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How to Use a Kiln and What to Do When Things Go Wrong

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Getting a new glass fusing kiln is very exciting. But it can also be a little scary to be responsible for your own firings. Students tell me all the time that they purchased a kiln weeks, months, even years ago and it’s still in the box! If you’re one of those tortured glass artists with a burning desire to fire glass, but the thought of being on your own sends icy chills down your spine, this is the nudge you’ve been waiting for.

I’m here to help.

Let me start by saying, you will have varying results. That’s okay. Initially, your goal is to build a relationship with your new equipment. You want to get to know how your particular kiln works and define the results you want to achieve. Yes, it takes a few test firings. Yes, you will ruin some glass. The great news is you will definitely learn something valuable from every firing. And you’ll gain experience while building confidence. It’s a win, win. Now, open that box and set your kiln up. This is going to be fun!

For those of you who are already making awesome projects, you’re likely wondering why I chose this entry-level topic, knowing most of you have experience. A lot of fusers rely on studios and workshops to fire their glass. In those situations, you’re not directly involved with kiln operation. This article will give you insight into what you’re missing.

If you are firing your own artwork, good for you. Consider this a refresher course on kiln operation. I firmly believe that we can all benefit from other artist’s experience. We’re inclined to absorb information, even information we’re already familiar with, at every stage of our artistic growth. The following guides might clarify techniques you’re already using. Or they may shed light on new methods worth trying.

Setting up your new kiln.

Safety is extremely important! Remember, you’ll be firing glass at high temperatures and you don’t want to create a fire hazard. Reference the owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s suggestions on where to place your kiln. They’ll offer recommendations on the type of flooring your kiln should rest on, as well as distance-from-the-wall measurements. Set your kiln up accordingly.

Carefully vacuum the inside of your kiln to remove any material that might have come lose during shipping. Then coat the kiln bottom, inside the firing chamber with kiln wash or shelf primer. Follow the directions on the kiln wash container and apply two or three even coats. This preventive step will protect the kiln floor if glass accidentally ends up on the bottom. If you have a new kiln shelf, you’ll want to coat it with kiln wash as well. Let the shelf dry completely before using it. Then plug your kiln in, and let the firing begin.

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Test firing your new kiln.

I recommend making a quick, easy project to test the firing temperature and effect that temperature has on your glass. For fast results, you can fire two layers of scrap glass together. Personally, that overly simplified approach causes my artistic soul pain. I like to make something with every firing. So, I came up with a very simple project that I was willing to risk coming out poorly, for the sake of getting to know how my new kiln fired.

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But first, a little bit about project assembly.

How projects are assembled has a direct effect on the durability and, “look” of the finished piece. Most of my projects are assembled using two full layers of glass.

Glass seeks a level of ¼ inch thick when it’s heated to the full fuse temperature of 1465 degrees. (I’m using COE 96, but this temperature works equally as well on COE 90.) By assembling with two layers of glass, I maintain control over the size and shape of my finished piece.

Fusing one layer of glass will cause the project to shrink. And it will have a fragile, sharp, irregular edge. While fusing three layers of glass will result in the project growing in size, which changes the original shape considerably.

Since two layers is my go-to type of assembly, I made my test piece with this fabrication method. If your go-to is a different type of assembly, you’ll want to duplicate that for your test piece.

I cut a 6 inch by 6 inch square of white glass for the base of my project. Then I cut a 6 inch by 6 inch square of transparent color to stack on the white base. This simple combination was too plain for my artsy heart to handle. So, I used plastic stencils to give the plain glass a little pizazz. I quickly sifted green opal, powder frit on the white base layer. I added yellow opal, powder frit to the top color layer giving the project a subtle pattern. On the white base layer, I used a leaf pattern stencil. On the color layer, I used a flower pattern stencil to create delicate variations on the two layers. I intentionally applied in a higher concentration of frit on the left side of the base layer. On the color layer, I applied a higher concentration of frit on the right side. This way, you’d see each pattern independently and the two patterns overlapping in the middle of the square.

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Loading your new kiln.

Place 3 or 4 short kiln posts on the floor of the kiln. Position the primed, or fiber paper lined, ceramic kiln shelf on the posts. Placing the ceramic shelf on posts makes it easier to load and unload the shelf. It also allows air to circulate around the shelf when the kiln is firing.

Important note about the position of your kiln shelf inside your kiln.

I use short posts on purpose to make sure the ceramic kiln shelf is positioned low inside the kiln. The posts are necessary for air flow around the ceramic shelf, so don’t skip them. But we also want to keep the glass project, assembled on the shelf to be as far away from the heating coils, in the lid as possible. You want a minimum of 5 to 6 inches between the glass project and the heating coils. If the glass is too close to the coils the glass can break due to thermal shock which is a result of heating too quickly.

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The same applies for slumping molds.

It’s important to apply this same idea when placing a fused project on a slumping mold. In my smaller kilns, I remove the kiln shelf and place the slumping mold directly on the kiln floor to ensure that the glass is as far away from the heating coils as possible.

Be careful not to bump or bend the probe inside the kiln when loading the kiln shelf. The probe is a thermocouple that transmits the interior temperature of your kiln to the kiln’s controller.

Fiber board kiln shelves are different.

I place fiber board kiln shelves directly on the floor of my kilns without using any kiln posts. The fiber material is porous. Therefore, air circulates through the shelf ensuring even heating.

Glass fusing test fire.

I fired the assembled glass to a full fuse temperature on a primed ceramic kiln shelf. I used Auto Mode and the preset Full Fuse program in my Firebox 14 kiln controller. I was happy with the results.

Characteristics of a terrific full fuse firing.

The fused glass retained its square shape and original size of 6 inch by 6 inch. It also had uniform thickness, smooth surface, rounded edges and a clean back side. The frit design details melted into the top layer giving the project a shiny, smooth surface.

Characteristics of an under-fired full fuse firing.  

An under-fired project will retain its square shape and its original size of 6 inch by 6 inch. The edges are hard, angular and sometimes sharp. Since the two layers are not completely fused together, a seam may appear on the edge showing how the layers were stacked. The back side of the project is clean and smooth. Design details, like frit may have texture and might not be fully melted into the top layer.

The solution to an under-fired project is to re-fire it a little hotter. To get more heat results, I usually add ten degrees to the target temperature. The target temperature is the temperature that gives you the desired results.

For full fuse results I fire the glass to 1465 degrees and hold it there for ten minutes. For tack fuse results I fire the glass to 1365 degrees and hold it there for 10 minutes. For slumping results, I fire the glass to 1265 degrees and hold it there for 10 minutes. (These temps are for COE 96 glass, but they will work equally as well in COE 90 glass.)

Characteristics of an over-fired full fuse firing.

An over-fired project will grow in size. The outside edges will round out. The glass will lose its square shape and be larger than the original 6 inch by 6 inch size. Kiln wash may stick to the backside and be difficult to remove. The design details, like frit will be completely fired in giving the project a smooth shiny surface.

The solution for an over-fired project might be to grind the edges to regain the square shape. Or you can remake and re-fire the project at a lower temperature.

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Glass slumping test fire.  

To test how my new kiln slumped glass I placed a square ceramic mold in the kiln and positioned the fused glass on top. Using the controller and Auto Mode I set the kiln firing speed to fast and the process to slump. I was happy with the results.

Characteristics of a successful slump.

A successfully slumped glass project conforms to the shape of the mold. It also retains a clean shape and height of the sides of the project.

Characteristics of an under-slumped project.

An under-slumped project does not conform to the mold. The glass project doesn’t have enough drop and so the piece is shallow. The piece may also wobble on the table because it didn’t come in contact with the flat bottom of the mold like it should have.

The solution is to re-fire the glass in the mold and hold it at the target temperature a little longer than the first time. I usually add 10 minutes hold to the original program.

Characteristics of an over-slumped project.

An over-slumped project picks up a lot of texture from the mold. It also loses some of its shape because the sides slide down into the mold. The result is an uneven top edge or rim. The solution is to call it something new or remake the project.

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Tack fusing test.

For this test I made three sizes of fun glass nuggets. My intention was to use them to make an open-air bowl that looked like it was made out stones and pebbles. I cut a bunch of rounded shapes out a pretty amber glass. Then I cut complementary pieces out of clear glass. I capped the amber with the clear and fired the assemble glass to a full fuse temperature using the Auto Mode on my kiln. The pieces came out great.

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When things go wrong.

Then I arranged the glass nuggets and pebbles on a kiln shelf to make a circular design. The shelf and glass were placed in the kiln. Using the Auto Mode, I set kiln controller to tack the glass together. The finished project looked great until I picked it up.

The piece made out of glass stones fell apart in my hands!

I said a few choice words… Then I regrouped and figured out what went wrong.

This seemed like the perfect time to read the kiln’s Operating Manual. I looked up the Auto Mode firing temperatures. And there it was, the cause of the problem. In Auto Mode the kiln fired to 1325 degrees which is a great temperature for tacking glass pieces on top of each other. But it wasn’t enough heat to tack glass pieces next to each other and expect the project to be strong enough to support its own weight.

When doing this tack technique, I usually fire the glass to 1365 degrees. The solution was to enter my own program in the kiln controller and re-fire the glass to the hotter temperature. The Operating Manual had easy-to-follow directions on how to access the Pro Mode and enter my own custom firing program. It only took a few minutes to enter my program.

Fortunately, none of the nuggets or pebbles broke when the project fell apart. I was able to reassemble them and then re-fire them at a higher, hotter temperature.

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I then slumped the tacked piece to make a shallow bowl. The finished art was a beautiful success!

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Take notes.

I recommend taking notes on how you assemble your pieces and on your firing steps. This way you can easily reproduce your successes and learn from the pieces that didn’t come out as you expected.

Be brave. You can do it.

It takes a little time to become familiar with your new kiln. The good news is you’ll learn new and exciting things every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to jump in and start firing. No matter what your results are you’ll enjoy the creative process and making your own personalized pieces of art.

I believe in you!

Watch the video here: How to Use a Kiln and What to Do When Things Go Wrong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S99fV8Fs124

Happy fusing!

Lisa

Follow my blog for more tips and tricks!

YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhOifd7wukk
Facebook www.Facebook.com/LisaJVogt

Twitter https://twitter.com/lisajvogt

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lvogt_originalsinglass/

Upcoming Webinars and Classes

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Creative Slumping Webinar

November 19, 2019

https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1240-creative-slumping-with-lisa-vogt-november-15-2018.html

In this detailed Webinar, I’ll reshape the way you slump and drape glass. See how thinking outside the box and using readymade 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!

Shadow

NEW Fused Glass Sculpture, Webinar January 14, 2020 https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1400-fused-glass-sculptures-made-easy-with-lisa-vogt-jan-14-2020.html

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 Lisa shares.

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 Lisa’s dependable firing programs. And you’ll love the stunning three-dimensional results you can achieve by fusing all of these concepts together.

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.

Interwoven

NEW Fused Glass Sculpture Webinar, January 16, 2020 https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1398-fused-glass-sculptures-made-easy-with-lisa-vogt-jan-16-2020.html

Description above.

2 Currents

NEW CLASS DATE FOR 2020

Sculptural Fused Glass, 4-Day, Hands-on Workshop

February 18 – 21, 2020

Register www.lisavogt.net

Wesley Chapel, Florida, 4-Day, Hands-on, Class size is limited.

Here’s what the students are saying about the workshop.

“Lisa is very professional, knowledgeable and freakishly talented. House, art, mosaic, her work – really fun and beautiful.”   -Lorna

“Incredible class. Lisa shared her artistic knowledge of color flow and her technical knowledge of glass.”       -Larry

“I had so much fun! Lisa is a great teacher!”      -Brenda

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.

In this class 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! Plus, a professional photo shot of your artwork is also included.

Let’s get together and fuse glass! This is the turning-point workshop you’ve been waiting for.

glass-logo-small

Get Ready for the Glass Craft & Bead Expo 2020!

Glass Craft & Bead Expo is the premier Art Glass and Bead Trade Show and Educational Conference.

April 1 – April 5, 2020

Meet me in Vegas! I’m teaching the following classes.

Fired Up! Fusing for the Adventurous

Painting with Frit

Breaking Through – Making Exhibition Quality Art

Sculptural Fused Glass Art

NEW Sculptural Fused Glass DESIGN Made Easy

Get more info here.

People come from all over the world to take classes and view the show floor for all of the latest and most innovative products and services. Las Vegas has been home to the show with it being held for the past eleven (11) years at the South Point Hotel and Conference Center located at 9777 Las Vegas Blvd South.

We offer over 250 specialty classes in hot, warm and cold glass. Our instructors come from all over bringing all their expertise in their respective fields. Our show floor offers everything including the latest types and colors of glass, the most innovative kilns, tools and specialty items.

Watch it NOW! Start fusing today!

Video covers - Copy

Downloadable instructional videos for every skill level.  

Book covers

Check out my eBooks for elegant patterns and detailed fusing instructions. 

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Learning Goes Both Ways

Interwoven

Inspiration is Here 

Wow! It was an amazing week in the glass studio. Last week I hosted my Sculptural Fused Glass Workshop. We enjoyed 4 incredible full days of creating. The students were awesome! They were excited about learning new techniques and eager to try new ideas.

This class was about producing multiple 3-D glass sculptures that reflected the individual artist’s personal style. To accomplish so many projects in the condensed time-frame I adopted a new accelerated lesson plan. It was a huge success! The students were thrilled with the upbeat pace of the class because it increased the number of projects they were able to make.

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On day one they designed, assembled and loaded four different, full-size pieces into the kilns. Plus, they applied different advanced techniques and new design concepts on each of the three pieces.

We kept the quickened pace up all week. The rate enabled the students to make an impressive number of advanced projects, plus custom glass bases. On day two, even I was stunned when I had to re-prime the 11 ceramic kiln shelves we used to fire projects.

Students favorite things about the class included: learning new techniques, making so many projects and my willingness to let them create as they saw fit.

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We had a few oops we had to overcome.

When working on so many complex projects there’s bound to be some construction issues that come up.

A student realized, before loading the glass in the kiln, that the iridized coating was face down on the flower petals she cut for a floral vase. We wanted the pretty iridized side to show on the outside of the art, not the inside. So, we rearranged the assembly. Instead of building on a clear glass base, we turned the petals over and capped them with the clear. Our results were different than originally planned but equally as nice. Where the iridized red peeked out from under the clear glass the vase rim had a satin shimmer. The variation in shine added detail that was visually attractive in the finished piece of art. Plus, it added a personalized touch to the artwork.

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Another student wanted to work with powder frit. His project was accidentally bumped after it was loaded in the kiln. The frit moved causing the pattern to be uneven. Luckily, we saw it before firing the glass. The fix was easy. We simply sifted more powder on top of the uneven pattern and then re-traced the design in the frit. In the end, the repair wasn’t noticeable at all. The piece came out beautifully.

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We had a few welcome surprises.

Students were surprised by the amount of glass we used, that they learned how to use saws and the enormous amount of projects completed.

While gluing one of the sculptures together a student and I struggled a bit to get the vertical glass propped up in the position we wanted. We thought we had it. But the next day the glue didn’t hold. Instead of being upright, the fused glass leaned to one side. It wasn’t our intention to make a piece that looked like that. But we decided, unanimously as a class, that we liked the new look. The upside is, we now have a brand new sculptural profile to make in the future.

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Even I learned a few things.

When working on this number of projects the variables and possibility for unexpected surprises are increased. The finished results aren’t always what we planned or expected.

I learned that I have to adjust the temperature on one of my kilns. My Free Flow fusing program was firing too hot. As a result, the kiln wash stuck to the back of the fused glass. The higher heat also increased the amount of texture on the back side which reduced the clarity and shine of the glass. Lowering the fusing temperature would increase the clarity and shine on the backside of the glass. The minor adjustment would improve the vividness of the finished pieces of art.

Predictability is an illusion. We like to think we’re in control, but sometimes things don’t go as expected. No matter how much you prepare, plan and practice, you have to be ready for a few glitches.

I’ve slumped over the same custom mold over a dozen times. I thought I knew what to expect. All the parameters were the same. We used the same type of glass, cut the same size, in the same kiln, using the same slumping program. What could possibly go wrong?

The glass didn’t slump! It refused to conform to the fiber blanket mold. I fired it again and held it longer. No luck. I fired it again and increased the temperature by 10 degrees and the hold by 10 minutes. The glass still hovered above the mold.

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Then it occurred to me in the middle of the night, when I do all of my major problem solving, maybe I forgot something. Yup, operator error. Sucks right! I didn’t line the fiber blanket with ThinFire fiber paper. It acts as a release that allows the glass to slide down into the mold. And that’s why taking notes is so important, even for seasoned professionals. Write it down and then consult your notes before firing. It saves time, money and frustration.

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Lastly, I think I enjoyed the photo shoot of the finished sculptures more than the students. To their credit, it was the end of the last day. They’d been working diligently, stretching their creative minds for 4 full days. It’s no wonder the students were tapped out. They put a lot of energy into making numerous awesome pieces in a short period of time. In total, the three students made more than 20 projects combined! The high res photos are evidence of the impressive work they did.

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They came as strangers but left as friends.

Taking a class here is more than just fusing glass. It’s also about building relationships with other glass artists who have similar ambitions, interests and obstacles. Being in class is about showing pictures of your finished work, talking about how to sell your art and sharing solutions to common problems we all have. It’s a real thrill for me to bring different artists together so we can connect and build lasting friendships.

It was a pleasure to work with this group. I was impressed how the students brought their own artistic style and favorite color palate to the projects. I really enjoyed helping them build on their individual strengths to take their artwork to a higher level of complexity.

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Wherever you are in your artistic journey you’re doing great! But we can all use a little inspiration now and then to re-spark our creative thinking and expand our skills. It’s artistically rejuvenating to give yourself the gift of knowledge, productivity and of course friendship.

Are you ready for a lift? Join me in my next Sculptural Fused Glass, 4-Day Workshop, February 18-21, 2020.

Here’s what the students are saying about the workshop.

“Lisa is very professional, knowledgeable and freakishly talented. House, art, mosaic, her work – really fun and beautiful.”   -Lorna

“Incredible class. Lisa shared her artistic knowledge of color flow and her technical knowledge of glass.”       -Larry

“I had so much fun! Lisa is a great teacher!”       -Brenda

I hope to see you in one of my classes or webinars soon.

Happy fusing!
Lisa

Follow my blog for more tips and tricks!

YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhOifd7wukk
Facebook www.Facebook.com/LisaJVogt

Twitter https://twitter.com/lisajvogt

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lvogt_originalsinglass/

Upcoming Webinars and Classes

IMG_7299

 Creative Slumping Webinar

November 19, 2019

https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1240-creative-slumping-with-lisa-vogt-november-15-2018.html

In this detailed Webinar, I’ll reshape the way you slump and drape glass. See how thinking outside the box and using readymade 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!

Shadow

NEW Fused Glass Sculpture, Webinar January 14, 2020 https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1400-fused-glass-sculptures-made-easy-with-lisa-vogt-jan-14-2020.html

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 Lisa shares.

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 Lisa’s dependable firing programs. And you’ll love the stunning three-dimensional results you can achieve by fusing all of these concepts together.

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.

Flow

NEW Fused Glass Sculpture Webinar, January 16, 2020 https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1398-fused-glass-sculptures-made-easy-with-lisa-vogt-jan-16-2020.html

Description above.

Picture3

NEW CLASS DATE FOR 2020

Sculptural Fused Glass, 4-Day, Hands-on Workshop

February 18 – 21, 2020

Register www.lisavogt.net

Wesley Chapel, Florida, 4-Day, Hands-on, Class size is limited.

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.

In this class 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! Plus, a professional photo shot of your artwork is also included.

Let’s get together and fuse glass! This is the turning-point workshop you’ve been waiting for.

glass-logo-small

Get Ready for the Glass Craft & Bead Expo 2020!

Glass Craft & Bead Expo is the premier Art Glass and Bead Trade Show and Educational Conference.  April 1 – April 5, 2020

Meet me in Vegas! I’m teaching the following classes.

Fired Up! Fusing for the Adventurous

Painting with Frit

Breaking Through – Making Exhibition Quality Art

Sculptural Fused Glass Art

NEW Sculptural Fused Glass DESIGN Made Easy

Get more info here.

People come from all over the world to take classes and view the show floor for all of the latest and most innovative products and services. Las Vegas has been home to the show with it being held for the past eleven (11) years at the South Point Hotel and Conference Center located at 9777 Las Vegas Blvd South.

We offer over 250 specialty classes in hot, warm and cold glass. Our instructors come from all over bringing all their expertise in their respective fields. Our show floor offers everything including the latest types and colors of glass, the most innovative kilns, tools and specialty items.

Video covers - Copy

Watch it NOW! Start fusing today!

Downloadable instructional videos for every skill level.

Book covers

Check out my eBooks for elegant patterns and detailed fusing instructions. 

Interwoven

 

Posted on 2 Comments

What’s new in glass fusing? Skutt’s Touchscreen Controller and KilnLink App!

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Going High-Tech Never Looked So Good

Skutt has done it! Tech finally meets fine art. The Touchscreen Controller and KilnLink App are the ultimate kiln upgrades. With these innovative tools I have infinite control and limitless possibilities at my fingertips.

The Touchscreen Controller is the most ingenious kiln improvement imaginable. Right out of the box, I started firing glass with the easy to navigate, Guided Start firing programs that are test-proven by industry pros. I love the helpful and practical fusing tips that accompany every step of the Guided Start feature. They clarify the different firing processes giving the artist greater confidence. Plus, most screens include a help button for additional descriptions and suggestions.

 

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The Touchscreen Controller’s ease of use is amazing. To get started I press the Begin Here button on the Home screen. This takes me to a new screen with several options including Program. Selecting Program takes me to a screen with: Guided Start, GlassFire, Write New Program, My Programs and Library options. Guided Start leads you step-by-step to a program, by having you select firing options from a given list. It’s so easy, you choose the firing process and heating speed, based on the results you want to achieve and the size/thickness of the project. For more advanced projects, I select the GlassFire option. From there I can quickly customize a pre-set program by adjusting the number of segments, firing rates, and hold times. I use the Write New Program to enter my own custom programs into the controller. At any time, I can retrieve my saved programs with the My Programs option. It doesn’t get easier.

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I like the controller’s large, user-friendly display screen. While firing, it flashes the kiln’s status, temperature and the current stage of the firing process. The fun, color-coded display makes, at-a-glance monitoring easy. A flashing red dot indicates the kiln is firing and the temperature is over 125 degrees and too hot to open safely.  While a flashing blue dot shows the kilns internal temperature is under 125 degrees and it’ll soon be cool enough to open.

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An added visual of the Touchscreen Controller is the graph option which shows the current segment the kiln is in. While firing, I can view the estimated time remaining on the controller display which I use to manage the production time of commission artwork. At any time, I can press the details button to see the current segment, current temperature, target temperature, current rate and target rate of my firing.

There was no downtime. The Touchscreen Controller was fast and easy to install on my Clamshell kiln. The integration into my working production studio and active teaching facility was seamless. Following the well-organized preset prompts in the Write New Program menu option, I quickly entered my own custom firing programs into the controller. The stored programs are saved in My Programs for repeated access at which time I can adjust or change them as I see fit.

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The KilnLink App and Wi-Fi capability are the most innovative features of the Touchscreen Controller. With the app I can monitor my firing kiln on my smartphone anytime from anywhere. The app has a neat, easy to read display with different color screens that change in sync with the stages of the firing process. A gray colored screen indicates the kiln status is idle, orange means it’s firing, while green tells me the firing is complete and it shows the current internal temperature of my kiln. Fast, real-time updates on the app keep me connected to the firing as it happens. The KilnLink App shows me pertinent information about the firing. When my kiln is connected to Wi-Fi and online, I can see the following on my phone: the Program Name (FULL FUSE SMALL), the current Step (Hold 2 of 3), the Set Point (960 degrees), Hold Time remaining (12 min) and Firing Time (5hr 19 min).

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The Touchscreen Controller has impressive functionality. It’s extremely well thought out design offers me features I didn’t know I needed but am thrilled to have at my fingertips. The touchpad is responsive and easy to navigate. It has a wide range of options that give me creative flexibility, as well as confidence to try new advanced techniques.

Touchscreen Controller and KilnLink Apps ease of use, intuitive features and the flexibility of these new and improved tools have inspired new creative ideas for me. Modernizing my firing process gives me renewed artistic freedom to focus my attention on creating exciting new original art.

Fantasy

 

Start firing right away! The controller installation is fast and easy.

Don’t worry about installing your new controller. For easy-to-follow installation instructions visit Skutt’s website where you’ll find helpful videos and manuals. Simply visit Skutt’s website at www.SKUTT.com. Go to SUPPORT, INSTALLATION, Kiln Accessories.

Skutt Touchscreen Controller installation Directions

Resources include: KilnLink Overview and Installation Video with Jim Skutt, KilnLink Manual, KMT/GMT Upgrade Kit Installation Video and KMT/GMT Upgrade Installation Instructions.

The KilnLink Manual PDF walks you through the installation and setup of KilnLink. KilnLink Free App works in conjunction with the WiFi and allows you to monitor your kiln temperature and status from your smartphone.

There are lots of pictures in the printable Touchscreen Controller Upgrade (KMT/GMT) PDF so you can remove and change out the controller wires with confidence.

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We’ve streamlined and updated every other aspect of our lives. It’s a thrill to finally apply modern technology to creating our art. Innovation never looked so good!

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Check out my new video here: Skutt Touchscreen Controller and KilnLink App Installation and Operation

Happy fusing!

Lisa

Follow my blog for more tips and tricks!

YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhOifd7wukk
Facebook www.Facebook.com/LisaJVogt

Twitter https://twitter.com/lisajvogt

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lvogt_originalsinglass/

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Creative Slumping Webinar

November 19, 2019

https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1240-creative-slumping-with-lisa-vogt-november-15-2018.html

In this detailed Webinar, I’ll reshape the way you slump and drape glass. See how thinking outside the box and using readymade 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!

Interwoven

NEW Fused Glass Sculpture, Webinar January 14, 2020 https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1400-fused-glass-sculptures-made-easy-with-lisa-vogt-jan-14-2020.html

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 Lisa shares.

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 Lisa’s dependable firing programs. And you’ll love the stunning three-dimensional results you can achieve by fusing all of these concepts together.

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.

Flow

NEW Fused Glass Sculpture Webinar, January 16, 2020 https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1398-fused-glass-sculptures-made-easy-with-lisa-vogt-jan-16-2020.html

Description above.

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NEW CLASS DATE FOR 2020

Sculptural Fused Glass, 4-Day, Hands-on Workshop

February 18 – 21, 2020

Register www.lisavogt.net

Wesley Chapel, Florida, 4-Day, Hands-on, Class size is limited.

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.

In this class 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! Plus, a professional photo shot of your artwork is also included.

Let’s get together and fuse glass! This is the turning-point workshop you’ve been waiting for.

Video covers - Copy

Watch it NOW! Start fusing today!

Downloadable instructional videos for every skill level.

Book covers

Check out my eBooks for elegant patterns and detailed fusing instructions. 

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Spooktacular Ghost Plate How-to

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the wide variety of fun designs we can make to decorate our homes with a seasonal flare. I like this particular plate for its free-form shape. The graceful curve around the ghost’s head make it jump off the counter. But, don’t let the unusual shape scare you. The subtle contours are actually easy to cut. And, you can always grind the edge to fine tune the shape. Let’s get started.

How-to:

Cut a 10 inch clear circle for the base layer. Using the pattern as a guide, cut the clear glass circle to match the irregular pattern shape. Grind the glass to remove sharp edges and smooth the shape.

Cut white glass to match the clear base layer. Using a wet saw, cut the background around the ghost’s head and arms away.

Pro Tip: No saw needed. If you don’t have a saw, the white ghost layer can be made up of pieces. OR Cut the white layer to match the clear base layer. Then make the shapes that outline the ghost’s head and arms just like the eyes and mouth, with cut navy blue glass.

Tack glue the white layer onto the clear base with a small amount of fuser’s glue. Let the glue dry before moving to the next step. Gluing keeps the white glass from sliding around when you apply the frit.

Spooktacular Plate 10 inch

Glue Tip: I like to use Elmer’s white glue. I apply the smallest amount of glue possible with the tip of a tooth pick. The tiny, pin head size dots of glue burn off during firing without leaving a distracting haze between the glass layers.

Cut the ghost’s eyes and mouth out of navy blue glass. Grind them to improve the shape. Set them aside.

Color Tip: When possible, I prefer to use dark, navy blue instead of black. Black creates a visual hole in the artwork. While the dark blue adds a nice tonal quality that gives the art a more interesting look.

Cut the letters out of bright, seasonal colors. Grind the letters to smooth out the edges. Set them aside.

Once the glue holding the white layer in place is dry, apply the frit. Using a spoon, pour power navy blue frit into the spaces that outline the ghost’s head and arms. Leave enough room to add fine aventurine blue for shading. Next add fine, aventurine blue. Concentrate the darker color on the right side of the openings to create a moody shadow effect.

Using a small, dry paint brush clean any excess frit off the white glass. Be meticulous with your clean up. It’s this type of attention to detail that will make a huge difference in the visual quality of your finished pieces.

Frit Tip: Pile the frit as high as the white glass that contains it. This gives the transparent material strong color saturation, which in turn produces the dramatic, high contrast effect we’re trying to achieve. If you ask yourself, is it enough, add more frit.

Stack the cut glass eyes and mouth on the white layer. Arrange the cut glass letters on the bottom in a semi-circle.

Fire the assembled project to a full fuse temperature using the guide below.

Slump the fused project in a shallow plate mold using the guide below.

Spooky Ghost Plate Glass & Materials

10 Inch Round Plate

Clear glass, 1 sq. ft., for base layer

White glass, 1 sq. ft., for ghost layer

Navy Blue glass, large scrap, for eyes, mouth and shadows

Orange opal glass, scrap, for letters

Teale opal glass, scrap, for letters

Marigold yellow opal glass, scrap, for letters

Amazon green opal glass, scrap, for letters

Navy blue, power frit, for shadows

Aventurine blue, fine frit, for darker shadows

10” slumping mold

Fuser’s glue, small paint brush, spoon

Oceanside Fusible Glass and Bullseye Fusible Glass

Fusing Guide

Segment 1: Ramp 300 F/hr to 1300 and hold 30 min.

Segment 2: Ramp 500F/hr to 1465 and hold 10 min.

Segment 3: Ramp 9999(AFAP*) to 960 and hold 40 min.

Segment 4: Cool to room temperature.

*As fast as possible

Slumping Guide

Segment 1: Ramp 300 F/hr to 1265 and hold 10 min.

Segment 2: Ramp 9999(AFAP*) to 960 and hold 40 min.

Segment 3: Cool to room temperature.

*As fast as possible

NOTE: Kilns fire differently. Test fire these guides in your kiln and then adjust as needed.

Keep being creative. You’re doing great!

Happy Fusing!

Lisa

Follow my blog for more tips and tricks!

YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhOifd7wukk
Facebook www.Facebook.com/LisaJVogt

Twitter https://twitter.com/lisajvogt

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lvogt_originalsinglass/

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Creative Slumping Webinar

November 19, 2019

https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1240-creative-slumping-with-lisa-vogt-november-15-2018.html

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!

Interwoven

NEW Fused Glass Sculpture, Webinar January 14, 2020 https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1400-fused-glass-sculptures-made-easy-with-lisa-vogt-jan-14-2020.html

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 Lisa shares.

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 Lisa’s dependable firing programs. And you’ll love the stunning three-dimensional results you can achieve by fusing all of these concepts together.

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.

Shadow

NEW Fused Glass Sculpture Webinar, January 16, 2020 

https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1398-fused-glass-sculptures-made-easy-with-lisa-vogt-jan-16-2020.html

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 Lisa shares.

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 Lisa’s dependable firing programs. And you’ll love the stunning three-dimensional results you can achieve by fusing all of these concepts together.

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.

Video covers - Copy

Watch it NOW! Start fusing today!

Downloadable instructional videos for every skill level.

Book covers

Check out my eBooks for elegant patterns and detailed fusing instructions. 

DSC_0380

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Ways to Develop Your Own Design Style

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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.

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  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.

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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.

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  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.

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  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,

Lisa

Follow my blog for more tips and tricks!

YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhOifd7wukk
Facebook www.Facebook.com/LisaJVogt

Twitter https://twitter.com/lisajvogt

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lvogt_originalsinglass/

Picture114

Creative Slumping Webinar

November 19, 2019

https://www.glasspatterns.com/glass-patterns-quarterly-store/product/1240-creative-slumping-with-lisa-vogt-november-15-2018.html

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. 

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