporarily).

An added bonus for Mr. Black is that he is returning to the same prison where Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is allegedly serving time for his role in a Columbian cocaine trafficking ring. The Puffster Himself is excited by the prospect of being able to study under Mr. Noriega as he is recognized as one of the best stained glass nite lite craftspeople in the entire U.S. penal system.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Boron Nitride EP Spray is not a very effective nasal spray because it's actually an aerosol temperature release primer. Something that we've been asked to bring in, but have been reluctant due to its price. But begging and bribing has its place. So we now carry it.

This type of primer can be used on ceramic molds but is ideal for stainless steel molds because you do not need to heat the mold for the primer to adhere. You can spray on the Boron Nitride Spray at room temperature. Apply 3-4 light coats. Sprays approx. 70-75 linear yards of primer. Excellent release properties with low layer thicknesses, excellent heat resistance great for slumping temperatures and short drying times.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

An Old Friend Comes Back

Les and Nancy ran a stained glass (and picture framing) shop in Norfolk Ontario for many years, and were very much missed when they closed down a couple of years ago.
They are now back!
And starting up with picture framing, we give them our full endorsement for quality and price.
They are-
Phoenix Picture Framing at 230 Main St, Delhi, ON (Tel:519-582-0044)
Their website is here. And if you have any framing to do, it can be left at FIG.
Welcome back guys!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Solder Sale and Help Wanted/Needed!

The monthly sale has been a tradition at FIG for quite awhile now. 
And posting an unflattering picture of Zenia is an integral part of that process. After all, if we can't make fun of the results of our gene pool, who can we we make fun of? 
Glass manufacturers perhaps? 
Or maybe suppliers (oops, in Canada that would be 'supplier')? 
How about Gary Beige? 
See my point? 
Nah, I don't either. In any case, we failed to find a suitably horrible picture of her hence no Monthly Sale for September. 
Actually, we're having some technical issues uploading updates on our website (Mikey uses iWeb). Anyone well versed in such matters, your help would be appreciated. Call the store and ask for Mikey.
We'll make up for it in October. And to prove it to you, we're putting solder on sale effective immediately!
Until October 15, a 1 lb spool of FIG branded, virgin metal 60/40 solder is only $17.77.
But get this- with every $75.00 you spend on regular priced stuff, get a roll for $14.88! (cash/debit).

Monday, 19 September 2011

Uroboros Heads and Tails

All the wonderful folks at Uroboros (and Kat) have heard about the great success of the Heads and Tails we brought in a couple of months ago. 
But, we still gets lot of puzzled looks as what can be done with them. 
The most obvious is to use it as you would any art glass, but with these pieces having the most interesting colour mix. 
We've also heard about how some are using the rolled edges for the open end on a candle chimney or box lid. 
Theresa (one of our instructors) has brought in some stuff she's made with her own unique take on these heads and tails.

To sweeten the pot and get some creative and competitive juices flowing Uroboros is sending some aprons, and t-shirts for us to give out to those who inspire us the most.
Bring in what you've made or send us a pic- you could be the talk of the town with your Uroboros branded swag!

(Uroboros apron not even close to this depiction)
On another note, we have a group from a charitable organization that make fused jewelry, Xmas Tree ornaments, garden stakes, business card holders, etc (many samples around the store) who have had great success using the ends and capping them with Spectrum Sys96 Clear (smaller pieces).

While we can't vouch for the 'correctness' of doing this, Uroboros does make Sys96 glass, and we might assume that their non-fusible art glass would at times have a c.o.e. close to 96?

Regular Hours 
effective Sept. 20, 2011)

Monday......................Closed (sorry)
Tuesday .................... 11 am to 7 pm
Wednesday................ 11 am to 7 pm
Thursday................... 11 am to 5 pm
Friday........................ 11 am to 5 pm
Saturday.....................10 am to 4 pm
Sunday....................... Closed (sorry)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

... then here's a good start towards paying off the Greek debt!
Designed and fabricated by the very talented and capable Teenuh, for the Armed Forces!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Black Patina Problem

Everyone (understandably) has been screaming over the current unavailability of black patina. According to our Canadian supplier, it's the fault of the Canadian government who has deemed black patina a hazardous substance and therefore not saleable in its current format.
But get this- they think buying it in a 2 gallon container with less labelling is just fine, or that copper patina in the same size bottle with the same labelling is perfectly safe. 
We do have some 2 gallon containers and are willing to fill your old (bought legally) black patina bottles if you bring one in.

Monday, 5 September 2011

We Open Tomorrow!

... but we still feel the need to provide some entertainment in the interim (that means in the meantime, Gary because I know your lurking here), so here goes...

Our Monthly Sale for September will be uploaded Wed Sept. 7.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

We're Still Not Open...

.... but that doesn't mean we don't feel obligated to still amuse you...