Clear glass beads with handspun glittering accents.
Glass fusing is how I got into working with glass in the first place, back in 2002. I took a beginner fusing class at a small glass shop in California, and the love of the medium followed me to Oregon when I moved here in 2003. But it wasn’t long before I found lampworking, or torchworking, when I took a class at the Bullseye Glass Resource Center. And that was that. I unceremoniously dumped fusing for the torch, heating glass in a kiln to watching it glow molten in the light of a flame.
Mostly, I have never looked back, but every now and then, it is fun to fuse again. It is such a different way to work with glass. I often say that torchwork is like cooking, while glass fusing is like baking.
A friend of mine wanted to make some small fused glass stones for a game she plays with her kids, and I always enjoy hanging out with her. Our schedules are both so busy, it doesn’t happen as often as I wish. So this seemed perfect, and it was! I showed her how to cut up glass with my orange glass cutting tool, and she brought small pieces of dichroic glass with her to use.
Dichroic glass is used in small glass pieces a lot, especially fused work for jewelry, and some glass bead creation. From wikipedia:
“Dichroic glass is glass containing multiple micro-layers of metals or oxides which give the glass dichroic optical properties. The main characteristic of dichroic glass is that it has a particular transmitted color and a completely different reflected color, as certain wavelengths of light either pass through or are reflected. This causes an array of color to be displayed. The colors shift depending on the angle of view. Dichroic glass is an example of thin-film optics.”
I just know it’s cool and fun to play with. We made dozens of little stacks of dichroic glass with clear capped over top and set the kiln on its way overnight. Her little stones came out wonderfully.
Fusing would be something I should be doing in the winter, when the cold air actually changes how glass behaves for me in the torch, and I don’t feel like freezing out in the studio. I have heat, but it’s not as toasty as inside my home, which is why the glass cracks faster in winter months when I am out there working.
I have molds to make plates, candle holders… but yet I so rarely ever do that anymore. And I still have a lot of sheet glass sitting on the shelf. I suppose I should sell it, but it was there and ready for us that evening, making a night with two friends even more fun by sharing art as well as conversation.