Striker and reactive glasses are fusing compatible materials that look one way when they go into the kiln and then look different after firing. With a little experimenting you can use those variations to push your work in exciting new artistic directions.
As a veteran glass artist there are times I enjoy playing with these types of glass, to create innovative pieces of art with extra special character.
Up front let me say I’m not a chemist or scientist. Here, I’m offering an artist’s perspective on these materials and how they’ll impact your designs and your glass choices. For technical information search the glass manufacturer’s websites for details.
Know your medium.
Color Shift / Striker Fusible Glass:
Some glass colors will “strike” change color, usually becoming darker when heated. This is especially true of reds, yellows, and oranges. It’s a good idea to test-fire small pieces so you’ll know what to expect.
When would I use striker, color shift glass?
I select striker glass for a specific project when I want the stronger fired color in my design. In my experience the fired color is much more vivid and significantly deeper in color than other non-striker glass I could choose from. Plus, the addition of striker glass in my studio expands my color palette to include hot pink and juicy orange. I love hot pink!
I don’t use striker glass if I have an alternate glass on the shelf that will give me the same look. In that case, I save the striker for times when the heightened variation really enhances my finished work.
Reactive Fusible Glass
When certain glass combinations become hot enough, they can produce a reaction when fused against copper-bearing glasses, producing a deep reddish color where they intersect. Glasses containing sulfur also react when fused next to copper-bearing glasses, producing a range of different reactions that can be more subtle, but still distinct and interesting.
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When would I use reactive glass?
Depending on the application, reactive glass can produce a variety of new and previously not present design accents to your fused glass art. In my experience, when fired on top of a copper-bearing glass the reactive glass finishes with a dark, burnt red outline around the reactive glass pieces.
Reactive glass can produce an attractive added detail that adds warmth and softness to otherwise hard lines. I use it when I feel the introduction of subtle silhouettes will improve the visual intricacy of my finished artwork.
In my experience, reactive glass when used next to other reactive glass can produce a subtle but identifiable color distinction between the pieces of glass. After firing the fused glass appears to have a new lighter color line present in the design.
I use reactive glass when I want to create additional detail through the process of fusing rather than by adding paint or frit. I believe the look is organic and natural feeling without being forced. The added softness is often just what a piece of art needs to make it unique and really stand out.
I don’t use reactive glass when I want to maintain strong control over my design’s line quality. When building a geometric pattern I generally want crisp, sharp outlines. While reactive glass tends to produce a soft, even fuzzy looking edge that would distract the viewer’s eye from my symmetrical design.
Once you have glass that strikes or reacts in your studio it’s a good idea to mark the glass. This way you are confident you’ll get the results you expect and want when firing. For example, I have an Oceanside lemon yellow transparent glass that shifts to bright orange when fired. I wrote turns orange on the sheet, as well as on all the sizable cutoffs. I store all of my reactive glass on the same shelf and make sure I put any cutoffs back in that same slot.
Reactive Glass Information Resources:
Bullseye Glass: Get a Reaction in the Index of Articles.
Oceanside Glass & Tile Reactive Guide:
Using striker and reactive glass is a great way to inspire new artistic directions. Including materials that produce their own special effects will result in fresh design ideas you’ll love to make and love to share.
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Fused Glass Sculptures
August 17, 2023
You’re Invited to Join Me!
Creating striking sculptural fused glass forms is easy when you know the professional tips and tricks!
Join me in this comprehensive webinar and learn how easily you can put tried and true methods to use in unlikely ways, to create extraordinary sculptural art.
In this in-depth webinar, you’ll learn pro tips and tricks for better glass cutting. See how to mix different fusible materials to make more elaborate designs.
You’ll be amazed how using standard slumping molds in unique ways can drastically improve the shape of your art.
You’ll be inspired by the innovative combination of ordinary techniques I share.
You’ll be confident to fuse glass after seeing how easy it is to load, program and fire a kiln.
Best of all, you’ll have an exclusive technical advantage with the advanced understanding of my dependable firing programs. And you’ll love the stunning three-dimensional results you can achieve by fusing all of these concepts together.
Enjoy the thrill of limitless possibilities.
Beginner and advanced students alike will find inspiration, motivation and renewed artistic freedom from seeing the step-by-step construction of more than 5 sculptural projects in this webinar.
After this exciting webinar you’ll have the professional knowledge and increased confidence to incorporate these innovative methods in your new work.
In addition, you’ll have a working knowledge of kiln operation, custom firing guides, and a deeper understanding of sculptural glass fusing fabrication.
You’ll have the burning desire, and the cool self-confidence, to take your passion to greater heights.
I hope you’ll join me August 17, 2023!