Fused Glass Artistry

A Plateful of Knowledge

Learning a new craft can be an arduous process with many false starts before success.  Looking at this recent fused glass platter I made

Plate of Knowledge

one would not know the journey I took to get to this point.  Multiple learning ‘opportunities’ went into the creation of this.

The bane of my early fusing existence is now frozen in the center of this platter.  Yes, for months, a flat rectangular blue piece of glass with white steps mocked me.  This was the very first attempt I made to fuse glass in my new kiln.  The intent – tack fuse white rectangles so they held their shape above a vibrant cobalt blue base.   I actually made two pieces and they looked like this after firing:

DSCN0736

Immediate observations – I went to too high a temperature and everything fused into a solid flat piece – no tack fusing.  (Ok, I was learning my kiln’s temperature profile).  Also – you’ll note the edges seem very rough.  This is because I had to basically break the glass off the kiln shelf.  I believed the beginner instruction book that said kiln washing the shelf would be sufficient to prevent glass from sticking.  Ha!  I’ve used shelf paper between my glass and the kiln shelves ever since.  A third observation – the finished glass is very thin.  I should have used 2 layers of 3 mm glass and then added my smaller rectangles.  Glass naturally wants to re-solidify at a certain thickness (~4 mm) and I didn’t provide enough to make the laws of physics happy.

After many months, I decided to revisit my sins and try to make something out of my first fuse attempt.  To make the platter, I used a clear base with an opaque white sheet on top (my 2 layers of 3 mm glass).  I then centered my original blue/white rectangle in the center (3rd layer).  To make a border and add visual interest, I placed 4 strips of cobalt blue near the edges.  My pride with the placement of these blue strips is that they did not cause the outer platter edges to bulge out in any way – another early problem I had when layering smaller components.

Now, every time I look at this platter, I see it as a symbol of what I have learned in these first months glass fusing.  I’m really glad I choose to tackle this demon.

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