Functional and Decorative Warm Glass Art
Kilns come in all shapes and sizes, from small enough to fit on a countertop to as large as a room. Kilns designed for firing glass are internally about the same as kilns used for firing ceramics. The main difference is that glass kilns usually require a digital controller instead of manual dials. The firing schedule is much more complicated for glass than it is for clay. A digital controller allows the user to create a program that heats and cools the glass appropriately. The heating elements are also placed in the lid (and/or sides), whereas they are usually just in the sides of a ceramics kiln. This is necessary to produce even heating of the glass.
Glass fusing involves using specially formulated glass and a kiln with temperature regulation (usually digitally controlled). Fusing means firing the glass to a temperature that bonds (or melts) separate pieces of glass together. This can be done to different degrees, depending on the desired finished look.
Glass slumping means heating the glass just enough so it starts to bend and can be formed around another object. Ceramic or stainless steel moulds are usually used in the process. Fiberglass paper is also sometimes used as a buffer material. In kilncarving, fiber paper or other material can be used to create shapes or textures that the glass can melt around, leaving behind a void or impression in the finished glass piece.
Are you new to fusing and have some questions? Contact me and I'll see what I can do for you. There are so many great resources on the internet now, here are a few pages to check out:
FusedGlass.org is a great forum website, as well as lots of great tools and techniques. Paul Tarlow is based out of Austin, Texas, and has several great e-books available for purchase.
Bullseye Glass has a wonderful video lesson library, available for a small yearly fee (about $40 USD). They also have tons of great free resources, too. Click the link below to go to their glass education website.
AAE Glass is a glass retailer and wholesaler out of Cape Coral, Florida. The artist-owner, Tanya Veit, regularly posts detailed videos showing techniques of her own design and products. They have a large online store of glass, jewelry supplies, and other glass-related items.
Delphi Glass is a supply retailer based in Lansing, Michigan. They do ship to Canada, although duties and fees will apply. Their website is also full of free videos.
Slumpy's Online has a ton of slumping molds, other tools, and tons of videos. They are based in South Carolina.
Kilnfrog.com is a great website for learning about glass kilns. They also sell all the major brands and are based out of the USA.
Warm glass is a term used to describe many different techniques for manipulating glass. These techniques involve kiln-heating the glass to temperatures high enough to melt it and shape it to the desired form. They include fusing, slumping, kilnforming, kilncarving, and casting.
Glass blowing, which involves grouping molten glass onto the end of a metal pipe and blowing air into it to create forms, is a hot glass technique and requires higher temperatures and some different equipment than warm glass methods.