Murrine-making learning curve.

I’m excited at how fast I am progressing in this technique. I am learning a lot from piece to piece and I’ve only done three so far. The first being the two-color signature cane and the other being the first color eye. The following piece uses a different angle of color mixing…laying on layers of color in the stringer (think a bullseye pattern of color layering) to achieve the pointillist effect. Letting the eye make the jump. Although, the stringers are pulled so small that the eye can’t even see the rings anymore and maybe the colors do mix? Here it is right out of the kiln: stringer stack murrini Interesting. I used a different fuse schedule to help avoid air pin holes. I do think that worked and will find out more when I cut a slice but it did slump over more in that process. It could be coincidence, the new fusing schedule, the fact that the stringer may have been longer than the last one? More air because I didn’t pack it like previous ones? The latter is probably it. Here it is compared to the first experiment: mosaic murrine The first one is shorter primarily because I took a slice. You can see though that the slumping happened above where the pipe form was. I haven’t quite figured out the physics of that though because the kiln paper did extend high enough to be a form and it slumped in, not out.   mosaic murrine Completed piece. I do like it a lot. I learned that powder pink strikes a LOT in the kiln, even though it had burned out some in the flame. Another live and learn and I’ll have to try another color that will darken up the flesh tones. It looks like some of the darkness is provided by using a transparent glass in the bullseye process…interesting.stringer stack murrini Here are the two eyes I’ve done. Time to move on and practice technique on another image. Maybe a mouth? Next up, building a form other than a circle. Maybe with fiber paper and block? I’m nervous but that edge is what keeps me finding new things and process.

Soft Glass Eye Murrini – What I have learned so far…

I have finally finished placing all of the components for this, my second cold stringer stacked murrini. It is in the kiln firing as I type. It all looks so cheery and good in this first starting picture, doesn’t it?

eye murrini

Plugging right along, mixing color, pulling stringer and placing it into place. I have learned that diameter of stringer I like to use is under a millimeter! You read that right. It had been suggested to me at one point to use whole rod diameter to fill large spaces. I’ve seen that in other work and sometimes it has left areas looking like circles. I didn’t like the look. It is also a pain to try and fill all of the gaps/undercuts around a larger diameter stringer or rod. It is much easier to use smaller stringer to start with…less gaps created, less to fill, LOTS more stringer to pull though.

There are many reasons that I’m nervous about this firing and one of them is because I started out using some stringer that were a millimeter or maybe a bit larger and therefore, some gaps that didn’t get filled. While I think it will fuse down ok, I think it compromises the image and makes it look more pixelated; something I’d like to minimize.

eye murrini

Doesn’t it just look so pretty? I thought so too! I do love the custom colors I pulled, even though they look a lot darker than they’re supposed to. Finicky color that orange is. Sometimes it strikes darker, sometimes it burns out and goes almost white. I am hoping that magic happens in the kiln and the darkness goes back to a lighter shade. It doesn’t help that my printer cartridges are off so the color of the picture I saw on my computer screen is not what printed. Oh well…I’m not going for TOTAL realism…just so you know what it is. I’m looking forward to the distortions in design and color that happen after 10+ hours in a kiln but also a bit nervous that it be a simple looking disaster. I didn’t pull all those colors and include all of the gradations for it to look like a three color cartoon image!

Oh, and did I mention that halfway in someone mentioned on Facebook that murrine using coral and yellows tend to crack? I rationalized in my head that I’m using ‘orange’ not coral, or yellow but, I have a hunch that it could be a problem. I couldn’t stop there though…maybe I’ll be lucky?

eye murrine

So, while it’s looking all pretty, now that I’ve spent a lot of hours doing this and finally “getting it” by the end, I look at the above picture and think, that is going to be a pain in the neck for the person doing it. Oh wait. That’s me. I guarantee that all of my 2.5″ stringer lengths are perfectly straight. PERFECTLY. But looking here you can see that they’re not all laying straight. That’s gonna cause problems. But, well, too late, so I kept moving forward, chalking it up to a learning experience, half knowing that by the time I get to the end it could be a disaster. Did I mention this is only my second attempt at this technique? The first one in color? I say that mostly for myself so I don’t get discouraged at my lack of perfection and patience to go back and fix it when I could. During this process I fixed plenty of things that I could have just left.

eye murrain

I finally got it all filled in and went back to fill in any gaps, best that I could. I got to one part and I kept being able to put more stringer in. Something was wrong. Where was all this space coming from? Where were they all going? I got a hunch to peel off the back template earlier than I would have and this is what I found:

Eye stringer murrain back side

My heart sunk, but just a little bit because I knew I could work with it. See that dark space at about 2:00? That is empty space. A LOT of empty space that doesn’t show in the front view but here it is in the back. That is what happens when your stack of stringers isn’t laying flat. I knew there was a ‘wobble’ in my placement but thought, oh, it’s just in one little part and I couldn’t get in there to figure out what was going on. Well, you take a lot of little wobbles (stringer stacked ever so slightly at a diagonal) and it turns into a big hole. I packed it full and that was that. We’ll see what happens. Luckily it was around the edges, not the detail of the design.

One thing I realized is that parallax is a b@tch. After about halfway through I started working with one eye closed. It’s hard to be up close and see the design on the surface, the template in the back of the cylinder and also be able to focus on the straightness along the length of the stringer. I hope this isn’t hurting my eyes. Is there such as thing as parallax glasses? 

Anyway. That’s that. If you’d like to see what it looks like after firing and what I do with it now, be sure to friend me on Facebook. This post will also be automatically added there and you can comment.