March 26, 2010

Glass Fusing

What is Glass fusing?

Glass fusing is when you melt glass in a kiln and it basically fuses together.

Beyond that very basic explanation is a whole industry of glass with different options.  Think of it like paints, you have watercolors, acrylics, latex, glazes, etc.  Beyond just the technicalities of temperature and how it affects the glass there is an assortment different types of glass, expansion rates,  colors, textures chemicals, grades, and metals that can be used to create all sorts of different items like jewelry, tiles, plates, sculptures, etc.

Dichroic glass is a type of glass that has a translucent and reflective metal coating on the surface.  The process of putting this metal coating on it is highly technical and complicated, and requires the use of precious metals to achieve different color spectrum. I has a highly reflective mirror like surface but is can transmit different colored light.  It is typically used for smaller works like jewelry because of the cost.

Glass with a chemical coating on the surface is usually called iridized glass, the surface of this glass looks like it has an oily colorful sheen.

Beyond the glass types you can control the effects of the final product by varying temperature. The higher the temperature (1400 – 1500 F), the more the glass will melt down into a solid chunk, aka full fuse. At cooler temperatures the glass will just stick together but the edges will still round, aka tack  fuse.  And at even slightly cooler temperatures the glass will just bend and change shape, aka a slumped fuse.

Those are some of the basics of Glass Fusing.

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