Amanda Simmons was in today! I’ve been trying to do drop out slumping, or, the better name for it, Gravity Forming, and not really getting the results that I wanted, and there are a few others in the studio doing complicated slumping, so Geoff managed to get her to come in and run a workshop which was great. She went over her process and powder mixing, and reactivity in Bullseye Glass a little, and we talked about how to modify programs for Spectrum as well. I’ve been having trouble with my sumps taking a really long time, but she said that for the shape I want, it makes sense to have slow ramps and even, low heat as much as possible, and even though the internet tells me that I should not hold my slumps too long, she said that there were no problems with that. It’s just getting to know your kiln and your glass, and if you’re getting the shape you want, then it’s right.

I asked her about her finish on her pieces, because I love how velvety it is. It turns out that it is sandblasted and then danish oiled, and I love that (she uses tong oil if the object needs to be food safe). I am going to start using it with my engraving, because I love engraving that has been touched, and developed a patina over time from the interaction of users with it. The finish she gets is very similar to this look, and very different to, say, a brush polish. I like the idea that if it ever does wear off, it will be because of being rubbed off by touching, and therefore the finish will be replaced by what it is meant to approximate. I’ve tried it and doesn’t come off easily, and I do have a prejudice against the idea that glass art finished must be dishwasher-safe. I don’t like the texture of raw engraving very much, but polished engraving doesn’t hold fingerprints, and therefore doesn’t develop the patina I love so much, so I think that Amanda’s oil solution is a good way forward.

She’ll be back at the end of the month to help us out a bit more.