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Shawl 8 of 11: spring sunrise

Walking on broken glass: part 1, the before

I don't like broken glass. Actually it is fair to say that a dropped glass has caused me to flee the room before now. So it was perhaps an unusual decision for me to sign up for London Jewellery School's Fused Glass workshop.

My broken glass issue is to do with a past traumatic event and is something I'd like to be rid off. On the other hand I am enjoying my jewellery adventures. So it seemed a perfect opportunity for a spot of amateur psychology by taking control of how and when the glass is broken and turning it from jagged and dangerous into smooth colourful jewels.

The trays of glass pieces were mini treasure troves of colour that we all just wanted to play with, but there was learning to do. 

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Some of our first goes get ready for firing.

 First we learnt about the correct and safe way to cut glass - something I was quick to get the hang of, challenging myself to cut smaller and smaller pieces. Although I'm not great at square shapes just yet.

Glass 011 Then we started on some techniques.

Fused glass is all about melting the glass in a kiln, so all pieces have to be placed on kiln paper which stops the glass sticking to the kiln shelf.

This allows for one of the simplest techniques; placing a piece of fibre mat under a piece of transparent glass. The glass melts over the mat which burns away to a powder leaving an impression in the glass.

There aren't many finished items in this post, it is very much the before, because of the length of time it takes to fire and cool the pieces, but here you can see an after in the form of a blue moon.

We also experimented with layering up glass with an opaque base, a piece of fancy dichronic glass in the middle and clear on top.

 

Glass 012 I like the effect of this piece but it does show what happens if your top layer is much bigger than the base.

On the other hand if you make it too small you won't get a smooth domed shape.

You can layer other things as well as glass. For example, brass or copper can be sealed between two layers of glass. Or you can use mica powder to create patterns between the layers. And then there are long strips of glass that you can shape in the flame of a candle to create patterns on your glass. 

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 All of these techniques are used in full fusing where all the glass melts together into one shape. Tack fusing joins the pieces of glass you use together but retains their individual shapes.

 

Frits, small glass pieces, can be used in either to create effects. You can layer then on with PVA glue that burns away in the kiln. I'll be interested to see what happens with these experiments.

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Tack fusing also allows you to assemble shards of different colours on scraps of glass to create interestingly textured pieces. I think this is my favourite of the day.

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But there are plenty of options in the pieces I assembled in our "creative play" session towards the end of the day. It will be fascinating to see what works and what unexpected effects appear.

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The results will be revealed, once I have them, in part 2. And then we'll see what jewellery pieces they turn out to be.

 

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