Blue baroque suncatcher

The two green and white baroque glass suncatchers I made in December for Christmas presents looked so good, I decided to get some stock of the other colours and make some more.

When the two colours came, the cinnamon baroque one looked a little light in a window compared to a brown bottle centre, so I chose to use the blue one first, which has strong banding that I thought would compliment a Blue Nun bottle bottom beautifully. I cut the bottle bottom off, and bonded it to a clear circle as previously. However, as is the risk in this method, a bit of water sneaked inside the bottle end when cleaning, which went on to dry slightly streaky. The square of blue baroque I cut up was so nice, I decided not to risk it on a less than perfect bottle bottom.

bluebaroqueAt work there were a couple of old sample dichroic bevel squares, with a textured raised centre that changes between clear/pink/gold/blue depending on the light refraction, so I used one of those to save this lovely bit of baroque glass, with it’s striking rings.  I finished the solder in black patina and polish, and although the photo is on a dark day, the end result is quite striking with the dramatic rings and the chromatic texture changing colours. I might try a few more alternative centres now and again, as the bottle ones do take a lot of preparation sometimes. I’ve got a couple more of these bevels, and some stained glass roundels to try out.

Blue bottle suncatcher

I particularly like the Blue Nun wine bottle for use as a bottle tealight hanger, but also wanted to use the bottom of one for a bottle suncatcher that I’ve been making lately. I’d been waiting for one to turn up for a while, so when I got given one last week, I wanted to use it at the first opportunity.

I cut the bottle bottom as low as I possibly could, Blue centreas I wanted to keep the projection and weight down as much as possible, this time using the upgraded Kinkajou bottle cutter. I UV glued the bottom to another 3mm clear glass circle. Back I went to the glass box to see what glass would work with the blue centre. I had a streaky blue glass that I had partly used which looked good along side the blue centre, on quickly settled on that. It cut nicely, and was edged with black backed copper foil to again use the black patina. The final step was to polished the solder with black graphite grate polish and clean the glass before hanging.

Mini wine bottle suncatcher

I’m really enjoying combining the copper-foil stained glass techniques with some aspect of bottle cutting to make something a bit more unusual. I wanted to make something a little bit smaller, but liked the look of the larger protruding wine bottle centres, so the next thing I wanted to use as a centre was a mini wine bottle end. blue hanger I had a lightly blue tinted clear mini wine bottle, so decided to use that one to see how a clearer centre would look in a coloured square.

I cut the mini wine bottle at a height of about 20mm, to give the centre a bit of depth. It separated well, and was flatted to allow for a good gluing surface onto a tightly cut circle of 3mm clear glass. I had a square of turquoise/blue/white bullseye glass which looked good and suitable for the centre, so I cut it to the cross template I’ve made for suncatchers. Sadly, one piece broke off along a seam of white, which is always a potential problem with streaky glass of several colours. Working around the problem, I cut two new squares of a complimentary blue and white streaky glass, and set them as opposites, like in a harlequin style. I soldered the suncatcher very carefully and neatly with K-grade solder, and cleaned it up leaving a nicely shiny end result. It looks great in the light, and is going to a friend in Norway, where it should look great in the long summer evening light.

Blue bottle vase

I’ve not come across blue glass quite so easily since I started cutting bottles, and am always keen to get more as the results look good. I could go out and buy blue glass bottle products, of course, but that’s kind of defeating the object of having a free cost material to work with.

I received a second blue bottle of Ty Nant spring water, which is a teardrop shaped glass bottle with a long narrow neck. The first one I tried turned out to be a bit of a disaster, and ran in all sorts of directions, including in straight vertical lines down the bottle when heated, which is something I’ve not come across before. Four attempts to salvage something from the bottle with fresh spaced cuts down the bottle all failed and it was a dead loss. I was left wondering if the shape of the bottle was a problem in terms of adding stress to the glass, as the straight runs particularly at the neck curve were quite explosive under the warm water pouring. Or was it maybe a peculiarity of heating blue glass, as I had also a lot of problems with the Blue Nun bottles, which were regular cylindrical shapes, though quite uneven. Time will tell as I learn more through practise, but blue glass is something I’m going to attempt very carefully to try to increase the chances of success than I’ve had so far.

So on my second attempt at a Ty Nant blue bottle, I first tried to remove aboutBlue bottle vase 80mm from the narrow neck at the top, using the G2 cutter. I positioned the cutting wheel so there was a clear contact , though this was not so easy given the curving nature of the glass. The score line was good, and I began to gently heat the glass with the hot water for a couple of rotations. Then on quenching under a cold running tap, the reflection of a clean break could be seen, but not all the way around, and by then the temperatures had fallen, so it was back to reheating. This is the point where it is more vulnerable, as a single clean break all the way round first time seems to produce the best results. On the second quench, it began to run off, so I stopped immediately, and dried the bottle for a second cut further down the bottle.

Second time around was successful, as can be seen from the photo above. I left a good 40mm or so from the failed cut, as I knew the likelyhood of a vertical split was high. I heated the glass gently, but for longer, and got a visible break first time all the way round the circumference under quenching. A second gentle heating then cleanly separated the two halves. I edged down the top very carefully and patiently indeed, using three grades of diamond pads in a bowl of warm water. I really didn’t want any slips, and subsequent scratches to spoil this piece. It went well, and I’ve got another very attractive blue glass item. It makes for a good vase (140mm high, around 80-90mm wide).

Blue bottles

I was keen to get hold of some blue glass, so was pleased to get a Blue Nun wine bottle from a friend. Blue glass bottles look particularly good, and there’s a lot less of them around than green, clear and brown. I removed the neck sleeve, and soaked it in hot water to remove the label and soften the glue enough to remove the last traces with a flat, sharp blade. 

On examining the body prior to cutting, to look for the best approach and place to set the score, I noticed that these bottles were particularly rippled, which you could easily feel spinning the body around in your hand. The bottle was also quite off-round too. I scored the bottle quite high up, intending to make a vase/candle holder using the bulk of the body cylinder on it’s own neck. The first cut skipped about quite a bit on the rollers, so it wasn’t surprising to see it start to run off. I stopped the heating process, to leave it as strong as possible for another cut and inch or so down.

Despite extra care the second, third attempts to repeat the process also failed as the bottle ran off – a mixture of the bumpy process, the off-round shape and a bit of inexperience on my part of cutting such bottles. I thought I was going to lose the entire bottle, which would have been a shame as it was quite hard to get hold of a blue. The fifth cut finally proved successful, leaving a much shorter body of about two inches – something at least. It didn’t look right on the same neck, with the proportions all wrong, so I just finished the edges off nicely then left it to one side to think about what to use it for.

I begun playing around with the odd few bits of spare necks and bodies I had cut, and started to place the blue remnant on all of the necks I had. One in particular, the Kronenburg 1664 neck remnant kept from an earlier project, looked great in combination with it – almost like a strange looking flower. As both were previously finished, I got the UV glue out and bonded them together right away, taking care to make sure this one stuck centrally and was balanced. It is by far my favourite piece so far, partly because of the work done to salvage anything from the blue bottle, but also because of the chance combination of two good looking colours whose shapes work well and create a flower.

A very pleasing end result:

Blue and green 'flower'