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Will freezing temp affect garden art?

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Will freezing temp affect garden art?

Postby cerri78 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:46 am

I made a pet memorial from BE, 6mm x 11cm x 32cm and arch shaped which has made it's way to Poland. It is currently placed in the garden, but I was asked if it would survive temperatures down to -27C/-17F.
Am I right in thinking that it will (assuming I've annealed it properly), as no water can collect in it and expand, but the only possible hazard could be thermal shock, if for example the sun were to heat it too quickly?
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Re: Will freezing temp affect garden art?

Postby cerri78 » Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:30 pm

Does anybody know, or have I just asked a really stupid question?
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Re: Will freezing temp affect garden art?

Postby marykaynitchie » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:18 pm

No, it's a good question, but it's a really hard question, because the answer starts out with "It depends..." I was hoping we would hear more from other members and their experiences before venturing into this subject. I'll have more for you on this soon.

Mary Kay
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Re: Will freezing temp affect garden art?

Postby cerri78 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:43 am

Thank you Mary Kay, looking forward to an interesting answer!
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Re: Will freezing temp affect garden art?

Postby charlie » Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:11 am

correct. i've had a piece of glass slab (20"x9"x1.5") in my front yard for over 10 years in phx. we don't get freezing too much, but a lot of direct sun and heat.

if no water can collect inside, freeze, and expand, there should be no problems. if it's 1/2 stuck in snow, and the other half in warm sunlight, you might have stress problems.
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Re: Will freezing temp affect garden art?

Postby cerri78 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:02 am

Thanks Charlie, as I suspected and as Mary Kay says - it all depends.....!
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Re: Will freezing temp affect garden art?

Postby marykaynitchie » Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:01 pm

Tom Jacobs, Bullseye Studios’ manager for architectural projects faced this challenge when fabricating a large, outdoor installation for Mindy Weisel’s "Redlands" project. Here is a link to an album of photos from the installation.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bullseyes ... 4232695908

When I forwarded your question to him, he replied,
“ …We don’t have a complete answer for what the ‘best practices’ are for this sort of outdoor work. One thing we do have data to back up, and which we already discussed during my BECon talk in 2011, is the idea of symmetrical construction: placing the “design layers” of glass between solid layers of clear glass of equal thickness. However, our testing was limited to panels whose thickness was only 1/2” thick. How does that principle scale to outdoor pieces that are 2”, 3”, 4" thick? We don’t know.”


Would love to hear of other people's outdoor projects, both any that have survived well, and any that had any failure, and related weather conditions.

Mary Kay
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Re: Will freezing temp affect garden art?

Postby marykaynitchie » Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:01 am

I am pleased to share an email and photos that I received from artist Michael Rogers, who has a number of glass pieces installed outdoors.

Nine years ago I had decided I wanted to make works of corten-steel and cast Bullseye glass. The work I had made in cast glass went from about 6 inches thick to 3 inches thick tapering to a 1/4 inch thick edge. Basically the cast glass piece is a 24 inch disc with a 6 inch sphere that intersects the disc at the bottom where it is attached to the corten steel structure like a gemstone is attached to the bezel of a ring. I had made three castings, two in clear Bullseye and one in Neo-Lavender Shift Bullseye with corten steel that sold to a collector in Boston. I still have the Clear Bullseye and corten steel piece in my garden after nine years and one can imagine the temperature changes that the glass has gone through in the Rochester, New York area.

Temperatures here in the Northeast vary from 100 degrees F in summer to minus 9 degrees F in winter in open space with no sun or wind shelter. Often temperatures are drastic in difference in the period of a single day. I had made this experiment years ago to address for myself the question raised in the Forum as to whether Bullseye glass could work well or not in harsh climates. I can say that it does withstand harsh climates perfectly. I think one needs to consider the design though.

One might ask themselves a question or two. Does the glass have recesses or negative spaces where water can collect? If so then you can predict that the water will freeze in those areas. Water when freezing is expanding and contracting and could cause undue stress on the glass. My next experiment would be to make a water basin where water could collect an freeze and thaw. I suspect it would work fine if the transition from thick to thin areas of the glass is gradual.

I have heard no complaint from the landscape architect in Boston who had bought my work for his coastal retreat, the work in my yard still stands up to the elements as does the orphan clear glass casting set on a stone wall outside my studio, still waiting for a corten structure to elevate it.


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Michael, thank you so much for taking the time to share your advice and experience!

Mary Kay
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