Painted Frogs

I was contacted by a friend of mine who wanted to give a gift to a friend of theirs. We discussed what he wanted and I was pretty excited about the subject: frogs.

I have a thing for frogs and my favorite is the green tree frog. So that’s what I made for this project.

I knew exactly what glass I was going to use, too. A piece of the french vanilla with cascading rhubarb pink-green shift glass. The really cool extra about the rhubarb glass is that is color shifts from green to a reddish color depending on the light.

Yes, this really is the same glass in both pictures. No, it's not the exact same piece of glass...
Yes, this really is the same glass in both pictures. Sunlight on the left, fluorescent light on the right.

I had just purchased my enamel paints (bonus that they are lead free!) and this would be my first attempt at color work. It was good that I had a great subject to start with.

After selecting the glass, I looked at all the molds I had to offer and we decided on a 6″ round bowl. I hadn’t had success with it the past, but I figured it was because I hadn’t actually leveled the mold & glass.

Cutting circles is tricky business. You need to cut in one, continuous motion without overlapping your starting point. Then you have to press on the backside of the score line to make the cut. It really sucks when your glass doesn’t crack along the score line.  Fortunately, my glass behaved, for the most part, and I didn’t have to grind it much to smooth it out.

Tricksy circles...
Tricksy circles…

I selected my colors, found a reference photo and painted away. It took me about an hour to get it just the way I wanted it.

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Close up!
Close up
Ready to fire!
Ready to fire

The enamels mature at 1500°F, but I didn’t want to fire it above a “normal” tack fuse temp, 1410°F. And I wasn’t sure how the enamels would look at a lower temperature. I put it in the kiln and prayed the mixed colors and the texture wouldn’t do anything funky.

To say I was pleased with the results was an understatement! I loved it so much, I knew I had to do another for myself. My friend was also happy so it was on to slumping!

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Slumping, as I have touched on in my Star Wars plate video, is where I heat the glass enough for it to bend so it takes the shape of the mold it is on or in. I set my temp for 1225°F and timed it to stay at top temperature for about 10 minutes. I leveled the mold so the glass would fall in evenly.

Or so I hoped.

Wonky little bowl... so sad.
Wonky little bowl… so sad.

When I opened the kiln the next day I was frustrated. The glass had not slumped evenly, though better than the only other time I had used this mold. I contacted my friend and agreed to make another.

Prefired, Le Grenouille Deux.
Prefired, Le Grenouille Deux.

In the mean time, I had an idea to use a different mold that I would drape the glass bowl on. Draping and slumping are essential the same, the difference is a convex vs. concave application of glass on the mold.

The second frog turned out as great as the first, and the second slumping of the original bowl was a success! My friend took the flat, second frog and I got to keep the original! Win win!!

Froggy goodness.
In the sun, the base green glass shows it’s pink side.
In the sun, the base green glass shows it’s pink side.

I’ll be doing more of these types of paintings on glass as soon as my new studio is set up. In the mean time, feel free to ask me questions about this project. 🙂