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Photographing Glass Art

The direction of light can dramatically alter a photo.


Photographing Glass Art

Recent Q&As: Venting silver clay firings; an electrical shutoff box near the kiln

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Sometimes you can improve photos of your artwork just by moving the light. After photographing the glass from the front, try moving the light behind the glass.

Judy Killian of Denali, Alaska said, “I take many photos of my glass work in different locations and lighting. Then I delete all but the best. No picture has ever shown the glory of the real thing.”

Front lighting reveals surface detail such as overlapping glass layers and surface color. Back lighting can bring out saturated color in transparent and translucent glass. The best result is often a combination of front and back lighting.

Soften the back light with a large piece of white translucent plastic placed behind the glass art. Shine the light through the plastic. The brand of plastic I use here at Paragon is Translum, which comes in 54” x 18” rolls. The plastic is thin enough to cut with scissors.

Judy Killian furnished the pictures shown above. The left one is lit with front light; the center is lit with a combination of front and back light; and the right picture is lit with back light. You can see all three separate pictures on Paragon’s Facebook page:

Also shown on the Facebook page is a glass landscape that I shot on top of a curved sheet of white Plexiglas. I used a combination of front and back lighting.



Q. I know from firing my big ceramics kiln that it is necessary to keep the vent holes open for oxidation and the life of the elements. What of the single vent plug in the Paragon SC-2 jewelry kiln?

A. Silver clay produces almost no fumes, so it is okay to leave the plug in the vent hole. However, remove the plug when firing cork clay and other fillers that burn out during the firing. Also have good room ventilation. Air enters the kiln through the edges of the door, so even if you fire the kiln with the vent plugged, oxygen will still enter the kiln.

Q. Is an electrical shutoff box necessary for a kiln with plug if I'm only planning on using the kiln maybe once or twice a month? Would it be all right to use an existing circuit?

A. Though we recommend a shutoff box near the larger kilns, it is not essential. It is there for your convenience. (Your local codes may require it, though.)

We do recommend a dedicated circuit, which is a circuit that has only one outlet. That prevents other appliances from operating at the same time as the kiln. The most important factor, though, is the circuit wire size. It must be heavy enough to handle the kiln's amperage.



"The greatest communication skill is paying value to others." –Denis Waitley, author of “Seeds of Greatness”



Our newest kilns are the CS-14S and CS-14D. They are 14” square x 6 1/2” deep. The firing chambers tilt back so glass can be assembled directly on the kiln shelf.

The CS-14D (D = Double Opening) opens by either lifting the lid or by lifting the firing chamber. The CS-14S (S = Single Opening) opens only by lifting the firing chamber.


I always enjoy watching a new kiln design take form. Extra screw holes appear in the unpainted prototype as handles and latches are moved. The smallest features are discussed. “Will those springs lighten the kiln body enough?” “Should we use a larger lid handle?” “What do you think of moving that latch to the side?”

The result of all that thinking and testing is glistening dream kilns coming down the assembly line, destined for studios all over the world.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd., Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 / / /

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2010, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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