I call them PONGS. Why? Because of “pogs” which, due to a generational lapse, I thought were called “Pongs”...
And! I’ve done many over the years and they are all done differently. I will exhaust myself if I try to explain all the different ways I have done them. The simplest way is to cut a ton of glass, sandblast radial patterns onto them, mix and match and see what sort of magic you conjure up.
But here’s a basic way in detail.
First of all, they’re made in layers—usually two. Two layers of glass=four working surfaces. My experience is that three manipulated surfaces are optimal. After that information starts to get lost in darkness or murk.
Start by cutting out a whole ton of shapes, circles; say...in flash glass (a combination of r/c (red/clear) and bl/cl (blue/clear) will net you the following colors when layered and combined with yellow silver stain and black paint: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purplish, sometimes almost black, “white”--meaning clear)
Decide how may points the pong will have. (Obviously, actual snowflakes have six. D’OH! But this is your world and if you want 7 pointed snow; well, it’s not a jailable offense. But it works better to pair 7 points with 7 points, five with five etc. Of course, you can also do halvsies: a five pointed star will pair nicely with a ten pointed one...it all comes down to the mathematical rhythms of the universe and if you expect me to understand that, you've come to the wrong blog!
After cutting your shapes, you need a stencil. I have made stencils for pongs mostly handcut out of clear frosted contact paper and also photo stencils.
I have noticed some general trends for good results: one layer should have more solid color and one should be really lacy. The lacy ones I tend to do with Rayzist photo mask.
To generate the patterns I use Photoshop.
1. Draw a shape that is sort of petal like. Draw ANYthing... (preferably on its own layer.) The shape can be as simple as a solid petal shape or you can get complex but remember if you are hand cutting it can get complicated fast. If it’s for a photo resist, there are some limitations on how detailed and fine it can be but you really have to experiment to discern this.
2. Duplicate the shape and rotate it. (It’s 60 degrees for a six-pointed pong, 72 for a five pointed one. For any other number: its 360 ÷ that number= the number of degrees of rotation. See? I finally learned some math...it only took 48 years.) Place the second petal radiating out from the center...
3. Keep duplicating and rotating and moving your shapes until you’ve made a “snowflake”.
For the pongs cut by hand out of contact paper you can trace the Photoshop images or just make the image by hand. Making photo stencils is another demo but they must be black and white only and nice and crispy line art. Then you can print a negative on acetate using your printer’s “best photo” setting.
Tip: make sure that your pongs are centered. If not, they will look wonky when you layer them.
Once the stencil is applied, then sandblast. I sandblast in two stages. Once to blast off all the color around the pattern and then I remove the resist and lightly blast the color. This is because I am preparing it for further manipulation.
Regarding “further manipulation”—I go into it with a flex shaft engrave to add more detail. I also use the diamond files as per the demo below. I also paint in he black parts. There are no rules or planning...I just diddle around...experiment and see where it goes.
The main thing is to make a bunch of material and then to mate the layers later. No preplanning! It’s way more fun to be surprised.
Check out the images....
...and feel free to ask questions!
Picutres--top to bottom:
1. These are various images made in Photoshop. The lacier ones I have done both by drawing directly in Photoshop or scanning a drawing.
2.This shows the stages of making the radial pattern plus several variations on the stencil.
3. This image shows, on top: five pongs I gave as gifts. On the bottom are the separated layers. The yellow and the pink are cold paint (TRANSPARENT oil paint in this case.) Use silverstain if its going to get sunlight. And if you need pink, make a third layer out of gp/cl (goldpink/clear) flash.
4 and 5. These images are pongs from the window I made for the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. On average, my pongs range from ½” to about 5”. In this case they went from ½” to 18”. The ones depicted here are all about 8”.
6. MAD window “Seeing Is Believing” 2008