Everything is made of molecules. Everything.

When I bought my house, I decided that something needed to be done to the transom (that's the little window over top of the front door). Plaid® made a product called Gallery Glass, that would mimic stained glass. I bought the "leaded" circles, and a few colors of the "paint" and went to town.

The final result looked (and still looks) like this:

– The transom at the top of my front door. Simulated stained glass, courtesy of Plaid® –

A few years later, at Clayathon, back in the old days when we were still crammed into the Days Inn, I had an idea – why not translate the tangential circles of the transom idea into a bowl? I rolled out a few sheets, pulled out a bowl form, and gave it a whirl.

To my surprise, it worked really well. In the transom, I filled the interstices with a color. In the bowls, I leave them as open space. I do coat the outside with liquid clay to ensure that the points of tangency remain connected. But other than that, it really is just a matter of laying the circles onto the form in a visually pleasing arrangement.

There are a couple of components to that "visually pleasing" bit. Four or five colors, in a complementary palette, are selected. At least one of those will be a metallic clay, so that there's textural interest (without real texture, thanks to the mica shift technique.) And a least one of those colors will be translucent clay, which allows light to shine through. The translucent is usually tinted with colored clay, alcohol inks, or embossing powder. All the colors are rolled out, and circles are cut out in a variety of sizes.

Molecular Before...

– The middle bits are mica shifted, and the bottom right bits are translucent colored with alcohol ink –

Then, those discs are placed onto a form, nudged together at the tangent points, and the entire exterior is painted with a thin layer of liquid clay.

Molecular During...

– Prototype Molecular Ornament (L) & Small Molecular Bowl (R), both in Progress

Bake as usual. While it is still warm, I very carefully (very, very carefully – it's fairly delicate at this point, and the bowl form is hot!), very gently dislodge it from the bowl form. And then, put it back on the form to cool so it maintains that shape.

Molecular After...

– Large 4" Molecular Bowl in Olive, Yellow, Silver & Black

More recently, I've been exploring other applications of this technique. Last year, I tried ornaments, putting the disks onto existing glass form. In some of them, even more open space has been left, just because negative space can be interesting, too.

Molecular & Beyond...

– Oblate Spheroid Molecular Ornament (L) & Heart Shape Molecular Ornament (R) –

Next up... Molecular Jewelry?

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Hand-crafted jewelry by Terri Powell.

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