I was in Panama earlier this month and got to melt some glass! (Earlier in the blog I wrote about how we were moving to Cali for a year, link) Unfortunately my plan to set up or borrow a studio in Cali never solidified, but luckily I was able to work at my parent's house both times I got to visit. I'm very happy because we return home in July and my studio will be back up as it should be! Hopefully even more glorious than before. In any case... inspiration struck with the bottle glass this time!
I just thoroughly searched my blog and realized I have barely posted about recycling glass bottles, though it's something I have done that is pretty cool. When I first tried it (linked above), my hothead torch just wasn't hot enough for melting bottle glass. The thing is that in Panama we use a propane-butane mix, for some reason, probably money, which is not as hot as full-on propane - as it should be. In any case, the torch I have now is perfect for melting this kind of glass, which is more rigid than the coe 104 Venetian glass that I usually use.
The first step in using bottle glass is to crush the bottles. Which commonly come in beautiful emeraldish green, amber, and cobalt blue. Of course the most common is clear teal and transparent is also readily available, as well as other shades of green, amber, and blue.
The thing with bottle glass is that when the bottles are made, the manufacturers don't care about glass compatibility, or coefficient of expansion, which makes or breaks whether you can mix glasses or not. So I can't really mix colors or even similar bottles; I use only glass from one particular bottle at a time. In the picture above, the jars are labeled with the bottle of origin. Green and amber are two favorite Panamanian beers, and Saratoga is a water brand... don't get me started on bottled water, but at least I am recycling the bottle, which was large. I have more glass of course, but these are the ones I decided to work with.
This time, I made mostly big holed beads, which are the ones that fit on collectible charm bracelets such as Pand*ra, and stud earrings that I need to attach the backs to, soon.
To hold the shards of glass, since they are not rods, I am using a Carlo Donà tool... which I am absolutely in love with...And here are some morning pictures after the kiln. Pretty soon these items will be available for sale on my Etsy store.
I really enjoyed practicing how to make this shape completely by marvering.
Recycling is: diverting pre-consumer or post-consumer material from going to the dumpster, and instead turning it into a completely new product. Recycling is NOT the same as reusing or repurposing, because of the word cycle.
By crushing and melting the glass bottle, I am making something completely new. In this case, just one bottle can make hundreds of beads, rings, and other lampwork items. Ideally, these bottles should just be washed and reused, but we know that getting this to actually happen can be complicated, especially in "our countries"...
I am in no way saying that I am saving the earth by making glass jewelry - I'm just explaining why this is considered a recycled product.