Vitrigraph

What is vitrigraph and how is it accomplished? This is a process where molten glass is molded and maneuvered as it flows freely from the bottom of a raised and supported kiln.

A kiln is raised so that working with the flowing glass can be accomplished without any interference. This is not a process for the faint at heart. It can be an extremely dangerous process and all safety procedures need to be followed to ensure a satisfactory outcome. Read and review the Safety First section below before attempting this process.

Leigh Adams and Larry Cunningham call this procedure ”Dancing with Glass”. As the two of them work together, it is like watching a well rehearsed dance team perform. One will be twisting and pulling the glass while the other one cuts.

They decide ahead of time who will be doing what process, so that each one knows his or her part. By doing this preparation, they don’t get in each others way, and they are successful with their pulls. They are able to manipulate the stream of flowing glass as at cools. These glowing lines of molten glass can vary in lengths, shapes, sizes and thickness. They can be manipulated with pliers, pipes, etc. Vitrigraph pieces can then be used as components in other fused glass work with the same COE.

vitrigraph, kiln, pot

Leigh Adams and Larry Cunningham

"Love the article on Vitrigraph!! Hope the word is getting out about this fantastic way to expand your palette of glass shapes and forms. Leigh Adams and I will be publishing our article on vitrigraph in the Fall issue of The Flow magazine, please look for it and spread the word. – Larry Cunningham 09/08/08"


vitrigraph, kiln, pot

Safety First

  • Don’t wear open toed shoes.
  • Wear your safety glasses at all times while attempting this procedure.
  • Wear long sleeved cotton shirt.
  • Use OV gloves for the best flexibility.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand for any emergencies.
  • Keep the kiln and falling glass away from any flammable surfaces or materials.
  • If working inside the kiln, always unplug and turn off the power to the kiln to avoid contact with the elements.
  • Never leave the kiln unattended.
  • Only use heavy electrical extension cords and tape them down to eliminate the chance of them being yanked and pulling the kiln off the support.
  • Hardiebacker or Durock flooring and table covering
  • Practice safety procedures at all times when doing the procedure of vitrigraph. Remember kilns are hot and this molten glass can start fires.

    Materials

  • 6 inch clay pots from Germany, Italy or USA (must be high fire pots) with an enlarged hole in the bottom
  • Kiln capable large enough to hold a 6 inch pot
  • Base plate made of mullite with holes cut in the bottom to allow the glass to flow through
  • Secure platform to hold kiln at or above shoulder level
  • Tools for shaping, pulling and cutting the glass
  • Compatible glass
  • Sheet metal to either catch the glass or placed on the floor for the glass to flow onto.
  • Annealing kiln heated up to accept the hot pieces
  • Cooling pot filled with water
  • Hardiebacker or Durock


  • " In class we actually have used 2 kinds of boards; Hardibacker and Durock. I like the Durock because it is entirely concrete with a fiber mesh and does a great job insulating. The other reason I prefer Durock is it has a fiberglass mesh on the top and bottom (embedded of course) that is easily cut with a utility knife and then you snap it just like a piece of glass. This makes it much easier to shape than the Hardibacker. Both can be purchased at Home Depot. Thanks for asking. – Larry Cunningham"

    Heating Clay Pot

    Fill pot with glass and heat depending on the color of the glass. For a good flow, you will need to take notes and adjust your kiln accordingly. If using frits or small pieces of scrap glass, be sure to place a larger piece in the bottom of the pot to prevent the glass from falling through the large hole before it is heated up.

    Approximate heating temperature:

  • 200 degrees Fahrenheit an hour to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 100 degrees Fahrenheit an hour to 850 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 50 degrees Fahrenheit an hour to 1080 degrees Fahrenheit
  • As fast as possible to 1550 degrees Fahrenheit
  • When heating the pot, watch out for any cracks. Cracks can widen and even break the pot open during firing. We experienced this at our firing, because the purchased pot was mislabeled and was not a high firing pot.

    vitrigraph, kiln, pot








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