The Journey of the Jelly

Jellyfish Journey by Janet Crosby

Last week I wrote about the glass fusing process and the start of a new jellyfish piece.

The journey of this jellyfish wasn’t a smooth one, but I am grateful for what I learned (and who I met!) along the way. This post will be mostly photos because, as you know, a picture is worth a thousand words or so.

Jellyfish beginnings

I detailed how I made the watery blue base glass in the fusing process post. The photo above shows this jelly’s start. Here some of the pieces and variations I went through to create the jelly and seaweed.

Next up – a few hours in the kiln

Jellyfish Journey by Janet Crosby
So far, so good.

I carefully set this piece in the kiln. I researched the best firing schedule. Fingers crossed. 😬

Now to wait 10-12 hours.

Uh oh…

No, not what you might think. The piece didn’t crack. Whew.

But… something is amiss. Do you see it?

Jellyfish Journey by Janet Crosby
Post firing

Yeahhhh. See that little black line and dot piece that popped off? Let’s zoom in.

Jellyfish Journey by Janet Crosby
Bummer! This little piece was firmly fused to the base piece. Kind of obvious.

Now what?

Working on a torch, If something odd like this would happen, I would heat it up, and grab the offending piece out. Not an option here, a flame would crack this piece up.

Thankfully, as I am jumping in and learning about fusing glass, I found The Glasshoppa, Jim Matthews. He also has a Glasshoppa Patreon page, which I joined. Well worth it, glass people!

On the Glasshoppa Patreon page, I found a video where he fixes some firing mishaps. Solution? Using a diamond bit to burr out the offending piece. Yikes. This falls under the glass category of “coldworking” — using tools and grits to finish out the glass. This typically involves another firing to make it all glassy again.

Diamond burr activate!

So I did it. I used plenty of water and my diamond drill bit, and got rid of that blemish.

Jellyfish Journey by Janet Crosby

Then I emailed Jim the Glasshoppa with a couple questions about my piece and the necessary re-firing of it. He was so helpful. Speedy replies and thoughtful advice. Thank you, Jim!

Back into the kiln it goes

Yes, I was nervous, but already grateful for what I learned so far. Now would be the real test. Each time a piece is re-fired, there is a risk of breakage or devitrification (scummy formation of crystals that cloud the glass). Jim said my diamond bit wound would heal up just fine. I hoped so.

I did a conservative firing schedule with a slow ramp-up and slow cool-down to keep it all in one piece.

Jellyfish reborn

Out of the kiln for the… how many times has it been? I think this is the 4th time.

Jellyfish Journey by Janet Crosby
All better now!

And… the Glasshoppa was right! All healed now.

Jellyfish Journey by Janet Crosby
Glasshoppa-aided jellyfish rebirth

What’s next?

I am having so much fun with jellyfish ideas. I will be offering them for sale in my shop soon. Next up… practicing my glass-drilling technique to hang this piece.

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