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Individual hand-made stained and fused glass

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Methods - Glass Fusing

Methods - Copper Foiling and Lead   Methods - Glass Fusing

History of fused glass

The Egyptians and Romans were using melted glass for artistic reasons as far back as 200BC. Fusing became much less popular as glass blowing techniques became more fashionable. It wasn’t until the beginning of the twentieth century in America that fused or warm glass became popular again.

Working with fused glass.

The process of fusing glass is very time consuming, with one firing possibly taking eight to ten hours. It is also very exciting and results are not always as predicted – experimentation is very much part of the process.

I work mainly with Bullseye and Uroboros glass. The glass is cut and laid in two layers, with any inclusions between those layers. I like to use metal foils, enamels, wire and dichroic * glass. The glass must be washed and carefully handled to leave no finger prints. It is important to use compatible glass that expands and contracts at the same rate to prevent cracking.

The fusing process takes place when the glass is heated in the kiln. The glass softens and then becomes fluid. This is when fusing takes place. The firing temperatures used are important to the desired end result – here, again there is an element of trial and error (or alchemy!) making test samples. There are plenty of opportunities for happy accidents at this stage. I keep notes of all firings so as to replicate the happy accidents.

To make bowls and other three dimensional shapes a second firing is necessary. The second firing is called slumping or draping, depending whether the glass is forming into or over a mould. This firing is done in slow stages at a lower temperature until the flat piece takes the form of the mould.

* Dichroic glass is a high tech spin off of the space industry. It has more than one colour, especially when viewed from different angles or from transmitted or reflected light. Thin layers of metallic oxides such as titanium, silicon and magnesium are deposited at a high temperature onto the glass surface.