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For centuries, stained glass artisans have cut brightly colored and deeply saturated colors of glass and pieced them together to tell their story. They used lead or solder to hold the pieces in place. Modern kiln equipment, and a better understanding of art glass formulations and thermal characteristics have led to the development and flourishing of a relatively new field of art glass – fused glass.
One of my favorite methods for fusing is the edge strip method... I start with sheet glass, and cut it into thin strips.
The cut glass strips are laid on edge, and grouped with other color strips.
Squared up and dammed to hold it in place
The glass lay-up is placed on a flat kiln shelf inside the kiln, which is then fired to approximately 1500 degrees F. The glass “melts” (not really the correct technical term, because in reality glass gets progressively less viscous as it heats, it doesn’t have a specific melting point, like wax, for example). The flowing glass is quite “sticky” and it wants to bond with any surface it comes in contact with, especially other hot glass. The fused pieces are then carefully cooled to prevent formation of thermal stress within the glass volume.
When the kiln chamber gets back to room temperature, the product inside is a flat fused glass “blank”. Here I'm making flat coasters, so I'll cut the blank into 4"x4" pieces
I'll do a little work on the flat diamond wheel to square-up the pieces, and smooth the edges
Back into the kiln for a final fire to fire-polish the edges. If I was making a plate or a bowl, I would place the strip pieces in a mold, and use this step to slump the glass into the mold. Here I'm making flat coasters.
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