I found it — a larger piece that E. and I labored over yesterday afternoon. I'm teaching him a new technique, and the lesson was slow and plodding, lots of re-dos, lots of "let's strip this layer off." Or rather, "let's strip all these layers off and start from the beginning."
Seems to be the best way to teach — and learn — a new task here in the Glass Factory. Do it, feel your way through it with the basic instructions, then do it again, always refining and re-defining the details and brush strokes. Some have the touch and some don't. Some are teachable, and others aren't. I enjoy the teaching to a point — there's always a deadline at my back. Between M. and I, we could probably teach a two-year course in what we do here. (Might be a better way to make $$, come to think of it.)
A cracked vessel. Which let out a second loud SNAP after I took it out to inspect, completely cooled.
When E. returned from sand-blasting, I showed him the piece. He's 26, and studied glass art in college, and has a physics-level understanding of how the molecules move about in glass, and gave me a quick tutorial in surface tension and the path of least resistance. He found the most probable point of origin of the crack, a small embedded stone, which most likely caused a heating/cooling inconsistency and, blammo — there it went.
I am perpetually fascinated by the curving direction a crack will take, the arc of it, how it feels like a living thing in my hands, a conglomeration of vibrating molecules that have misbehaved and will end up ker-plunking into the garbage can.
Never having studied glass arts, what I know I know intuitively; a martini, wine or champagne glass will exhibit its own behavioral traits based on the angle or curve of the cup. Once sand-blasted, I can break the stem of any one of them in a snap if I'm lose my concentration and grasp too tightly in the finishing process — a fact that has never failed to astound me. I know the ping a flicked finger makes on glass that announces Too Thin To Bother With. A well-tempered, appropriately thick piece of glass will make a mid-toned ringing klung sound that says All Is Well. So much is decided on the song a piece of glass intones, its solitary note of suitableness. (M. is a generous Goodwill donor.)
Our little machine rumbles and clatters along, and sometimes it sings.
Ironic that yesterday I spent a good long stretch of the afternoon teaching E. the techniques I use to layer color, and then today listened in fascination while he taught me the physics of the crack. Much to be learned, from either side.
I was appropriately humbled.
|I was trying to capture the often-seen prismatic effect a crack makes, but the light wasn't right.|
|The crack as seen on the base of the vessel: beautiful curve!|