Sunday, May 2, 2010

What I Learned from Experimenting with Silver Wire Inclusions

I'm working on developing more fused glass jewelry in the form of pendants, pins and earrings. Typically, to make or attach a bail, you would grind a channel on the side for the wire or use glue. However, my idea of tack fusing earrings doesn't allow for a channel because the depth is too narrow (2-3mm). I also want to add a few Swarovski crystals at the bottom and need to attach them to a loop. So, I've decided to putting a silver wire in between the layers. Once fused, I will wire wrap two loops, one on each side to attach the ear wire on the top and crystals on the bottom.

Here's what I learned from using wire:
  • 99.9% silver works well as it fires a bright silver and doesn't tarnish from the heat
  • The wire will need to be hardened after it's fired regardless of whether you've hardened it before
  • Silver wire will fuse to another piece of wire but can be easily unattached
  • The wire will discolor the kiln shelf, so it's best to place Thinfire under it. And, while the shelf may "look" fine afterwards, the silver may still discolor the back of any glass later fired on the shelf.
  • If you buy thin wire (I purchased 22 gauge), there's no need to flatten it with a hammer as it doesn't create any bumps when fired. However, it does help if you glue the wire in place and top layer to the bottom.
  • With a small item, there's no need for a bubble squeeze even with the wire between two layers of glass
Here's how they turned out. I'm happy with them, what do you think?

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