Fused glass is a form of glass art. With fused glass, the idea is to create objects by melting glass in a kiln. It’s a simple idea that has sparked a number of different techniques. Glass fusing, simply put, is the bonding of separate pieces of glass using the heat of a kiln.
The Basics of Glass Fusing
Fused glass, sometimes called kiln-formed or kiln glass, is a fun, rewarding and accessible art form. People all over the world practice it; and it’s quickly growing in popularity.
This method is different from stained glass in that it has no lead lines. With glass fusing, we can create dimensional pieces without having to cut and assemble smaller pieces of glass. Unlike blown glass, it’s easier for newcomers to learn. There are fewer physical demands to glass fusing, and any space can be converted into a fused glass studio, unlike with a glass blowing studio.
A Variety of Techniques
With glass fusing, there are a variety of techniques to choose from.
- Fused: With the fused technique, we can place several pieces of glass in the kiln at once. Those multiple pieces are then heated until they fuse together, becoming a single object.
- Slumped: With the slumped technique glass is placed on top of a mold. It is then heated until it slumps into the mold, forming the desired shape. Usually, the glass used in a slumped piece already has design elements in it, adding more dimension to the object. This is also called the draping method.
- Cast: The casting technique melts glass allowing it to flow into the desired mold. With casting, there are a number of different variations. When we use the casting technique, the resulting piece is usually thick and dimensional rather than flat.
Tabletop kilns are becoming very popular choices among those who love to dabble in glass fusing and want to do it easily at home. Kilns designed for ceramics can be used, but it is easier to use a specially designed glass-fusing kiln.
Glass and ceramic kilns are different in their temperature ranges and in the placement of the heating element. This can greatly affect the outcome of glass pieces. Because of the demands of firing glass, a computer usually controls glass kilns and offers more control over objects.
To begin glass fusing, there are a number of kiln accessories you should have. You will need a small kiln, glass pieces, molds, powders or enamels, a glass cutter, pliers and safety goggles.
When it comes to the glass you use, old bottles will work. If you purchase a tabletop or a small kiln, it will typically come with some of the basic instructions. There are a number of kits available to help you begin your projects, and many craft stores now offer classes in glass fusing to jumpstart your knowledge.
For the passionate glass artist, be sure to view The Tabletop Furnace Company’s line of glass fusing kilns. Let the creativity flow without an expensive studio membership or bulky equipment; all you need is your heart, your hands and a tabletop kiln.