My entry for the 2012 Austin Cake Show was a gummy stained glass piece based on J.W.Waterhouse’s painting of the Lady of Shalott. It was an experimental piece which won great acclaim but, alas, no actual prizes at the show.
Part of the experiment was to determine how long the medium would last, so I’ve had it hung on my wall most of the time since the show back in February. It’s come down to attend a few events along the way, including a long drive up to Fort Worth in significant heat, so it has been exposed to severe temperatures and a lot of touching hands.
Since mid-summer, it’s been noticeably cracking in a few places instead of flexing as easily as it once did. Then a few weeks ago the plexiglass came loose from the backboard and fell, causing some damage.
Tonight as I went to move it, more pieces flaked off and I could hear an awful lot of cracking.
Thus at this point I’d say it’s no longer flexible. I’m calling this the absolute end-point of its life for experimental purposes. Therefore, if you are making anything using this medium, expect its flexibility to diminish substantially after about five months, and be rendered too delicate to flex at all after seven months. This holds true for my other sample pieces, which recently became too brittle to flex as well and are starting to show cracks. Also keep in mind that depending on relative humidity fluctuations in your environment, the gummy will begin to fog over and lose its clarity after several weeks unless kept away from dust, fingers, and kept sealed in plastic.
Here are some photos of the cracks. You can see that not only have chunks come out, but there are other visible cracks in both the coloured gummy and the opaque black lines: