Intro To Fused Glass

Now that I’m off the road, I’ve been itching to try out some new arts and crafts. And it just so happened that I’d purchased a Groupon for an Intro to Fusing class from Aquila Glass School last year, for learning to make fused glass.

The problem I had was by the time I realized my Groupon was expiring, all the classes were full. I was bummed. So I chalked it up to yet another expired Groupon, and let it go.

Until a couple weeks ago.

I haven’t posted much of anything on my blog about no longer being over the road, I’ve just been busy and non motivated. But, last November I came off the road and into a local position. And a couple weeks ago, that local position actually took me right past Aquila Glass School. I noticed it on my way out, so I thought I’d go by and see if I could use my expired Groupon for something else.

I spoke with Don while I was in there, and he explained to me that they weren’t able to fit all the Groupon folks in before the deal expired, so they extended the Groupon until the end of February. Then, we look at the calendar, and signed me up for my fused glass class.

I was really excited. It was about all I could talk about for the week before my class. I think I drove Pet crazy talking about it over and over, but making fused glass sounded like a lot of fun, and I was so thrilled my Groupon didn’t go to waste.

The class was great. I wish I hadn’t needed to get back to work, I could have stayed there longer and played with the glass. Scott was really patient and helpful, and it was just great.

I thought I’d hold off on posting the pictures from class, because I wanted the after pictures as well. Since the glass has to be fused, and in some cases slumped once it’s fused and cooled, it took about a week to get my pieces back. So now I have the pieces back and I can post pictures.

The Intro To Fusing class has you make 6 pieces: 2 fused glass pendants/magnets that are 1″ x 1″ and 1″ x 2″, 2 tack fused glass pendants/magnets, 1″ x 1″ and 1″ x 2″, a fused glass bowl that’s 4″ x 4″, and a tray that’s 5″ by 8″. The bottom layer of glass for everything is clear, so despite the odd colours you might see, all of these have a clear bottom and colours on top. I apologize for the crap photographs, but I used my Samsung Droid Charge, and it’s a decent phone, but not a good camera.

Fused Glass Pendants

Fused glass sounds exactly like it is: glass that’s been heated until it fuses together completely. The result is a smooth piece of glass.
Before:

Fused Glass Pendants Before Going Into The Kiln

After

fused glass

Tack Fused Pendants

Tack fusing is different than normal fusing. With tack fusing, the glass is heated until it’s sticky, but not so high as to let it completely fused. So, the pieces get smoother edges, but retain some of their shape.

Before

Tack Fused Glass Pendants Before Going Into The Kiln

After

Tack Fused Glass Pendants After Coming Out Of The Kiln

4″ x 4″ Bowl

This one was really neat. The back is a 4″ piece of clear glass, and the top was a smaller (3″ I think) piece of opaque blue glass. We used a hammer to smash the blue, and then laid the pieces out to our liking. I put mine out to the edges, but I didn’t fill in teh space between the blue pieces with anything, not even clear, so the edges of my bowl dip in further than some do.

Before

4" x 4" Bowl Before Firing

After

4" x 4" Bowl After Firing and Slumping

Large Tray

The large tray was my favorite thing to make, but it’s my least favorite once it was fired and slumped. We were given a 5″ by 8″ sheet of clear glass, and we could make what we wanted on it. Aquila trots out their scrap glass for the classes, so we had cookie sheets full of glass of all kinds of colours. And, they have bins of scrap glass as well, sop if you were looking for a larger piece, or a specific colour, you could dig through them.

I had trouble settling on what to make. I wanted something interesting, but I didn’t want it to be too thick or thin. If you don’t make it so it’s pretty much 2 layers of glass thick, you get thick and thin spots in your fused glass, depending on where you are. So I wanted a nice smooth tray. I ended up going with the block design, which I liked, but I think I’d do differently if I was making another one. I didn’t really know how to cut (still don’t) and so I didn’t make good corners, and when everything fused together, the squares went funny. I still like it, and I’m going to use to to hold stuff here on my desk. I just think I’d do it differently if I did it over.

Before

Tray Before Firing and Slumping

After

Tray after Firing and Slumping
Of all the pieces I made, I think the small green and black fused glass pendant was my favorite. I didn’t really set out to make it that way, because I don’t really like green, but in the end, I like it best. I just wish I’d noticed at Aquila Glass School that one of the pieces I thought was black was actually dark purple. Here’s a better look at it.

Green And Black After Firing

I highly recommend Aquila Glass School if you’re in the Portland, OR area and you want to play with glass. They have other classes too, beadmaking, borosilicate glass, and even how to make molds. It’s worth the time, and the folks there are really nice.

3 thoughts on “Intro To Fused Glass

  1. Pingback: Fused Glass 2: Squares and Rectangles: Smadronia's Adventures

  2. Wow, the pieces you made look amazing. I especially love the bowl you made. I would love to try fused glass making, or even glassblowing. Now I just have to find a place in NJ, or the Tri-state area!

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