Artists are the most generous people I know. We love to share our passion. We all want to make a more dramatic and memorable impression with our art. One of the bests ways to accomplish this is to go bigger and make large scale pieces that stand out from the crowd.
But going bigger can be scary. You have to invest more time and material. And there are more design decisions to make. It’s a huge commitment and you want guarantees that the finished piece will exceed your expectations. Following are some fundamental tips that’ll greatly increase your success with all your fused glass artwork.
1 Measuring the Slumping Mold
It seems trivial, but this is where most craftsman go wrong. Everyone wants to make the largest fused glass disc possible. They then measure the mold from the outer rim to the outer rim and cut their glass circles accordingly. They wrongly assume the glass that rests on the top rim of the mold will follow the center of the fused glass disc as it slumps into the mold. The problem is the glass on the flat rim drags.
Therefore, it does not fall into the mold evenly. The result is a bowl with uneven height in the side walls. A lopsided bowl can be avoided simply by measuring across the inside of the mold and then cutting the glass ¼ to ½ inch smaller than that measurement. Yes, the bowl is slightly smaller. No one will notice. They’ll be too busy admiring your beautifully crafted, uniform bowl with even side walls all the way around.
2 Durability is in the Design
When going larger it’s important to design your art in such a way that the glass thickness is uniform throughout the entire piece of art. If you design the round disc with two glass layers on one side and four glass layers on the opposite side, you’ll have unbalanced mass. This can cause the finished piece of art to break due to the stress of supporting its own weight. Instead, plan your design execution in advance to ensure you have the same number of glass layers across the entire disc. Small accents pieces decorating the top aren’t a concern, provided they’re added in moderation.
3 Let it Shine
The beauty of glass is its transparency, and the attraction of glass fusing is our ability to mix transparent and opal materials, to create various color combinations and an infinite number of intricate patterns. The wonderful thing about going large is the extended size of the creative canvas. With more room, you have more opportunity to expand your design ideas and make a dynamic statement. So rather than fumble through, take time to plan a well thought out design. Consider including pre-tacked or fused glass components for added interest. Mix both transparent and opal glass to increase visible depth. The possibilities are endless.
4 Do Your Best Work
Don’t cut corners. No excuses. If you think to ask, “Should I recut or redo this?” My answer is, “Yes.” The more time and effort you put into each step will greatly improve the overall quality of your finished pieces. Fabrication and execution are equally as important as design esthetics. If you implement this approach, every piece you produce will be a masterpiece.
5 Fusing and Slumping
Slow it down. Larger usually also means thicker. You’ll dramatically increase your firing success rate by slowing down both the fusing schedule and the slumping schedule. I fire my large pieces at 300 degrees per hour and hold several times on the way up to 1465 degrees to fuse, and 1220 degrees to slump. I anneal the glass at 960 degrees for 180 minutes, for both fusing and slumping, and then slowly drop the temperature down to room temperature. By being conservative with the firing schedules, I achieve consistently beautiful results every time. You can too!
Excerpt from my Make a Fused Glass Sink Webinar
For more in-depth information on making sinks and large vessels, join me for my next webinar. All the pro tips and tricks will be revealed. Plus, you’ll get my custom firing guides for fusing and slumping sinks and large bowls.
Let’s get together and make sinks in my Make a Fused Glass Sink webinar Tuesday July 27, 2021.
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Upcoming Webinar and Class
Make a Fused Glass Sink with Lisa Vogt Webinar July 27, 2021
In this comprehensive Webinar, I’ll guide you step by step through the time-tested processes I use to make large-scale, functional vessels.
You’ll learn safe handling techniques for cutting oversized circles, how to fuse and slump thick pieces to retain consistent bowl height, plus trade-secrets for worry free drilling.
In addition to fabrication know-how, you’ll receive a complete supply list, specifics on kiln requirements, source information for the slumping mold and drill kit, as well as helpful installation tips.
With all the professional tricks revealed, you’ll gain the confidence and knowledge needed to make your own dazzling beauty.
In addition, I’ll demonstrates how to make a glittering dichroic sink. I’ll show you how to make a cast glass sink from nipped glass pieces, dichroic bits and frit. Plus, you’ll be guided through the various cold-working steps I use to finish the cast glass sink edge to a glamorous, professional, quality polish.
Sculptural Fused Glass, 4-Day, Hands-on Workshop October 19-22, 2021
Wesley Chapel, Florida, 4-Day, Hands-on, Class size is limited.
This is the turning-point workshop you’ve been waiting for.
It’s hard to describe what it’s like when I’m feeling the creative flow. Time flies. Hours pass in what I thought were minutes. My naturally distracted mind is focused on what my hands are doing, and nothing else. I get lost in my own world. When I return to reality, I feel rejuvenated and spiritually uplifted. That’s why I like sharing my studio space with others. I try to give them that experience and hope they feel the same inspiration and fulfillment I do. -Lisa
This class is for you! Any skill level can attend. Beginner, intermediate and advanced students alike will learn how to advance their glass fusing skills and expand their artistic style.
Join me and I’ll show you all the pro tips and tricks I use to make stunning 3-dimnesional art. You’ll learn how to combine advanced techniques in new ways to create extraordinary sculptural pieces of art.
You’ll leave class with several completed glass sculptures, my custom firing guides and a deeper understanding of sculptural fused glass fabrication. You’ll have the knowledge, confidence, and inspiration you’ve been craving to take your artwork to the next level.
Materials are included, that’s a $150.00 value!
May 2021 Student Testimonials
“My favorite thing about the class was the creative freedom – we were not required to make the same thing the same way. I was surprised by the variety and number items we made and the flexibility we had to go our own way with our projects. The glass studio was very comfortable and very clean with plenty of room.” -Ron
“My favorite thing about the class was the projects were tailored to our interests with user specific glass choices and design options. This makes the best type of learning environment. I loved the continued technical information that was used in daily discussions. Loved the amount of space we had for working and the use of top-quality tools and the hands-on assistance Lisa gave each one of us. You will hear and see me again. Thank you for your time and talent.” – Donna
“My favorite thing about the class was the creativity – putting things together in new ways – using different materials – and how welcome I felt. I was surprised how much we were able to get done and by Lisa’s ability to coach those of us on different levels. My least favorite part was that the class ended. The classroom setup was excellent – well organized. I really feel like Lisa gave me the tools to advance to a new level. It was worth the cost of the workshop, airfare, B&B, animal care and house sitting! Can’t wait to put what I leaned into practice and return for another workshop.” -Sue
Read more student testimonials on my website.
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