This Artisan Makes Beautiful Pens out of Glass | Où se trouve: GypsyRoad Glass, Silver & Stone

This Artisan Makes Beautiful Pens out of Glass | Où se trouve: GypsyRoad Glass, Silver & Stone


Hello, I’m Janelle Tyler and I am owner and artisan at Gypsie Road – Glass, Silver, and Stone, here, in Halifax, Nova Scotia Making glass pens is definitely one of my favourite things to do. Hope you like what you see and enjoy the show! This is what a rod looks like – almost pure silica. The first thing I do is break it down into more manageable pieces. I scratch the glass, and then pull and break at the same time. So, the first thing I’m going to do is light the propane, and then add the oxygen. Then, I’m going to heat the rod. So, you heat gently up first, so you don’t send the glass into thermal shock. But this is borosilicate glass and it’s very, very resistant to thermal shock. That’s one of its attractive properties and the other is that it’s nice and clear. There’s no bubbles, or inclusions, or fogginess in this type of glass. I’m making a gather. Then, just heating the rod and pushing it into the gather so that the hot glass slumps down onto my cooler glass that I’m heating; and I’m going to do the same thing on the other side. So, that’s a big enough gather now, and I’m going to go over and press some colour into it. Coloured glass, when it is in shard form like this, is called frit, and this is just a blend of different colours of green frit that I think make a nice, pleasant, spring-y palette. Next, I’m going to do my spontangeously learned “Twist and Flip”. So: Stretch it out, and flip it, and twist it. By rolling it on my graphite marver, I smooth out the edges, and now that coloured glass is inside the clear glass. It’s already in a spiral shape, but I’m actually going to straighten that out a little bit, so that when I add a second colour, they swirl together almost like two– almost like a piece of DNA. It will form a nice double helix kind of a pattern. So, there’s the white frit – one layer of it. I’m going to add another layer. Now, I’m heating the whole piece, getting ready to do the second twist and flip, flip and twist. And, there we go! So now, all the colour is inside and I just marvered it on the graphite, which is a heat sync so the glass won’t stick to it, and I’m going to just keep rotating the glass and keep heating it until I start seeing the look that I’m after for my glass pen handle. I’m drawing out what will be the end of the pen handle. Now, I’m heating more what will be the center of the pen handle. And I’m just about done with the handle– the colour part of the handle. Now, I’m going to form a small, clear gather just to give the handle a bit more weight down next to the hand; and now I’m going to melt a gather that I will turn into a triangular grip, which is my preferred design for a pen that’s intended for writing long letters, or journaling, or just doing something where you’re holding the pen for a long period of time. It keeps the hand from cramping. It gives you a more secure grip. So, I’m pressing that into a triangular shape on the graphite, and now I’m melting it enough just to stretch it out and get it to be a nice shape that’ll fit inside of the little ink bottles that I use. I’m going to detach the tip of the pen from this punty, I’m really pleased with how the white sort of spirals upwards there. I’ll take my diamon shears, and hold the pen with those while I rotate the pen to detach the handle from the rod. And there you have it! So first, I’m going to light the propane. This is a much smaller torch than the other, so it’s better for precision work. I’m just going to add the tip to the handle that I’ve already made. It’s important to be as precise as possible. What I’m going for is a little nub to keep your fingers away from the ink. I don’t want it to be so big that your hand is far removed from the tip itself. It’s got the tip on it, and I’m going to turn off the torch and then put on my welders gloves, so that I can reach into the hot kiln. What it does is: it heat treats the glass, so that it is shatter resistent. Okay, so now that the glass pen has come out of the kiln and is properly kilned and healed, it’s time to finish the tip. So I’m going to dip the tip into water, and use these wet/dry sandpapers to polish the tip. And also, it’s at this point that I like to make sure that the pens work exactly the way that I want them to, because the function of these is very important to me This is waterproof black ink. And writing: Hello World! Little heart. One of the really great things about these pens is how long you can write with just one dip. So, often times people get bored before I’m done showing them just how far it will go, but, you get the general idea. You can also use other mediums. I’ve got some drawing gum, which is also called liquid frisket, which is basically a really thin liquid latex. And again, I’m just going to write, “Hello World,” and draw a little heart, and colour it in. And then, I can just rinse it off in the water, and it comes right off just like it was paint or ink. You just use your finger, and rub it away! It leaves just the bare paper underneath – comes off like little bits of eraser. You can also use them with this thin adhesive called size, that’s used for gold leaf. This stuff will dry just a little bit tacky, which means you can brush on pigment powders of any kind. Now, it is perfectly white, so on the white paper it’s not showing up. I’m just going to take some of this metal powder, and I’m putting just a little bit on a paint brush, and I’m just brushing it on to where I used the size, and the powder only sticks to where the size was. And so, I get this really nice metallic ink look without having to actually fight with metallic ink, which I find to be – no matter what pen you use– it’s really thick, goopy, and difficult to control. You can find me online at: gypsyroad.ca and in general, my handle on the internet is Artisan Janelle.

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