The Hot Glass Process
The technology available to us today has certainly changed the way people shop and do business. It hardly matters for what product you may search, information is available with the click of a mouse or the touch of an icon. Increasingly in the decorative glass industry a much used search term is “rondel” and of course the first questions posed are: How do you pronounce that? Who makes them? Where can I get some? I don’t know that it really matters how you pronounce rondel, but the answers to the other two questions, in my book are critical and the answers are, Kokomo Opalescent Glass makes rondels, almost every day, and you are speaking with the source…How may I help you?
First we must decide whether you require a Spun rondel or a Blown. Uh ohh…. don’t know the difference? Let me offer an explanation. Now I don’t know about you, but to me a picture is worth a thousand words oft times. I have included a few here to illustrate the printed explanations. And of course if you still have questions, I am only a click away. Or for those of you who prefer a more old fashioned method of communication, there is always the telephone. When it comes to customer service, we don’t mind being a little old fashioned.
To begin with, all rondels at KOG Hot Glass Studio are created from either the cullet of the KOG sheet glass trimmed edges or water cullet kettled out of a pot at day’s end. If we have cathedral or opal cullet for a particular color, rondels can be made from it.
Hand spun glass rondels are created by a single gather of glass that is shaped by a footing tool. They are solid color, and when compared to sheet glass, often a shade darker in color density. There is often a subtle ridge-like appearance on the punty side and the thickness is greater than that of a blown rondel. They can be easily copper foiled or leaded and because they can be made with a minimum of labor they are often an attractive and economical option.
Hand spun glass rondels from KOG can only be made in sizes that range from 2” to 4”. There is a standard color palette from which to choose. Other colors are available with a minimum order of 20 rondels per color and dependant upon availability of sheet glass cullet.
Blown Rondels (single color and specialty)
A blown glass rondel can be either solid color if on the smaller side, or more commonly, flashed with a gather of clear over a gather of color. More labor intensive, air is mouth blown into a blow pipe creating a bubble. From the opposite side a pontil rod is attached and the bubble is separated from the blow pipe. It is now attached to the pontil rod and there is a hole at the broken end. Depending on the size of the rondel, the gaffer will several times move from the glory hole to the bench, keeping the glass hot and pliable. Slowly with his jacks he opens the hole further and further until the rondel is properly shaped.
A flashed, or blown, rondel, when compared to sheet glass is a shade lighter in color density. Color density can be manipulated to a certain degree. The surface of the blown glass rondel is very smooth. and the thickness is less than that of a spun rondel. Flashed rondels can be made in sizes that range from 3” to 20” and base color options are the same as those for spun rondels.
Within the blown rondel category KOG offers several specialty technique options. They include single frit, multi frit, optic, hot wrap, wacky wrap, pinwheel, murrini, frit swirl, feathered, and artist’s choice, which are often indescribable but a whole lot of lovely.