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how it works
Have you been wondering what Glass Fusing is?
Learn all about this glass art technique & more down below.
about glass fusing
Glass fusing is one of the more diverse glass art forms.
This of course is our opinion – we are definitely biased towards Glass Fusing!
the basics of glass fusing
Glass Fusing is one of the 4 major disciplines in Glass Art. Because Glass Fusing can produce new glass patterns and textures, this technique is also used by Glass Blowers and Stained Glass artists.
Fused glass projects usually start with large sheets of various colored glass. The artist will cut the glass into the shapes of each color that they need for the project. Then, they add smaller amounts of glass (cut glass, Stringers, Noodles, Frit, or even powdered glass) to get the basic design complete. When the design is finished, the cut glass gets placed in the kiln that is heated to 1500 Fahrenheit (815 C).
This glass is then heated up until it melts together, to form a single piece of glass. The glass is cooled down to room temperature for inspection.
heating, melting, and gravity
In the next phase, the artist makes any adjustments needed to the art (grinding, cutting, adding glass, etc.) to get the final design and pattern. This is then placed into the kiln and re-heated to melt the glass into a single piece. This part of the process may be repeated several times.
The final step is to shape the glass. The glass is heated up to the point where it is soft, but not liquid. Then, the glass can be manipulated into the desired shape. This manipulation usually involves the use of gravity.
Gravity will pull the glass down over a mold and the glass will take its shape. The glass can also be manipulated by hand, where the artist reaches into the hot kiln and manually bends the glass. This last method is very taxing and difficult, because the glass will want to sag once the artist is done.
glass fusing techniques
There are many techniques used in Glass Fusing.
Below we explain four of our favorite styles.
full fused glass art
This is where we create the design that we want by heating the glass to the point that all pieces melt together into one flat piece of glass.
Fully fused glass art is smooth to the touch and may show some of the movement of the glass from when it was in a liquid state.
Full fusing projects are usually what you see in functional Fused Glass Art.
contour fused glass art
Unlike fusing all of the glass together, we want the piece to show the texture of the glass that was used.
In these instances the glass is heated to the point that it gets “sticky” and softens a little, but the glass will not melt down to a single piece.
When the piece cools off, you still have all of the glass components stuck together so the art is one piece, but the texture of the different glass is visible.
mosaic fused glass art
Like a mosaic, we put small cut pieces of glass together to create the desired patterns, picture or design.
Since the pieces will eventually need to be one piece of glass, mosaic glass art is usually completed on top of a second piece of glass.
Mosaic artists tend to favor the more abstract nature of art.
There are many more glass fusing techniques such as Freeze-and-fuse, Powder wafers,
vitrograph and many more.
Please feel free to come to the shop and talk to us about glass and how we produce our art.
flow bars, polt melts & screen melts
With this technique, we let the glass flow!
First, we cut the desired amount of glass in the color of choice and arrange the glass in the pattern that we want the glass to flow.
We place the glass above a mold suspended over steel rods (Flow Bars), Pots with holes in the bottom (Pot Melts), or Stainless steel screens (Mesh). Now, we can heat the glass in the kiln until it is in a liquid state. The glass will melt through the steel or pot and “drop” onto the mold.
Once the glass is cooled to room temperature, we have a single piece of glass that contains the movement of this liquid glass.
other types of glass art
Glass working has 3 other main disciplines: Glass Blowing, Flameworking, and Stained Glass.
To understand Glass Fusing, you need to understand the differences between the other disciplines.
Glass Blowing is what most people are familiar with. There is a large kiln that houses the glass stock that the Glass Blower pulls their starting glass “blob” from, using the Glass Blowing rods.
The glass must be maintained above 1300 degrees Fahrenheit (700 Celsius) the entire time it is being worked on. That requires the artist to constantly rotate the glass because the glass is soft and gravity makes the glass droop/sag towards the ground. As a result, Glass blowing must always be completed in a single session.
Blown glass usually comes in the form of a circle due to the constant turning of the glass to keep it from falling on the ground. This means that what most artists make are vases, glasses, plates, etc.
There are techniques to make more intricate shapes, but that starts to involve combining the glass blowing discipline with the flameworking and the fusing disciplines.
Flameworking is working with an open flame at around 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (815 Celsius). The flame workers use a torch that is connected to several types of gas to produce a small hot flame that looks a little like a blow torch.
The Flamework artists then uses colored glass rods and heats them up until the glass is soft and sticky. The artist can use several techniques to combine the different colors of glass together and shape the glass into a single project.
Flamework artists typically make beads for jewelry, small figurines, but they can combine the skills of glass blowing to create some unique art.
Would you like to know more about anything related to Glass Art?
Don’t hesitate and come see us in the shop. We are always happy to talk to you!
Additionally, we host events each month where you can learn about our techniques.
Come to our Events
from past events
Every 3rd Friday of the month, Glass Artists give presentations about how they create their Art.
These presentations are very interesting, and accompanied by photos, videos and real examples.
Did you miss a presentation? No fear! Down below we have made
all presentations available for you to read back on.
This page is updated after every Live Event.
all items are made by artists.
all products are designed and made in Bonaire.