For Panda’s birthday, he found a deal for a glass fusing class. At first we were looking at stained glass classes, but once I heard about glass fusing, I knew that’s what we wanted to do. I also figured that we could make plate or bowl-like ones that the cats could then use for their food. Our normal bowls were a bit too deep for their liking whereas they’d lick food right off a plate onto the floor, so neither ware worked well.
Firehouse Pottery and Arts is in Mt. Airy, MD (near Damascus) and it’s a cute shop that does pottery painting, clay pottery sculpting, and canvas painting classes in addition to their glass fusing ones. When we arrived, there was a bit of confusion and it turns out that they’d booked us for one month later. We were an hour too early for their jewelry glass fusion class and about 2 hours too late for their trivet glass fusion class that day, but since we were already there (and far from home), they cleared a table and showed us the ropes to make the geometric trivets that we thought we’d signed up for.
Take a look at the experience and what we made!
There are a couple of areas to work in. So many colors everywhere!
For larger pieces, you can score your glass at the station to get a long straight line.
We were shown sample pieces to decide the fusing we wanted – tack (bumpy), contour (moderately fused), or full (smooth).
The tack fuse piece was quite bumpy!
We gravitated towards the full fuse (with slump, which gives it a shape so it isn’t flat).
We got some tools, a piece of 6×6 clear glass for our base, and some instructions. Always use the nipper “eyes up!”
There were a lot of glass pieces to pick out!
I started layering to see what color combos I liked.
Scoring the glass can be hard work so standing up for greater leverage helped.
Most pieces were the same color all the way through, but the purple (incidentally my fav color) was unique.
cracking glass from Mary Qin on Vimeo.
After scoring, breaking the glass piece was as easy as squeezing on the running plier. Watch how easy it is to break the glass along the scored line in this video.
After finally getting all the pieces I wanted and making sure the bottom colors fit with almost no gap, I was ready to start gluing.
We had white glue and hair spray to adhere the glass together. I tried both!
As we were wrapping up, I checked out some other people’s work.
Our completed pieces, ready to go in the kiln! It takes a long time to first fuse, then slump glass and they had a queue of pottery going in too.
Weeks later (actually exactly 2 months) I finally got them! They’d had to get a new (bigger) mold for our pieces, which were larger than normal.
Panda’s creative landscape (aka Smokey’s plate).
My modern art piece dubbed “straight edge” (aka Missy’s plate).
Don’t they look cool? I look forward to doing this again sometime.
Panda decided they were too nice for the cats to use, so there goes that plan.
They weren’t perfectly smooth the way I thought, which is probably because our pieces were thicker than they expected. I wonder if we could have them re-fused and slumped to make them oh so smooth… alas, the place is too far and these are fine, especially given that they won’t be used as plates! I think we’ll end up treating them partly as art and partly as trays. In fact, mine currently holds a bit of money and a receipt.