BEHIND THE SCENES - Glass Fusing
This is a follow up blog post to my interview with Christopher Unger. If you miss the interview, you can find it here. During the interview we mentioned glass fusing and I want to share with you what I know. Like I said in the interview, it isn't a lot!
First, I asked Christopher to differentiate between the types of processing glass. Here is his explanation:
My mother is a very creative person and she loves glass. She took glassblowing in college and in the past few years has discovered stained glass and fusing. She has a fantastic studio and when I was visiting her in October, she taught me how to make magnets with fused glass. The process is very simple and addicting. Cut the glass in pieces and fit them together. That's it! Not really, but kind of. There are quite a few tricks that make it easier and more predictable. To me, glass is completely foreign so I had no clue whether or not my creations would turn out.
Left: Tools and glass at my workspace. Right: My first three finished magnets, ready to be transferred to the kiln.
In the pictures above you have the before on the left: everything sitting in the kiln ready to be fired, and on the left, and the after on the right: finished magnets sitting happily on my fridge.
Here is the basic process. First arrange your glass in the desired designs. I learned that you can use drops of hairspray to hold the glass in place (it makes transferring it to the kiln much easier!). Another tip, glass likes to be at least 2 pieces thick. Next, transfer it to the kiln. My mum set up the kiln, but I recall her placing a paper underneath. She also took care of the settings on how hot to get the kiln and how long to run it. The kiln heated up really quickly, then once it reached the peak temperature it held for a certain amount of minutes, then gradually dropped a certain number of degrees every hour until it was cool enough to open and handle. The cooling process is what took the longest. It is the annealing that Christopher talked about. After removing the glass from the kiln, I took them home and glued magnets to the back then stuck them to my fridge.
I had so much fun and I can't wait to go back and play with the glass some more. If this sounds like something you want to try, I recommend searching for a local glass studio that offers classes.