Andrea Raeburn

When I was thinking about making this tile; earth, air, fire, I kept thinking about the garden in Spring and Summer.  I love to sit and watch all the life in the garden, the bumblebees, the dragonflies and butterflies dancing in the air. So I thought of a tile with butterflies dancing in the air with the sun reflecting off them.  

The tile posed a lot of challenges, one of the first was the butterfly. It had it to be thin and strong and have undercuts. So we were on a mold-making journey.  Many were made until we came up with the one that we used.  Then the glass had to be deep enough to cover the butterflies, which made it about 1 inch thick. 

The work process was full of starts and stops.  There were 3 panels.  The first 2 cracked.  There were problems with me opening up the kiln too soon, my annealing process was a little light and then I was trying to dig the plaster out of the undercuts with way too much pressure.  Dental tools were finally used to dig the plaster out.  Once I got all that organized, a good schedule, doubled my annealing time, slowed the decline down tremendously, it worked.   

To get the light dancing off the butterfly wings, I put irid face down so that when the plaster mold came out, there would be the sparkle of irid.  (Which, doesn’t really show up in the picture but it really is there.)  All of the glass was weighed, so that it worked out to be an inch thick.   

It was all thanks to the help from everyone on the board that I finally got the right firing schedule.  All the support that I got when I just wanted to cry was wonderful. Thank you!! 

150 – 500 30 min
200 – 1250 1 hr
300 – 1500 1 hr
9999 – 960 6 hr
27 – 800
49 – 700
60 – 600
80 – 300 


  1. Andrea,

    I can’t decide whether I like the blue one or the clear one better. Heck, I like ’em both! Good job with the air element – it is a hard one.


  2. The butterflies are so delicate, you did a wonderful job on them. I can see a little irid in the clear one, I would love to see it in person to get the full effect.

  3. I love butterflies and yours are so perfect! They’re very delicate and detailed…very nicely done! And I love the way the bubbles add to the “floating” they’re doing!

  4. And they have shadows!
    What a tremendous amount of patience and persistence
    you have.

  5. Andrea
    they are lovely

  6. I am experimenting with this same technique and have had similar experiences! I think I’m cooling my glass down way to quick and also holding it at a high temp way to long instead of the slow annealing. Can you please clarify your firing schedule for me?

    Great job and beautiful work!
    Thanks so much

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