My First Double-Sided Feather!

March 14, 2014

Yup, you read correctly: I figured out how to make a double-sided, slumped glass feather. I wanted my next blue jay feather to be completely three-dimensional, and finished on both sides. But would it work? Could I fuse texture onto both sides of the surface?

 

Turns out the answer is "yes"...mainly, because I'm working at such low temperatures. I sculpted the basic feather shape with the central "quill" ridge on the top surface and fired it at tack-fuse temps. Then I added powder color and fired it again. Next, I flipped the whole thing over and built up another quill ridge on the second side and refired it, having no idea whether the texture on the underside would be preserved. I was so happy when I pulled the feather out the next day and the underside (formerly the top) looked just as it did before firing!

 

After additional rounds of adding colored frit powder to the second side, I flipped it back over (so the top of the feather would once again be facing up) and slumped it over shaped stainless steel mesh. Again, I wasn't sure this would work, or whether the mesh would leave an ugly waffle pattern on the surface. Other than needing a touch of coldworking along the quill, the feather came out perfectly. I was actually sort of stunned that it worked. This image shows the back side of the feather after slumping.

 

Now to see whether I can translate this process into a larger piece. This feather is my largest so far, 16" long by 4.25" wide. I'm dreaming of a four-foot-long feather. That would have been one hell of a bird. I've read that dinosaurs were feathered, so who knows how large their feathers were?

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