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A new design, Pressed Glass Earrings - some of the many steps from start to finish.

One of my latest designs! Fun earrings that I've made, simply put, by "pressing" a design into the glass and then filling in the detail with metallic glass paint

Like many other makers and artists, I'm doing less selling and shipping at the moment. In my case this means more time for designing and finishing old projects. I've finally been able to make some progress on designs and experiments that I started last year...or even earlier! 

five pairs of glass triangle shaped drop earrings with textured vine design and metallic detail

 

One of the most challenging was this pressed glass project.

I was keen to make some fun and bold earrings that were also light weight. This meant flattening the glass. I also had some metallic glass paint that I'd been itching to use.

 
On a long drive I worked out the basic plan and got started.
 Long thinks about jewelry designs on road trip  - Hwy 401 from Toronto to Montreal

It began with the very many steps of learning 3D printing.

creating some 3D designs on laptop
designing vine scroll art nouveau 3D stamp for jewellery

Plus several trips to the library. 

 3D printing at the library

The plan was to make a 3D stamp with a design which I could press into porcelain to make a clay stamp. The clay stamp could then be used in a kiln to press a design into small pieces of glass while at the same time flattening the glass. 

making clay stamps from 3D stamp

Things did not usually go to plan...since I really didn't know what was possible in the first place. Some of my favourite results remain in the work-in-progress stage. 

Once I had at least a couple stamp designs with promising results, I focused on perfecting the kiln-firing. There were quite a few tests with different temperatures, glass and clay thicknesses, shapes and sizes. 

pressed glass tests with an evergreen tree design and different thicknesses and types of glass 

Once I was committed to a tall triangle shape with a mismatched colourblock design, it was time to test many different colour combinations. I cut the glass and glued the pieces onto a special kiln paper which separates the glass from the clay.

This was one of the more satisfying tasks. I love how they look just as they are.

preparing glass earring pieces to fire in kiln

In the kiln, being pressed down by the clay tile stamps.

unloading clay tiles and pressed glass pieces from kiln

They aren't quite as orderly and attractive when it's time to take them out of the kiln.

glass jewelry pieces after press firing in kiln

And they get even messier looking once I have applied glass paint. But not for long.

 glass paint drying on the earring components

Next is the most laborious part where I use a couple different grinders to shape the pieces, a drill to create holes and some burs to soften the edges of the holes. I don't have photos for these messy jobs. Maybe next time I will stop and wash my hands and take a pic.

The pieces are cleaned and checked in case they need to be redone. Then I go about the task of matching pieces to a partner. Maybe not my favourite job as they are all a bit different and I am a perfectionist;) but by the end it is quite satisfying to have pairs of these lovely glass pieces to be made into earrings.  
 step by step jewelry making process of matching earrings

A few pairs of the final results.

Bold and colorful red and blue dangle earrings with an art nouveau vine design, handmade in glass by Leila Cools.

Triangle drop earrings in ice blue, aquamarine and gold, handmade in glass by Leila Cools

 

Glass drop earrings in periwinkle blue, rose pink and pewter, handmade by Leila Cools

Green flat triangle dangle earrings handmade in glass by Leila Cools. Mismatched colorblock earrings with art nouveau style vine design in gold.

Lavender and rose pink ismatched colorblock earrings with art nouveau style vine design in silver. Handmade by Leila Cools.

Bold and colorful drop earrings in aquamarine and royal blue, with an art nouveau vine design detailed in silver. Handmade in glass by Leila Cools.



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