Posted on Leave a comment

4 Ways to Develop Your Own Design Style


Glass fusing is more popular than ever. The originality and quality of work I’m seeing in galleries, on websites and in our fusing groups is amazing. With so many enticing techniques to try it’s tempting to copy other artist’s work.

We all want guarantees that our limited time, hard work and expensive materials will produce dependable, beautiful results every time. And so, we play it safe and continually make the same reliable projects. Or we take the easy route and reproduce other’s work that we find attractive. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can develop your own individual design style. By applying a few simple concepts, your finished work and the time spent creating it will be more rewarding and exciting.

  1. Be Original!

It’s all been done before you argue. How can I be original, you ask? Yes, it’s all been done. But even the simplest techniques seen through your special artist’s lens and executed with your skilled hands can produce all new results.

To advance beyond routine projects begin by examining art that you admire. When you see a piece of art that really speaks to you, study it. Reduce your admiration down to the most basic attribute of the art. What really captures your interest? Is it the color, the shape or the imagery? Take that feature, hold on to it, then put it aside temporarily. Look at another piece of art. Identify the specific characteristic that you find attractive and put that feature aside temporarily. Do this for a third piece of art. Study it until you know exactly what trait appeals to you. Then take those three characteristics and combine them and you’re guaranteed to design your own original art.


  1. Shape Up!

One of the fastest and easiest things you can do to make your art stand out is to give it a unique shape.

The most common shape for fused glass projects is the square. Primarily, because it’s economical, there’s no waste. And, because there’s very little cutting, it enables you to get right to the fun stuff, building the design. It’s also popular with beginners and hobbyists with basic cutting skills. By moving away for the square, you immediately increase the visual value of your work.

The rectangle is popular for the same reasons. If you change the shape of your square or rectangle, even slightly, you’re sure to engage the viewer longer.

The circle is traditionally a very pleasing shape. It requires a higher skill level to cut and therefore is more unique. But it also benefits from innovative thinking and a fresh approach to the perimeter shape.


How do you come up with new shapes?

I like to draw quick, no obligation sketches on note book pages. I resist the urge to self-edit or limit the creative flow. The pencil just glides over the paper making a mess of the previously clean white space. The first few sketches usually resemble familiar, safe shapes and designs. But once those are out of my head, suddenly there’s room to be more creative. All new shapes begin to develop.

During these exercises I’m free to draw the impossible.

I then take bits and pieces from the shapes that I find interesting and remix them to create my own new, project profiles. And sometimes, if I’m lucky, I even manage to figure out how to build the impossible ones.


  1. Combine Fusible Techniques

Exceptional glass artwork is never made with one step or one technique. Really exciting pieces are designed with substantial planning that brings an unexpected pairing of components together. Combining different techniques adds depth to the visual complexity of the art which further engages the viewer.

Putting it into practice.

The beauty of this approach is the techniques don’t have to be super difficult to have a positive impact on your new work. We all have our favorite, trusted, go-to techniques. Start there.

Using a complimentary color scheme, make three individual pieces, using three different methods. Cut the pieces up. Reinvent their roles in your art. Move them around. Change the composition a few times. If nothing thrills you, set them aside and let your creative subconscious have a turn.

Don’t force the grouping. I find that once I relieve the pressure to solidify a design, one presents itself. And the new composition is usually one that I otherwise would never have thought of. In cases like this, I believe the physical, ready made pieces guide and influence the discovery of innovative designs. Try it. You’ll be amazed how this abstract assembly opens your mind to fresh ideas.


  1. Trust yourself.

Design with confidence. Resist the impulse to compare yourself or your work to others. Instead, blaze your own trail and don’t look back. Take pride in your individuality and what you contribute to the craft.

Take risks to further develop your personal design style. Nurture your unique artistic perspective and your creative spirit will flourish.

Happy fusing,


Follow my blog for more tips and tricks!





Creative Slumping Webinar

November 19, 2019

In this detailed Webinar, I’ll reshape the way you slump and drape glass. See how thinking outside the box and using ready made molds in new ways offers numerous and exciting opportunities to produce unique forms.    

You’ll learn how to make your own graceful, free-form shaped molds from readily available materials with no laborious measuring or messy mixes needed. Taking you one step further, I’ll show you how to use these different approaches, in combination, to transform ordinary projects into inspiring, sculptural pieces of art!

Video covers - Copy

Watch it NOW! Start fusing today! Downloadable instructional videos for every skill level.

Book covers

GET it NOW! Start fusing today! Check out my eBooks for elegant patterns and detailed fusing instructions. 



Leave a Reply