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fish marble      How to Make a Glass Marble With a Fish in it.

My Tools:
-Hot Head torch
-MAPP gas
-sparker for lighting torch
-torch marver (this may be a luxury item, but I find it indispensible; it gives me a work surface right in front of my eyes.)
-10" serrated end tweezers
-mellon tweezers
-metal poker tool (mine looks like a dental tool--probably is)
-rod nipper (tile cutter, actually)
-marble mold (mine has 6 holes)
-Holder for final fire polishing (I made this myself!  I'll describe it at some point, but you will use your mold unless you have something better)
-Moretti glass rods:  see specific instructions
-Kiln (if you don't have a kiln you will need to ask someone else about how to use vermiculite or a fiber blanket.

IMPORTANT--my technique involves cutting hot rods off marbles, so you will need to have a place to do this that is fireproof and where the cut rod cannot roll away (your hands will be full, and the rod will drop free).

ONE MORE THING--Do a "dry run".  I still do this when trying some new idea;  practice each step without the torch on.  PRETEND to do each step--pick up the tools, go through the motions, note where you tend to set things back down, watch out for having to reach awkwardly for items.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR A "FISH" MARBLE   approximate time to make:  90 munutes.

Part One:  Make millefiore for fish.  This can be very simple, very complicated, or somewhere in between.  This is an easy two-color idea using red and blue opaque glass:

1.  Heat the end of the red rod until it is warm but not drooping (about 1" of it).
2.  Heat the blue rod and lay a stripe of blue along the length of the warm end of the red rod.  Melt off blue rod.
3.  Add another blue stripe on the other side of the red rod, but do not melt off the blue rod.
4.  The blue rod should be well attached to the ends of the stripes, then melt off the red rod.
5.  Add a stripe of red to each of the blue stripes, melting off the red rod after each stripe.
6.  Heat the whole mass and press it into a cylinder on your marver.
7.  Reheat it, grab the end with your tweezers and pull it thinner.  You will two sizes of slices, so pulling some thinner than the rest is ideal.  From 3mm to 5mm will work well.
8.  Let it cool, then use your cutters to snip it into thin slices--larger ones for the fish bodies, smaller ones for the tails.

Part Two:  Make twisted stringer for seagrass.  This is a simple method that looks good:

1.  Make stringers of opaque yellow and opaque green glass.  They should not be too thin (about 1/2 thickness of a rod).
2.  Heat the end of a clear rod, thicken it to about double the thinkness of the rod, and shape it so it has four flat sides (this makes it easier to space the stripes and keeps them from running together).
3.  Lay a green stringer stripe on one side and another on the opposite side.
3.  Repeat  step 3 with the yellow stringer on the remaining sides (I like to add thin stringers of goldstone [aventurine] between the stripes for a subtle sparkle in the finished marble).
4.  Melt the stripes into the clear glass.
5.  Grab the end of the glass with the tweezers, and twist the rod while you pull.  You will want this stringer to be fairly thick--3-4mm (about 1/2 thickness of a rod).
--this will give you "grass blades" that wind around each other in the marble--

Part Three:  Making the marble

You will need:
Two millefiori fish slices--1 big, 1 small (have some spares handy in case you drop one)
Seagrass stringer
Clear stringer
3 or 4  8mm clear rods (2 or 3 with ends tapered for punties later, 1 to start the marble on)

1.  Heat the 8mm clear rod that you have for beginning the marble.
2.   When the end is drippy hot, press it into one of the larger depressions in the mold.  Repeat until you have a slightly curved circle of glass like a shallow umbrella on the end of the rod about 3/4" across .
3.  Take the seagrass stringer and  add a stripe all the way across the middle of the circle, then add more on each side of the first.
4.  Use the clear stringer to fill in any spaces betwen the seagrass stripes, and add some over the middle stripe (this will protect it from being damaged by the punty).
5.  Melt the stringers into the marble and shape the surface in the mold.
6.  Heat one of the punties while keeping the marble warm (but not soft).
7.  When the tip is soft, press it agaist the marble in the center of the circle (you are out of the flame, here), then pull back a little.
9.   Wait a few seconds for the rods to harden, then place your work over your cutting surface and let the end of the original rod rest on the surface.  Hold the punty rod and DON'T LET THE MARBLE TOUCH THE SURFACE.  Pick up the cutters and cut off the original rod as close the the marble as you can (don't worry if there's a bit left).
10.  Put the marble back in the flame and heat the cut face of it until the glass melts.   You may want to press it against the marver to flatten the cut nub of glass.
11.  When the flat surface (well, it's going to ball up a bit, but that's fine) is really hot and soft, pick up the fish body slice with tweezers and place it on the surface.  It may take a couple of trys to get it to stick; the surface must be very hot.  NOTE-- you may want to place the slice so the vertical stripes are aligned with the vertical seagrass, AND place it a little off center to leave room for the tail.
12.  Press the slice into the surface.
13.  Reheat the surface and add the tail slice as close the the body as you can.  I like to make the stripes on the tail horizontal.  Don't worry if the tail and body are not touching at this point.
14.  Heat the slices and press them in.
15.  Use the pick tool to shape the slices.  I drag the head area out to a point, I stretch the top of the body upwards and the bottom downwards for fins, and I drag the middle of the tail so it is pressed into the back of the body.  I may also drag the tips of the tail out.
16.  Melt this work smooth.
17.  The last thing I do to the fish is poke it where I want the eye.  This will make an air bubble for the eye when I cover it with clear glass .
18.  Heat eough clear glass to completely cover the fish with a moderately thin layer (The fish should be toward the "front" of the finished marble rather than in the center.  Keep the marble warm!
19.  Cover the fish with the clear glass and melt off that rod.
20.  Round the marble in a mold that is larger than the marble--AND THEN roll the marble GENTLY in a hole that is slightly SMALLER than the marble.
21.  Heat one of the punties while keeping the marble warm (but not soft).
22.  Attach the punty to the center of the "front" of the marble.  Cut off the  other punty as is step 9.
23.  Reheat the marble and round it in the mold as in step 20.  Repeat until it is as rounded as possible.
24.  Repeat steps 21 and 22, attaching a punty to the "back" of the marble this time.  This is an inportant step!  You want the "front" of the marble to be free of any distortions, so the fish can be clearly seen.
25.  Heat the front of the marble and smooth it in the mold.  Carefully heat it again after the final smoothing to be sure the surface has no flaws.
26.  Keeping the marble evenly warm, pick up the mold and warm a small hole near the edge.  It should be a hole that is small enough that the marble doesn't rest in the bottom of it, but big enough to keep the marble steady with the mold tilted slightly  (I have made a holder out of graphite for this part because I found the mold draws too much heat out of the marble, but maybe a mold with fewer holes [smaller, with less mass] would work better).
27. Set the mold down, place the marble in it (hold the rod vertically!), and cut off the rod.
28.  Quickly put down the rod and pick up the  mold.  I blow once on the marble to remove any glass chips.  Then hold the mold in the flame so that the cut mark on the marble is heated and melts into the marble.  I use the mellon tweezers (the back of one scoop) to gently turn the marble so that the cut melts evenly.
29.  Set the mold down, wait a moment for the marble to harden, pick it up with the mellon tweezers (they need to be warmed [but not red hot], and will already be if you were turning the marble with them), and pop it in the kiln.

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I hereby give permission to individuals to copy these marble making insructions for their personal use only.
Copies may not be made for resale or publication.
The techniques and themes described in these instructions are not copyrighted.
They are common techniques and themes and cannot be copyrighted or patented under US copyright or patent laws.

Any items made using these instructions are the property of the maker to do with as he/she sees fit.

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