Friday, December 01, 2006

Fused Glass

Earlier this week I went to the Art Glass Guild of Utah’s annual show at Red Butte Gardens. The guild is mostly about fused glass or as they say, kiln formed glass, but it appears that they have begun to embrace lampworkers as well, as a few members do lampworking in addition to fusing, and at least one appears to primarily be a lampworker. One requirement of making glass beads is that they have to be annealed, so a kiln is a necessary piece of equipment for this hobby. The kiln is also a great gateway drug to a new discipline of glass art – fusing. So now I dabble in fusing too. I say dabble as I’m certainly still a beginner, and like all good hobbies there is definitely a learning curve, and a zillion different techniques to try. I’m still at the stage where I’m doing simple things, like the tile in the picture, which I am planning to slump into a sushi style mold.

After playing around with fusing this year I have a greatly heightened appreciation for what goes into the amazing work I saw at the show. This piece was one of my favorites. Not a favorite because I'm into the tribal shield theme, but because I was so awestruck by the workmanship. I’d love to know home many hours went in to it, cutting glass, stacking it and fusing to create pattern bars, assembling all the pattern bars and glass and frits to do the flat fusing, cold working to perfect the final shape, then successfully slumping the glass over what must be a homemade mold. Fusing a magnificent piece is a ton of work, and even my simple little projects are time consuming… cutting , cleaning, and gluing the glass pieces together. Fusing them in the kiln. Grinding the edges to make them all even, carefully cleaning those edges so they don’t look scummy (I hope) then fusing again to fire polish the edges. Slumping the tile into the mold will be yet another fusing step in the kiln.

There is no instant gratification with fusing. I run my kiln at night. Depending on what time I start, the kiln may or may not be cool enough for my to peek at the results in morning. And my kiln is small, I wonder how long a big kiln takes to cool off?!! Somedays it is so hard to keep from peeking before going to work. Then sitting at work all day wondering if I’ll be pleasantly surprised when I do get to open the kiln. Will there be bubbles, will the shape and colors be what I want? Playing with fusing has definitely been a lesson in patience


Anonymous said...

No limits put on you, chica! That tile is way cool and I know it will look wonderful after it's slumped. Make sure you post a pic of the finished piece.

Anonymous said...

Linda, my chica!!! The mail just arrived and I got the most beautiful piece of glass. It is such a beautiful bead that DH suggested I hang it on the tree. He's a smart boy, sometimes. I will pridefully show it to my dinner club tonight and tell them all about my very talented sister out in Utah.
Thank you sooooo much. I'm not sure you can understand how much your thoughtfulness has touched me. sniff, sniff