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A whole lot of fused glass and then some …

A whole lot of fused glass, Part 3

"Treble Clefted" Fused Glass PendantIn part 3 I would like to talk about the actual process and all the steps that are involved in making fused glass jewelry.

I start out with sheets of art glass in different colors and transparencies. Depending on the design I have in mind, I cut the glass, arrange it together and stack it to at least 3 layers high. If my design calls for any metal inclusions, they will be shaped and hammered and then wedged in between the layers of glass.

Now comes the first firing. The piece goes into the kiln at a temperature between 1460 and 1500 °F. It takes many hours until the glass pieces can be removed at room temperature because the slow and controlled cooling of glass throughout certain temperature ranges (called annealing) cannot be hastened. If cooled too rapidly, especially at around the 960 °F mark, the glass could become more brittle and possibly crack.

"Warm Breeze" Fused Glass PendantAfter the initial firing, I inspect the overall shape of the piece. I usually fine tune it by grinding to correct the shape. I use either my grinder or the lapidary wheel. Grinding will turn the glass  “cloudy” and the edges squared and that can be corrected by re-firing the piece. So, off it goes into the kiln again. This time the temperature does not have to be as high since I am only trying to round the now squared edges and turn the glass back to clear, but all the rules for annealing apply with every firing.

After cooling, I drill the hole that will accommodate the sterling silver wire so the piece can be hung from a chain. Drilling leaves the edges of the hole rough and cloudy again. So, into the kiln for a third firing. This last firing is done at the lowest temperature of around 1250 °F because the hole I drilled is very small and I don’t want it to close back up.

"Night Out" Fused Glass PendantOnce the piece is cooled to room temperature, I attach a sterling silver bail by means of sterling silver wire. One last thorough cleaning and taadaaaa!

So what do you think?

Please voice your opinion with a comment or drop me line. I am very interested in what you have to say!

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April 9, 2009 - Posted by | GlassFancy Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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