Monday, August 1, 2011

First Visit to Bullseye Glass in Portland, OR

Hello friends!

I thought you might like to hear about my visit to Bullseye Glass in Portland! So this is that company that makes all of the really AMAZING odd lot colors and bright glass! So what brought me there(other than I was WAY over due for living here nearly a month and a half before visiting!)? Well I ended up not getting enough $$$ together for the metal working tools I needed so I thought why not spend my birthday moola on some glass?!

OMG! There it is! See the Bullseye logo on their outdoor cloth banners?! 
Wow! Look at ALL the sheet glass! There was more than this photo, but OMG!
Jars of frit! They have EVERY color them make in glass in little  containers of frit from a super whopper bottle, to a smaller size bottle.  The  frits vary  from fine powders to the chunky stuff.
Now here's what I came in for!! The last 2 shelves from the bottom carry special production colors and odd lots! The fancy pants stuff that is very limited in quantity and has some of the most amazing color mixes including rods with GLITTER!
I was a bit surprised that this was all of the rod they had out considering there was so much sheet glass, frit and things of that sort. They are more glass fusing oriented thought so I guess it makes sense ;) I'm just excited they make it in rod form for we lampworkers! :D
View of the show room from where the lampwork rods are back towards the front inside door. You can see that wall on the far back is where the sheet glass is and the closer shelving has the frit on it.
Around the corner from the main show room floor is what looks like a lecture area with wooden bleachers. Here you can see some people at work :)
To the right of where you see the bleachers is the lampworking studio :D Complete with a kick ass vent hood and kilns! You can see the torch by the upside down stool, the kiln where you see the blue box and the large metal thing above is the hood.

I'm not sure why I didn't take a picture of this next part that was a HUGE glass kiln for fusing in the middle part across from the bleachers. It was a BIG PAPPA! 

On the other side of the lampworking area there is a fusing area with kilns side by side for slumping glass. So the fusers studio area ;)
If you are facing the bleachers and you go right around this corner you can see the molds for kiln forming with what shape they make on top in glass samples. Pretty huh?!
On the other side there sits the rows of 2mm stringers in EVERY color they make. I would call these "lampworkers crayons". Doesn't it look like a big crayon box?! So cool!
If you follow this to the back wall hanging are glass charts with glass samples and text explaining temperatures and reactions of glass.
Here is there close-up of how heat and color effect the glass. Notice on the top row the pink sheet glass appears clear before annealing? With each hotter heat cycle it "strikes" or darkens the color of the glass. So if you anneal at a lower heat you get a lighter color, where if you anneal it at a higher temp the color is more saturated. This is also true with reds, oranges and yellows. All of these colors go from a lighter color to their true "struck" color. 
Back when I first started lampworking I knew about striking glass, but didn't realize you can un-strike it as well. So say you get your orange glass to this nice color you like and then you heat it up too hot, you can actually make the orange disappear and go back to that clear looking color. This is especially a pain in the ass with this odd lot color "Orancio Perfecto"(perfect orange). It is such a pain to strike and keep struck. Most of the other colors strike pretty easily especially if you let your bead cool while applying more dot design or whatever.
A Bullseye place setting with glass dishes! So cool! This spot was located up the stairs from the main show room. They also had a skinny hallway with some larger glass art on the walls.
On the main level in the show room area they have different shirts, aprons, hats hoodies and such, but I loved this design. This is Oregon state with Bullseye's logo where Portland is :D 

Oregon has a lot of state pride so you will see this emblem lots on mugs, bumper stickers, shirts etc. So you can see how Bullseye took that idea and made their shirt design ;)
See :) Cute huh?

Another item I thought was genius! At the front counter check out there is a glass cylindrical bottle with a metal lid. Think like what they used to put drinking straws in. Inside are Bullseye logs BAND-AIDS! GENIUS! Being a lampworker we are CONSTANTLY getting cuts and burns from glass! How smart of them to take this into account and have them made! They have them in dispensers all over the factory as well :D
So where is this sweet glass pulling we wanted to see? WELL... it's a secret. No, really, it is. So when we went to tour the part where we saw them make sheet glass and rod(which they weren't making that day) we weren't allowed to take pictures. It's a bummer too cause it was SO cool to watch them work! They  take hot ladles of glass, put them inbetween rollers to make a sheet, grab that sheet and send it onto a conveyer belt to cool down and end where a person checks the color of the glass to make sure it matches the stock standard for it's color.

So what did I buy while I was there?
These, BABY! I guess it doesn't look like much small, but they had LOTS of special production greens, and some pinks. That does lead me to another blog I will be doing where I show you how they all look melted!

So be on the look out for that :) I hope you enjoyed my visit! I can't wait to go back!
xo Genea


T-Rose Leigh said...

It's like a glass blowers Valhalla

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