Squids and Squid By-Products

All the borosilicate tentacle making from last month’s episode led to two new creatures: Space Squids and Flying Slugs. I’ll discuss the squids first since the slugs were kind of an off shoot of them.

glass space squidThough the end result may appear silly, creating an entirely new creature requires serious thought not to just the creature’s appearance but my effeciency in creating them and the durability of it’s design.

All I knew when I started out with these guys was that I wanted to create a wearable sculpture, not a solid boro pendant. For durability I decided to make as much of it solid as I could and then be sure to attatch all the tentacles together as much as possible. I would have liked to have the tentacles waving “Hello” and floating out in space but that would compromise the pendant’s durability. I didn’t want a bunch of squid coming back to me in pieces.

Space Squids are composed of a solid head which is made from various frits, powders and clear pyrex crammed into a 1″ marble mold, and tentacles which are made from colored rod or mixed colors encased with heavy wall tubing.

The reptile murrine eye, which I made from a recipe I found in Milon Townsend’s book Advanced Flameworking, has to be encased in clear before applying. I encase pretty much anything that has to be fused to anything else in clear. With the boro I feel that things stick together easier that way. I can’t tell you for sure that that’s a fact it just the way things seem to me.

All of this preparation really adds up time wise. I’ve spent up to two hours on a squid. I create most of my soft glass beads in less than one hour. I’ve spent two hours on a soft glass bead before and the result was a lot less goofy looking than a one-eyed, 5 tentacled squid. So the next thought to cross my mind about these guys was is this design going to be worth all the extra time and gas it will take to make them? I love the squids but they’re goofy. Is anyone else going to want to wear these? That thought was promptly stomped on by another thought about how fun and interesting working with boro was. Coming into the studio to work in the morning was exciting because I didn’t know what was going to happen that day. I decided that I was just going to have to get faster at making the squids. Then everything would be cool.

lybarger glass gobletHere’s a side trip that’s a little OT–My first squid was pretty hideous looking but I wore it proudly. It was durable and it was wearable. Accomplishment! Making that first squid really got my brain going about all the stuff you can make out of this shock resistant glass. That realization side tracked me and I got obsessed with making something bigger out of seperate components. What I wanted was a dainty goblet type vessel out of which guests could drink this horrible Chinese liquor (Moutai)we’ve got lying around at the house. After about 4 days of breaking and fixing various parts I finally did it.

Only the stem and the base and part of the glass are pictured. The whole thing is about 6 or 7″ tall and it incorporates the first squid that I made mostly because that was the only thing I had lying around to make it out of. It’s still intact, which is nothing short of miracle.

But I digress…after making my Moutai glass I got back to Squid making. I was never able to shave a lot of time off of their production so I tried to come up with something simpler–The Flying Slug.

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5 Responses to “Squids and Squid By-Products”

  1. jean Says:

    I have been trying to follow all of them on ebay–are they worth it financially for you to do, something you pretty much addressed by saying they were worth it in enjoyment factor—because they sure are cool! I love them!

    The flying slug was terrific as well!

  2. Cathy Lybarger Says:

    Thanks Jean!
    The ebay prices were all over the place so I was happier with some than others. Overall they sold a lot better than I thought they would. But the boro was taxing on a lot of other levels. It pushed the limits on the ventilation I’ve got in the studio and the number of failed pieces or tentacles that I pulled that turned out to be the wrong color was pretty high. Days where things really worked were EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT days but there were a lot of other days when nothing worked. I learned a lot though, I tell ya. That was a good time with the boro. I’ve gone back to soft glass for now.

  3. jean Says:

    ok. darn! but I understand. thanks for the good explanations, as always

  4. tracybeads Says:

    Well, I loved your squids and had bid on at least one of them. I’m sorry that they’re such a pain to make and hope you revisit them at a later date. What attracted me were the colors, the tentacles and just how weird and different they were. Mutant Squids From Outer Space.

  5. Cathy Lybarger Says:

    Well thanks, Tracy!
    Your praise makes my tail wag. I’m sure I’ll go back to them someday–I’ve got a bunch of tentacles and a lot of knowledge about boro left over. I had a really pleasant vacation from the soft glass but it feels good to get back to it. I feel like I know what I’m doing again! And it melts so fast!
    -Cathy


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