The project is/was intended as a mixed media woven glass wall-hanging. The weave-y noodles are BE Aventurine Blue and Salmon Pink. They are shaped over a high quality 316SS custom mold, designed not to spall or flake up to 1600 degrees. This particular  mold has been used about 10 times and has a lovely oxidation but otherwise perfect condition.

NOTE: Fired in Denver CS60 with mold sitting directly on Dyson shelf. My standard schedule is ramping up at 350 dph to 1380, hold 5 and allow to cool to RT. No scheduled anneal is necessary on this first step because the Denver cools so slowly.

Each time I used SLIDE HI-TEMP 1800 mold release, and as the name states can be used up to 1800. Between runs, the molds are vacuumed and then wiped clean with a cloth and fresh SLIDE applied. The  aerosol can states that materials can be cleaned up post-firing with isopropyl alcohol.Over the ten identical runs (other than different colors of glass) there have been mixed results; slightly worsening each time. The first few times the glass slumped properly and the slight hazy on the back of the glass did indeed wipe away with a swipe of alcohol. Those runs used a mix of black/clear, assorted greens and blues.  

The next few runs used a lot of transparent dark colors like cobalt and garnet. The white haze left on the back of each noodle would NOT wipe or scrub away with alcohol. Soaks in hot soapy water did not remove all the haze. I treated these noodles the same as if I had stuck-on kiln wash, rather than Boron Nitride. An overnight soak in a bath of vinegar worked. Finally I resorted to just sandblasting the backs of the noodles for speed.

THEN it happened… same mold, same can of SLIDE freshly applied, same schedule… different glass….

Cracked the kiln lid 1/2 inch at 300 – my standard procedure – walked out of the room for 5 minutes and returned to the sound of Jiffy Pop coming from the kiln. A quick peek shows the Salmon Pink is breaking up and spitting glass bits all over.

 After cooling I found the Aventurine Blue had also stuck slightly, and when lifting away found glass pits on the backside where the glass had been pulled away – even from the ones that were NOT stuck.

Surprisingly there is no aventurine glass stuck to the mold. The bits just swept away easily. The Salmon is stuck in areas and underneath each Salmon strip the mold is pitted and damaged.

Now I’m stuck with a LOT of questions….

  • Is there a slow degradation of the SS mold that’s not visibly apparent?
  • With all factors being the same, why is the BN progressively harder to remove with each run?
  • Why did the Salmon stick so badly?
  • Does whatever makes “aventurine” have a protective effect as mica would?
  • Why didn’t I just use the darn kiln wash to begin with?

On a 9×12 blank I placed four of the commercial brass stencils representing different types of leaves and ferns. Those were blasted and then placed irid side UP and capped with opaque turquoise 0116. It looked oh! so pretty! in the kiln with only the turquoise showing – then I flipped it over to find the entire surface had reacted, except one small corner. The edge of a fern was peeking out a bit from a swamp of deep russet brown. [edit in photo when found]

Not one to give up a good sheet of glass, I embellished the turquoise surface with hand-pulled stringers and finally got a predictable reaction on the surface. The odd backside is now a “feature” of this interesting piece – hah!



By making small trinkets and functional dishes utilizing different methods and colors of copper-bearing glass; most of the sheet was used up. I’m certain the backing to the platter was from the very edge of the sheet.

Firing schedules for inital fuses (Denver CS-60 or Paragon Pearl 22):

  1. 300 – 1050 – 15
  2. 75 – 1275 – 15
  3. 350 – 1460 – 10
  4. 9999 – 900 – 60
  5. 160 – 700 – 0
  6. 200 – 200 – 0

BE suggests cutting the top layer (reactive ice) slightly larger than base. Strictly guesswork on my part but maybe it aids in stretching and breaking up the irid surface so the crackle can develop. I did not stick to this guideline due to the thin rim of irid peeking out on the bottom after firing. The top and base were cut flush. This could be a good design element by removing the thin layer of irid at the border before putting the piece together. The result would be a decorative border around the piece.

The next pieces are kiln-carved using 1/8th fiber paper under the entire piece. I thought that it would disrupt the irid enough to leave a distinct pattern but it did not. A nice little kiln-carving but certainly no different than using regular irid.

It matters ( a LOT) what part of the sheet the reactive ice irid is cut from. The irid is thinner or a different color. I think the sheet I was working from was a rainbow irid which would have silver irid on the other edges; or the iridizing was thinner.IceEdgeIrid

This is again turquoise 1116 or light turquoise 1416. The spiral shape on the left tray (at top) appears to have a darker design but is a trick of the light. There is light transmission through the darker areas but lying flat it appears a very dark russet brown.

An Attempt was made to kiln-carve using fiber paper cut into leaves with emerald green 1417. There was no reaction at all in spite of multiple firings. The refires were to try and correct signifcant trapped bubbles between base and irid, around the leaf shape. I surrendered after 3 tries.

Descriptions of outcomes while working with Reactive Ice Irid:

 In the cold sheet Reactive Ice appears clear. On my last order I jokingly told the BE sales rep I didn’t trust myself to have more than one deceptive glass on-hand at a time. There’s some truth in that so I ordered just the one sheet, with a plan to use it up in a short period of experimenting with the copper-bearing glasses. A list of those are on the BE website – all in the blue family of colors.

Use of the irid facing down toward the base sheet should give a crackled effect. I sand-blasted designs on the irid side to reveal more of the reactive surface with the intent to have a darker design within a field of crackle. I was pleased with the way it worked out. The interior irid flashes copper and bronze which complements the turquoise.






The above design was hand-cut on the fly from an aboriginal sun design using sand-blast resist. For the two trinket dishes (below) I used a brass commercial stencil and blasted away the irid in a fern leaf design. The glass is light aquamarine 1408.


I’m embarassed to admit I’ve started at least two blogs over the past few years – one was lost because I could not find or match up an email address and password. The other withered and died due to neglect. I thought Facebook would be the answer to needing a central place to share glass ideas, photos and network with other glass artists. Turns out  it IS a wonderful place to connect with other people; also to make jokes, play mindless games and waste an amazing amount of time.

Now I’m back to where I started – in a place I can post glass pictues and talk about glass issues with like-minded people.   The Glass Niche is the name of a company I started about 8 years ago. (It has nothing to do with the Niche awards, though I covet one.) As I excitedly described the glass fusing process to my oldest daughter, she said simply “I guess glass is your niche”. That became the name of one side of my business, and I quickly nailed down the domain name. My primary work is promoted and sold under Malench Glass locally. Someplace in the cyber-world there is a half-empty store called Glass Niche that is slowly being merchandised.

Bright and early tomorrow the second step of my journey takes me to BE reactive glass.