Fused Glass....what is it?
Fused Glass is.... joining together a number of pieces of glass at high temperatures in a kiln. Fusing glass is a highly skilled craft which gives you endless possibilities to create art with depth of colour, texture and fluidity. The final appearance of the piece is dependent on the temperature the kiln reaches and the length of time the pieces of glass soaks at the different temperatures.
All actions have consequences
Glass is usually slowly heated in a kiln to temperature ranges from 590 C to 850 C. There are 3 main distinctions for temperature application and resulting effects on glass. Firing glass in lower ranges from 590 C – 680 C is called slumping or draping this is where the sheet of glass is melted so it takes on the shape of a mould and is used for making vessels such as bowls. If you increase the heat to 680 C - 730 C in the kiln the glass will soften and melt further but will still keep some texture this is called tack fusing. The final stage , full fuse, where the texture in the glass melts into one smooth solid piece, occurs in the kiln between 730 C and 850 C.
Sometimes even glass can have too much stress!
One of the most critical stages of the process of fusing glass is the rate a piece of fused glass is cooled. "All good things come to those who wait" the same is true when it comes to fused glass. If enough time is not allocated to cooling the glass slowly or annealing the glass at the correct temperature for an adequate period of time, glass will get stressed.....just like a human and will shatter when removed from the kiln.
Its kind of ironic that Fused Glass has become my passion, patience is not a virtue I possess.....some days Libby (my dog apprentice) has to practically sit on me for hours to keep me from opening the kiln.....well I'm sure that's what her beautiful big brown eyes are telling me.