Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sterling Renaissance Festival

Phew, it was quite a busy but eventful weekend for me!  My husband and I did a lot of cleaning around the house, including shampooing the carpets and vacuuming out the heat ducts...yuck!  But, the highlight of my weekend was going to the Sterling Renaissance Festival in Sterling, NY.  This was my first time at a Renaissance Festival, but it was actually quite educational for me!

Since I didn't dress up for the occasion and didn't want to pay big bucks to rent a costume, I bought this headpiece instead!

My husband and the "Queen" on her horse!  She took to quite a liking with him!

One of the awesome wooden sculptures on display by one of the many artisans there!

King and Queen!

The glass blowing demonstration was actually my favorite part!  I did my concentration in ceramics in college, but I've been starting to dabble in glass works, particularly fusing and slumping with my art club kids.  I was able to buy a single shelf, 12" round glass kiln with a pre-programmed electronic timer using grant money for my classroom.  

This year there was something new I found in the Nasco magazine...a kit to make slab bracelets out of glass!  I'm still not totally sure of myself when it comes to working with the more advanced glass techniques, and after I purchased the slab bracelet kit, I wasn't very confident that my kiln could be used safely with the procedure that needs to be carried out with the bracelets.

After fusing all the glass together, you have to put the flat bracelet strip on a metal bracelet mold inside the kiln...with kiln paper in between of course.  Then, you need to flash heat your kiln to 1400 degrees in 15 minutes, open it up, use the special metal tongs to completely bend the strip around the mold, and then shut it.  I've been very nervous to try this because my kiln is larger than the one they use in the direction booklet...I can probably fit at least four bracelet molds into my kiln, whereas the one used in the booklet is just big enough for one! 

So, I'm thinking that when I have to open the kiln, there's going to be A LOT of heat radiating from that.  Can the glass blow up?  Can something nearby catch on fire just from the radiating heat?  After the gentlemen finished his demonstration I was able to talk to him a little bit about my concerns and he eased my mind a bit!  As long as I can assure that my kiln has ample space around it, I should be fine!  Wear the proper gloves, hair tied back, no loose clothing, etc.  He also said I will always run the risk of the glass popping, but as long as I have followed the proper annealing process while fusing the glass and I don't take too long with the lid open, I should be fine.  He also told me to make sure to anneal the glass properly after bending it around the mold.  Considering the fact that he was constantly taking glass in and out of the glory hole while going through the glass blowing process, I think I should be fine if I have to have my kiln open for 30 seconds!

So, now my next task is to figure out how to properly program a fourth program into my kiln for the bracelet bending!


  1. Went today, it was my first time also. Very fun and the drumsticks were awesome.

    1. I know! I could barely finish my drumstick...very filling! I went Pirate Weekend and saw Jack Sparrow...'cept he wouldn't let me take a picture with him! He ran away! :(