Clear glass is a main staple in any art glass studio for good reason. It’s the least expensive glass and it’s great for project base layers. Such broad use creates an excessive amount of scrap that we hate to throw away. Instead, we keep adding our cut offs to the box, bin or bucket until it overflows with threatening shards that scream, band-aid!
Finding uses for full sheets of glass is easy. But finding smart ways to reduce our brimming supply of scrap and achieve successful artistic results, takes thought and planning.
Before I get into creative uses for scrap, let me describe how I store my excess clear glass pieces.
My clear scrap is stored in a few different places. Some is stacked in plastic bins on a shelf. These pieces are random shapes and sizes. Some are strips, some are triangles, and others are partial circles. I dig through this bin when I’m making something small and need an extra piece of clear.
I store mosaic size pieces of clear glass scrap in a closed five gallon bucket under my worktable. This container has irregularly shaped pieces in relatively uniform sizes. The pieces range in size for ¼ inch to 1 ½ inch in size. I scoop the material out a cup full at a time. It’s used as a filler in my cast glass projects or when I want to create a unique pattern on the top of a piece of art. I make the pieces uniform by smashing larger cut offs with a hammer.
It’s fun and therapeutic to smash glass! Just make sure to take safety precautions. Wear eye protection and thick gloves.
Having so much usable clear scrap encourages me to come up with clever project designs and new techniques. It’s worthwhile to put time into this type of project development, then I can take advantage of the cost savings that scrap offers, plus thinking outside the box takes the burden off overflowing storage space. Also it allows me to save my full sheets for larger artwork.
Creative ways to use clear scrap glass.
1. Party Plate, from my Fused Art Design Video is one of my favorite examples of using left over material to achieve dramatic results. I laid out my cut glass and decided the blue field needed something. There were already so many bright colors I didn’t want to add more color. Instead, I layered mosaic size pieces of clear glass on the blue. When the clear fuses it spreads out making an attractive pattern and it changes the glass below to a lighter shade. The effect is a cool subtle pattern that adds to the already whimsical design.
2. Cotton, as seen in my Creative Shapes Video is made entirely with clear scrap strips. It was fun and easy to make. I arranged the glass to make a circle shape. I overlapped the pieces to ensure the finished piece would be strong and durable. I left open spaces to create a lacy design.
3. Glacier, from my Breaking Through Video is an exciting example of how small can be powerful. I make dozens of small clear dots with my scrap clear glass. Simply cut ¼ inch x ¼ inch squares and fire them to a full fuse temperature. At that size and temperature the glass shrinks into a compact and delightfully round ball. I then surrounded a fused glass circle with the dots to create an ornate and free form edge. The assembled glass is then fired to a tack fuse temperature to retain the texture and three dimensional brilliance.
4. Free Flow, from my Go With the Flow Video is made entirely with random shaped scrap glass. I used both clear glass and color glass. I assembled the project by alternating layers of bright colors and clear. This technique utilizes high heat and the displacement effect that heat causes. I fire the glass to 1600 degrees. At this temperature the assembled glass increases in size. As it spreads out the colors mix and blend with each other and with the clear glass. It’s great fun to make my own custom colored sheet glass. I sometimes cut the sheets up and use them to make fusible components. Other times, like in this example, I fall in love with their natural organic shape. In this case I simply enjoy the magical gift this amazing medium offers.
5. Poppy, a sink from my Fuses Vessel Sinks Video is a spectacular example of using clear scrap glass to create fine, functional art with real value. The mosaic size clear glass scrap is layered with select colors to create physical weight, visual weight, and incredible visual depth. In this technique the colors float in space where they glow with the brilliance of precious gems.
I hope inspires you to look for innovative new ways to use your clear scrap glass. It’s easy to pull full sheets of glass off the shelf to jump start a project. But keep in mind there’s also a lot of exciting projects waiting to be discovered when you pull glass from the lonely scrap bin.
The beauty of all of these pieces of art and these different techniques is that the art can be made smaller. Going smaller will still produce artwork with the same dramatic impact. Plus, you’ll know the thrill of being practical and artistic at the same time. That’s a wonderful reason to get excited about using clear scrap glass.
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Fire & Ice Webinar
July 11, 2023
Get fired up for advanced design techniques that invigorate your artistic spirit. You’ve loved making all the simple projects. Now experience the thrill of breaking away from familiar shapes to create striking free form fused glass designs.
It’s easy! In this comprehensive webinar, I’ll guide you step-by-step from beginning to end. I’ll share my methods of glass selection, show how to lay out organic shaped projects for success and offer fabrication tips for professional quality results. I’ll also demonstrate how to display your sculptural artwork beautifully and safely.
Join me and I’ll show you how to create free form projects that ramp up the visual elegance of your work. You’ll love my easy-to-follow instruction and seeing how I create intricately detailed designs in just a few steps. You’ll be amazed by the shortcuts and construction tips I offer that result in polished works of art with a gorgeous three-dimensional flair.
Beginner, intermediate and advanced fusers alike will enjoy applying the many simple, yet effective techniques I share in this in-depth, live event.
I include my custom firing guides, project patterns and materials list in PDF form.
Get excited about your glass work again! Attend this inspiring event and you will leave with the burning excitement and the cool confidence to create your own striking pieces of art. You’ll be eager to break out of your comfort zone and reinvent the possibilities while taking your glass art in a new and exciting advanced design direction.