WHAT IS FUSED GLASS?
Fused glass is a term used to describe a glass object that has been created as a result of joining two or more compatible pieces of glass together in a kiln using heat, until they bond or ‘fuse’ together to form one piece.
Sometimes referred to as ‘kiln-formed glass’, the kiln needs to be fired at a high temperature, approximately 1490 degrees Fahrenheit, in order to enable the glass pieces to melt and fuse together.
WHAT CAN BE MADE USING FUSED GLASS?
Fused glass can be used to make a variety of both functional and artistic pieces such as bowls, plates, wall panels, tiles, lights and jewellery, all of which will be totally unique.
It is very versatile, allowing the creation of bright, colourful work or softer, more subtle effects depending on the approach taken.
HOW IS FUSED GLASS MADE?
Fused glass, unlike many other glass making methods such as glass blowing, is created cold on a flat surface before being introduced to heat in the kiln.
This allows the glass artist more time and control to develop a final image or design, enabling detail, colour and texture to be carefully built up.
Each piece is created by layering a choice of coloured glass, enamels, coloured glass granules, sheet metal and/or wire between two or more pieces of compatible sheets of glass.
Once the image or pattern is completed, the layered glass sheets are transferred to the kiln, which is heated to approximately 1490 degrees Fahrenheit, although this temperature may vary. The time it takes to fuse or ‘melt’ the glass will also vary depending on the materials used and the final effect required.
The glass that comes out of the kiln will be flat in form. If a different shape is required such as a curve for a bowl, the glass will need to go through a further process called slumping.
This involves laying the fused glass over a mould that is the desired shape of the final piece. The kiln is fired up to approximately 1300 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat results in the fused glass melting and being pulled down by gravity into the mould. Once the fused glass has taken on the shape of the mould, the temperature of the kiln is very slowly reduced until it eventually reaches room temperature, and allows annealing to take place at between 700 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit which strengthens the glass.
HOW CAN FUSED GLASS BE USED IN THE HOME?
Fused glass is not affected by humidity, heat or sunlight, and is therefore not susceptible to moisture damage or fading. This means it is extremely versatile and can be placed anywhere in the home or workplace. It is particularly ideal for using in tricky rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms or conservatories.
HOW TO CARE FOR FUSED GLASS
Fused glass will last a lifetime if a few simple rules are followed and it is handled with care.
Using a soft cloth, it can either be dusted or hand washed in warm water with a mild detergent.
It is not oven, microwave or dishwasher safe.