My parents had gotten me a gift certificate for Christmas. It was to a local glass shop that specializes in stained glass and glass jewelry and the certificate was for a fused glass workshop. I love making jewelry, but had never done anything like this, so it really was the perfect gift.
The workshop consisted of picking out and cutting your glass pieces there in the store. This was the worst part for me because of the sheer number of colors and shapes that one could make. The owner was really helpful and we decided I should stick to straight lines until I got good enough to cut different shapes. Probably a good thing. You can see the various colors of glass, and also the ones that have some sort of texture or shiny part to them.
The next picture will show the different kinds of tools that I used to cut the glass. On the cutting map, the yellow handled instrument on the left hand side is actually a small blade that rolls along the top of the glass. That is used to score the glass, not cut all the way through. Once that is done, you can use the pliers to bend straight down, and snap the glass at the score mark. It was kind of scary the first couple of times:) The cutting mat is used for cutting large pieces that need a straight edge.
Here is another picture of all the options to choose from. Another thing that made it difficult is that the glass could change colors and textures in the firing process, so it was hard to envision how it would look in the end. I actually had no idea how any of them would turn out, which was kind of outside of my zone.
I started with the orange striped glass, since that caught my eye first. Then I had to decide what to put under it. I went with black because I thought it would make the colors pop. It had a metallic sheen to it, but again, I really didn’t know how it would turn out. I cut both pieces down to match shape and size.
On to the next. I love bright colors, and I wear quite a lot of reds and oranges during the summer. There was a square piece of orange someone else had cut, so I used that as my base. I then cut a smaller square in white, and an even smaller square of this awesome milky green. I used a Sharpie to outline the shape I wanted and cut on those lines. You have to use rubbing alcohol to get it off before it is fired, because the Sharpie will stay on through the firing process if you don’t.
For my third one, I found an awesome piece that looked to be industrial, with tubes of glass fused to the top of the metallic sheet. I cut that into a trapezoid shape, and used a plain black piece for the backing. That one was the easiest and the least thought out.
Here they are all finished. The spots you see in the right one are actually Elmer’s Glue. I took a little dab of the glue and sandwiched it between the layers to dry overnight, so they could be moved about without sliding off of each other. The glue evaporates during the firing process.
And here they are finished. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to be involved in the firing process, since it is offsite, but she did say they are fired in a glass kiln with elements in the lid for 24 hours. The temperatures can reach between 1450 -1475 degrees before they fuse completely. The metallic black background doesn’t show up very well in the middle picture, but there is a better one at the end for you to look at.
It is amazing to me that the edges melt into rounded edges, kind of like a cookie does in the oven. I glued bails on them and are ready to wear them. I love how they turned out. As far as size goes, the square one is 1.25 x 1.25″, the rectangle is 1.50 x .75″, and the trapezoid is .75 x 1.50″ roughly. Not huge, but a bit bigger than what I normally wear. I could have done earrings instead of one of the pendants, but I thought they might be too small to work with for the first time.
Anyway, thanks for looking, and thanks Mom and Pop for giving me the certificate! I had a ton of fun, and now know there are lots of things to make. Yikes!