On the 30th of November I attended a glass fusing workshop hosted by Sheena Hallybone from PaperCutzGlass with my mum and a few friends. Glass fusing is a technique used to make a piece of art by arranging, gluing, and then fusing pieces of glass together at a high temperature in a kiln.
Sheena demonstrated how to use the tools and what they are called. There were three tools:
- A Glass Cutter makes a mark on the glass for the Running Pliers. The line can be straight, wavy or curved.
- Running Pliers snap the glass along the mark the Glass Cutter has made.
- Grozing Pliers, or ‘Nibblers’, are used to take small corners off and chip away at the glass.
We were given a small square of clear glass each to practice using the tools on, and after we finished practicing Sheena explained that we would have a large piece of clear glass each to arrange our coloured pieces on, which could be divided in different ways to make coasters, candle screens, long suncatchers or shorter tree decorations. She also showed us some of the art she made and what other people had made before in the workshop. I chose to make a coaster and 2 sun catchers.
I decided to make a Zelda-themed sun catcher first. I planned it out on paper first then chose what colour glass to use for it. It is decorated with three Ocarina of Time style fairies. I took too long to make this one because making circles is a complicated process of first cutting squares, marking and cutting off corners, then nibbling around the corners to round them off. This meant I didn’t have much time left to make my other two glass fusing pieces. I do think it looks really good and so I’m glad I spent time getting it right.
For my other sun-catcher I used scrap pieces of glass organized by colour to make rainbow stripes. I was inspired to make this by some of Sheena’s rainbow style suncatchers that were hanging up around us. I used black frits (small granules of glass) to decorate the background.
My coaster is also Zelda-themed and shows a Triforce. I used triangles of paper to cover the area I wanted to leave transparent and sprinkled multicoloured frits and leftover small shards of glass over a layer of glue, then took the paper away. This didn’t take long to do and gives a really pretty effect.
We had to leave our pieces with Sheena so she could fire them in her kiln (there are photos of some of the unfired pieces at the bottom of this post). She added hooks to them so I can hang them up. Yesterday we were able to pick them up from her shop in Plymouth City Market. They were wrapped carefully in bubble wrap and I was really excited to open them up. I had tons of fun during the workshop and I’m really happy with how my fused glass pieces turned out. I would recommend the workshop to any creative people and hope to do it again sometime.