Trying Something New

What do you do when your best friend asks you to go with her to a slumping class!?

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “You like wine, and collect wine corks and wine bottles. You’d really like this.”

I must’ve looked at her like she’d lost her mind. Then she smiled and showed me what she’d made at the slumping class she’d gone to a few nights before. And it was definitely something I wanted to try. 

Even though I’d never heard of the term or never even thought about such a project. Even though my daughter had given me a slumped wine bottle for Mother’s Day last year. 

I just hadn’t known what it was called then. And neither did my daughter or my best friend.  

But then she found a shop to display and sell her craft items and their main business product involved slumping. She found out later they’d been doing it for ten years.

Has anyone looked up slumping yet to see what it is, or did you just scroll down quickly to find out?

Slumping is a technique of heating glass in a kiln, to about 1300-1500 degrees, in this case mostly wine bottles and decorative liquor bottles, letting them cool, then decorating them to use as cheese boards, jewelry holders, candle holders, etc., or displaying as a piece of art, either on a stand or hanging on the wall.

I’d seen the finished products before at craft shows and gift shops, but had no idea what the process was called. But being a craft minded person, I was always ready to try something new, so I said why not?

So that’s how my friends Karen and Mary Jo ended up in a slumping class a week ago. I had no idea what to expect, but it’s always fun to learn something new.

I was skeptical at first, but our instructor Tina made it so much fun, and explained everything to us in detail in a really fun way before we got started. 

There were probably a hundred or so already slumped bottles for us to choose from to use for our creations. We each chose something different of course. Not that we knew what we were doing, but Tina assured us we could do it

The idea was to take either decorative papers or fabric and mod podge them on the back of the slumped bottle. The paper or fabric shows through the glass to make a really great piece of art. 

The tricky part was actually choosing the paper or fabric we wanted to use with our bottles. After all, there were probably over 500 pieces of paper and fabric to choose from. A bit overwhelming, I must say. Plus since we were mostly making cheese boards, we also had to select a small cheese knife to go in the neck of the bottle as part of the finishing touch.   

Of course you know I had to choose a flamingo knife; what other theme would I come up with?

Karen decided on sunflowers, her favorite flower. Mary Jo decided on a mermaid theme to go with the fish bottle she’d selected. Let’s just say actually designing the background, selecting the materials, then cutting the various papers or fabric to the correct size, and positioning them just right  took the majority of the time. The cuts had to be fairly precise, and involved a lot of trial and error before we were ready to actually “glue” them on with the mod podge.

One little trick we learned was the addition of paper on the back as well, printed side out, of course, to add an extra bit of interest. Or in my case, to hide the printed price on the back of the paper, using what else but a few more flamingos.

Tina’s technique involves 3 separate applications of thin layers of mod podge smeared quickly over the paper or fabric with a sponge brush. After each application the bottle was placed on a wire rack she called a grill, which has heater under it to more quickly dry the piece to a tacky feel before the other layers are done, one at a time. 

Once the “grilling” was complete, little round rubber feet were placed on the bottom so the finished piece can be used as what it was intended for, without scratching the table or countertop.

The last step was decorating the neck of the bottle. And there were at least three drawers of beads, buttons, wire and twine to select from. A crafters’ heaven! I chose to use silver solder to do a wire wrap around the top of my bottle with pink and green bead accents. The others used a combination of twine and beads.

So here are our finished products. I think we did a good job! And yes, I may try it again.

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