Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Glass Fusing 1

I am taking a course in Glass Fusing and Slumping, at Blue Moon Glassworks on Wednesday nights. We get to make several pieces of our own design in kiln-fired glass.

Here's the first week's work. We took some heat resistant fibreboard and cut shapes into it, to make a kiln carving. The idea is that you let the glass sink into and over your design. Here's the flower I drew, with the pieces cut out and ready to accept glass. My neighbour Dee is also attending the class, and you can see her fish design behind there.

Two pieces of glass go on top of the fibreboard. One is clear and the other is whichever colour you choose. Some kinds of glass - strikers - will dramatically change colour when fired, from almost clear to bright orange or red. Both pieces must be cleaned thoroughly before being placed into position. You can adjust the amount of bubbles that appear in the finished piece by putting the glass together with smooth sides or rough sides facing inwards to each other. Rough sides give more bubbles.

* * * intermission * * *
And this is where we wait for a week between classes... meanwhile the staff in the shop have fired our pieces in the kiln, and when we returned for this week's class, we were presented with this:

Once the fibreboard is removed (with the help of some water, since it disintegrates after being heated), you end up with the finished article.

And held up to the light, you can see the true colour of the glass, and the size of it using my hand for scale.
The glass picks up a lot of detail from the board. One side of the board is quite flat, and the other is more textured. The glass will show the difference in surfaces, as well as any other marks you put in. I made some lines along the petals which are visible here. I also chose the rougher surfaces for more bubbles, so you can see there are indeed some bubbles here.

This week we made square plates, but once again we have to wait for them to be fired before we see how they turn out. Look out for next week's instalment for the next set of before and after pictures!

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