Diary of a Demented Store Owner

Saturday, 31 May 2014


Better known as the FIG Sales mascot, Figimodo offers to get the staff coffee at Timmy's but lamely claims he can't close the car door...

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Still No Full Line Distributor

With no full line distributor still filling in the void after the demise of Hollander Glass, we seem to have little problem keeping our stock levels up. So much so that today we can brag a bit- virtually every single product at FIG has dropped in price in the past year with some significantly (i.e. fusible glass, assorted hand tools, copper foil- how about 20% on grinders and dichroic glass!). The only standout seems to be solder, but we're working on that.

Monthly Sale...

Our Monthly Sale is now The Unpredictable and Sporadically Always Changing Sales Page.
Ever-changing, not always announced so check here often (do a page refresh).
The need to continue to post an embarrassing picture of Zenia (our traditional way of announcing new sales) however is necessary and will continue on a regular basis.

Intro to Fusing Seminar

We've added another hour to our Intro to Fusing Seminar making it 7 hours long at the same $195 price.
The first half of the day is devoted to the technical side of fusing and slumping. After this class you should be confident to figure out your own firing schedules and how to adapt them to any specific project. 
The second half of the day is devoted to having you apply this knowledge and allow to to make as many projects as you want. All fuse firing of these projects are included, as well as access to Mikey's Dropbox Resource Folder. 
We hold this class once a month but they do fill quickly.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A Lesson on Striking and an Apology to Bullseye

Striking is a process where the colour or transparency of a glass will change (mature?) upon kiln firing. Sometimes desirable, occasionally not. I suppose so long as you are aware, it's then a decision as to whether the colour change is a desirable one.
The latest striker colour we now have is Uroboros' stunning 60-103F- a gold-bearing colour that unfired looks like the piece in Figimodo's hand on the left, and fires to a stunning deep and rich Gold-Pink as seen on the right.
Our sincere apology to Bullseye who used to have the nicest Golp-Pinks in their 1311 and 1322, but sadly no longer...

Monday, 26 May 2014

Sorry, More Fusing News

If you follow us on this blog or on Facebook, then you've heard the rumours are true.
We do have the absolutely largest selection of Sys96 fusible glass available anywhere, carrying everything possible from Spectrum, Uroboros and now Wissmach.
Mikey brought in 18 of their colours in both opals and cathedrals last week and has put them ALL in our sale racks and all are priced at less than $8/ft!
Now we recognize that perhaps there might be some reluctance to add this manufacturer to any fuser's palette- uncertainty over compatibility issues, devitrification and unpredictable colour changes are always a concern. We've fired a lot of this glass in the past ten days and have found none of these concerns. The only flaw we see right now is their iridescent coatings not being as stable at 1480 degrees F, and found half of it burnt off (see above- top row, second from left).

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Glass Is A Liquid, Right?

And this is a popular misconception that just drives Mikey crazy. So, let's dispel this crazy notion and rerun a paper Mikey authored in this very topic two decades ago, once again:

 So, what is it this mysterious substance we call glass? Is it a solid? Is it a liquid? Do four out of five dentists recommend it? (Which makes you wonder who visits that one out of five dentist, and what does he recommend?...Ed) Let's join hands and explore the subject together. 

    Okay, so let's assume it's a liquid for a minute. It has to be, right? We've all heard the stories about pulling glass out of old windows and how the pieces were all thicker at the bottom proving that the glass was slowly flowing downward. Heck, the way the glass was flowing pretty soon all our churches will have their sanctuaries full of puddles of flowing stained glass windows. You'll have to step over the Good Shepherd and his sheep to get to your pew! With all those uncovered windows with all their cancer causing light streaming through them congregations will be forced to take communion wearing Vuarnet sunglasses and wearing sunscreen. Actually it's a sham. Old glass is typically mouth blown and therefore varies sometimes quite significantly in thickness, disproving the notion that glass might be a liquid.

    Well if it's not a liquid then it stands to reason that it's a solid, right?  Webster's Dictionary defines a solid as "a substance of definite shape and volume; not liquid or gas." There you go, problem solved. But, hey, wait a minute. Isn't something a solid only when its molecules are motionless and lined up in flawless geometric fashion, like your grandma's furniture doilies. We call this "crystalline" (the solid, not grandma's doilies, unless she seldom washed them). A liquid on the other hand is quite the opposite. Its molecules are constantly in motion and entirely random in structure. Well, what do we do now? It seems then that according to the scientist, glass is neither a solid or liquid because its molecules are motionless (like a solid) but random in configuration (like a liquid)- so we'll call it a liquid? 

    Actually a better word is vitreous.

    If you look around, there's lots of stuff that's sometimes a liquid and sometimes a solid. Take that stuff wrapped in foil at the back of your fridge for example. Or water. Or iron. At any given moment, their state depends on their temperature. Water's molecular structure is random until the temperature moves down to zero Celsius (how come they don't use centigrade?) when its molecules start to crystallize- namely, line up in perfect lattice-like order and stop moving. Below zero and bingo, now it's a solid. And the amazing thing is that zero degrees is like a light switch. Above it's a liquid, below, it's a solid. But vitreous substances (like glass in case you've been sleeping until this very moment) do not have a freezing or melting point. As temperature decreases the free flowing molecules in molten glass simply slow down to the point where they just won't move anymore. But they stay random with no crystallization occurring. Got it? 

    So, glass then is neither a liquid nor a solid, but it's sleazy and exhibits definite characteristics of both. You might say we now have Four States of Matter instead of three- liquid, solid, gas and glass.

But don't take our word for it. Go to Corning Glass' website and read for yourself-

Friday, 23 May 2014

Free Plug Time

(Sadly, no money has exchanged hands for this free plug)

From May 30 through June 1, the 'ART TOUR' in  the Bloor West Village will offer a welcoming way to experience art and explore West Toronto’s most colourful neighbourhoods, including Bloor West Village, Swansea, High Park, and the Junction, in both private home studios and commercial shops and cafes.

The 17th annual ART TOUR features a record 32 hand-picked artists, on-hand in 28 locations and happy to discuss their work with curious visitors and art collectors alike. Two of them friends of FIG.

Hours are Fri- 6pm - 9pm 
Sat & Sun- 11am - 5pm
Admission is free and ART TOUR maps are available online and at participating local merchants, and we thank all our sponsors for their support.

Need more info than our capable Mikey provided here? Go here.

And go here for a feature page on fuser Rochelle.
And drop in here to see some work by an old friend of FIG- Vera Robson here.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Friday Intermediate Course

This class has been running continuously for over 25 years. 
I'm beginning to think it's not because of the glass work or great instruction...

(as seen last week)

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Music To Improve Your Cutting...

If you've been in the store and have seen the battle between Mikey and Vanna Opal and the volume control on the stereo you know that we have definitive proof that she is much much older than him. Yes, music can be distracting at times, and no, that's not a bad thing. Music should affect you, and good music (which is only what we play) should rock you. 
My latest discovery is another album (I hate the term CD- truly good sounding music is analogue) from Little Axe (Skip McDonald) called If You Want Loyalty, Buy A Dog. An album mixed with acoustic and powerful electric blues, so beautifully recorded (at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios- the place that gave the Blind Boys of Alabama their breakout hit album after eighty years or so!) that my glass cutting has improved 100%.

Here's a taste-

and from A Hard Grind-

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Wissmach 96 coe Glass for Fusin

The Paul Wissmach Company is one of the oldest machine made glass manufacturers in North America (Kokomo is oldest). And while they continue to make the same glass, the same way (but with different employees- couldn't imagine a bunch of octogenarians in walkers casting sheets of glass), they do occasionally innovate. And at industry beating prices!
So, take note-  Wissmach fusible glass is here, it fills in our colour palette nicely, and it's at amazing prices!
And it's also included in our Every Wednesday Buy 3, Get One Free WEEKLY SALE!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Fusible 96 Glass

It looks like the battle for supremacy in fusing is being won by the System 96'ers. Not only are both Spectrum and Uroboros constantly adding new and exciting colours (see our comments elsewhere about Spectrum's exciting Fusers Reserves, Aventurines and OpalArts as well as the newly received Gold-Pink from Uroboros) but now The Paul Wissmach Company has added to the fusers palette with 19 colours including a Reactive Blue.
The best part?
Pricing makes it the most economical fusing glass yet!
And as always, for all those stained glass craftspeople out there, this glass of course is suitable for your windows and lamps as well.
Due in next week.

Wow! More Pictures!

Mikey came across a bunch of pictures from his travels that had been intended to be posted online but were misplaced.
Until now.
This is a collection of some of the most stunning windows) and mosaics) by Louis Tiffany, John Lafarge (the two giants of our craft) and Frank Lloyd Wright that we've ever seen. 
They can be seen here if you are on Facebook. And if you haven't creeped our page give it a look- our picture count there is over 1400  pics!
Once we clear up some website issues we will also post them on our site for those three people that have yet to join FB.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Sometimes This Craft is Too Much Fun

Sitting around the studio the Other Day, with the spoils of Mikey's loins (The Flowering Lotus Blossom, better known as Zenia to the mailman), looking for something interesting to do, these two people came up with this project.

Starting with a SP209 Ghost White blank stacked on top of the same size Clear (to aid with volume control) Zenia drew this simple design-

we then chose three colours that we thought 
worked well together-

We then took the cutoffs of each colour, crushed them up and sorted them through a set of screens-

then sprinkled the frit in the white open areas-

and after fusing and slumping we ended up with this-

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Help Needed

Mikey's favourite (and now former?) whipping boy, Grasshopper Gary Beige was unable to assist us in some minor website stuff, so we throw caution to the wind, fling open our doors to the great unwashed out there and ask...
if anyone out there with website coding experience is willing to give Mikey a call and see about assisting in this matter? 
Drop us a note at fig@fantasyinglass.com.

Massive Bullseye Sale

While we are dedicated supporters of Sys96 glass especially from those wonderful people at Uroboros (and Kat in particular) and no longer carry Bullseye glass, we do still get many requests about where to buy it. That coupled with the failure of Canada's only national glass distributor means that there is no full line distributor gf Bullseye Glass. Hence this free plug. 
Looking for some amazing deals on Bullseye products, then you might consider shipping it or picking it up from Bullseye's newest retail store in New York state-

Where else can you get such deep discounts as up to 50% off!