Here are some common questions that I’m asked.
Where is your studio?
It’s in my basement! I converted my rec room into my art studio. I have three kilns and lots of equipment for finishing the art work.
Don't you cut yourself?
All the time! I keep boxes of band-aids all over my studio. But most cuts are superficial. I’ve never needed stitches!
Do you want my wine bottles or broken drinking glasses for your artwork?
No thanks! I use a specially formulated fusible art glass for my artwork. It’s made by a U.S. firm named Bullseye which is located in Portland, Oregon. Bullseye provides a beautiful palette of colors and streaky glass.
What's the difference between commercial glass and fusible art glass?
Even though you can’t see it, commercially available glass (bottles, window glass, etc.) is all chemically different. That means if you try to fuse a piece of window glass to a wine bottle, it will eventually crack because the two glasses are expanding and contracting at different rates. Fusing two wine bottles from the same manufacturer is no guarantee either–they may have been made in different batches and the glass won’t be the same chemical composition. That’s where fusible art glass comes in. Bullseye glass’ entire range of colored fusible art glass will fuse to one another without cracking.
Why should I buy your art work when I can but a piece of fused glass from a big box store for $5?
In a word–quality. Everything I make is a unique work of art. The fused glass at big box stores is mass produced. Just hold a piece of that mass-produced fused glass up to my artwork and you will see the difference. Plus I do custom work!
Do you blow glass?
No, I do not. Glass blowing is considered “hot glass” and must be done in an industrial setting with a team of people for safety. I do glass fusing, also known as “warm glass” or “kiln formed glass.” My glass kilns don’t reach the same temperatures as in glass blowing.
What is annealing?
Annealing is the temperature range where glass forms a stable crystalline structure. When glass is at its peak temperatures during fusing (above 1100 degrees Fahrenheit), try to think of the glass molecules like a bunch of excited kindergartners at recess. They are bouncing around, laughing and playing, and can’t settle down. In the annealing phase (around 900 degrees), it’s as if the children (glass molecules) are all gradually calming down and settling back into their chairs in a nice neat classroom. Glass that is one-quarter inch thick takes about 45 minutes to anneal at 900 degrees. The thicker the glass the longer it takes to anneal.
How hot do the kilns get?
The hottest process I use is for something called a pot melt (see below). The temperature for a pot melt is about 1600 degrees and the glass flows like room temperature honey. A full fuse, which flattens the glass, is about 1480 degrees. If I want a textured effect, my peak temperature is between 1320 and 1380 degrees. If I want to bend or slump the glass into a mold, the peak temperature is about 1280 degrees. But all of that is flexible depending on the effect I’m going for.
What's a pot melt?
The pot melt process is done with a ceramic pot with a bunch of holes in the bottom. I stack odds and ends of colored glass into the pot, heat the kiln to about 1600 degrees to make the glass flow like honey, and the glass runs out of the holes into a mold or form. Pot melts are all swirly and pretty. 🙂
What is slumping?
Slumping is forming glass to a ceramic mold. I have a lot of ceramic molds that I use to mold glass into a certain shape. For instance, if i want to make round plate, first I full fuse (1480 degrees) the glass into a flat round shape. Then I take a round plate mold of the same size, I balance the flat round shape (after it has cooled to room temperature) on the round plate mold, then I heat them both up to about 1280 degrees. At that temperature the glass will very slowly sag or slump into the form of the mold and voila! We have a plate!
I broke a piece of glass. Can you fuse it back together for me?
I’m afraid I won’t even try. If it’s a piece I made, I can try to glue it back together, but I won’t even attempt to repair glass that I didn’t make.
Is your fused glass food safe?
Yes, generally fused glass is food safe but I don’t recommend eating off your art work! However, if your fused glass piece has an iridescent or dichroic coating, that is not food safe. I definitely do not recommend microwaving fused glass. You can run your artwork through the dishwasher if it doesn’t have hanging hardware on it, but eventually the dishwasher detergent will etch the surface of the glass. The fused glass spoon rests I make are definitely safe for use with food in the kitchen.