Sculpture & Glass Fusion
Sculpture is widely defined, so I would say the basic difference between my fused glass and my sculptural is this: My sculptural glass isn’t designed to be functional, although sometimes that is part of the outcome. Some pieces are ideas I want to convey and others are me coming up with a design concept and enjoying the challenge of how to get the glass to portray it!
"Glass fusing" is defined as the heat bonding of separate pieces of glass in a kiln. Glass fusing is a technique used to join glass pieces together by partly melting the glass at high temperature. The fusion process requires multiple pieces of glass, with a minimum of two. The heating is commonly undertaken in an electric kiln. Instead of fitting glass together using lead solder, two or more pieces of glass are laid on top of or overlapped on each other and are fired at temperatures ranging from 1100 to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit (750 to 850 degrees Celsius).
Any glass will melt in a kiln when you heat it up; fusing glass successfully depends on knowing how different glasses work together. I use a specially formulated glass that comes in many colours and is guaranteed compatible, thereby freeing up my creativity!
Fused glass techniques are generally used to create Art glass, glass tiles and jewellery, and slumping techniques (where glass is laid over a mold, generally made of ceramic or metal and forms to it) allow the creation of larger, functional pieces like dishes, bowls, plates, and vases. Producing functional pieces generally requires 2 or more separate firings, one to fuse the glass and a second slump it to shape. Art pieces such as sculpture or wall hangings may take any number of firings depending upon the effects you are trying to achieve.
Aside from firing the pieces in the kiln, they are generally cold worked as well for the finishing touch or to achieve a desired affect. Cold working involves the use of various grinders and saws and polishers and a lot of elbow grease at times! As well as sandblasting the glass surface, and other design factors such as airbrushing metallic lusters or glass paints.