North Devon artist Clare Fisher recently spent two days in the Art Department at school, running glass-fusing workshops with a total of 100 pupils aged 14-16. All the students learnt how to cut and grind glass and each one produced a beautiful fused glass coaster to add to their portfolio.
Clare discovered glass fusing during the final year of her Illustration degree at the local college of Further Education and fell in love with the beautiful translucent effects she was able to achieve, and the tactile quality of her finished pieces. Now Clare has her own business, Clare Fisher Glass, and exhibits her work in galleries throughout the region and further afield, as well as selling bespoke and collection pieces from her website.
So, what is glass fusing?
Well, basically, it is a method of layering glass to make designs, patterns or pictures, then firing it in a kiln at an extremely high temperature (around 800°C) so that the separate constituents melt and fuse together into one.
The type of glass we used is Bullseye Glass, which is specially designed for fusing and comes in a huge range of varieties including clear, coloured, opalescent, tinted, iridised, textured, dichroic, granular (frit), stranded (stringer) and confetti. By shopping wisely at a local glass supplier we were able to offer our students a good variety of glass products as well as copper foil and glassline pens and keep within our tight budget.
The students just had to come up with a design to fit with their current project (Africa for some and Nature for others) then cut their glass as required and assemble their work of art. All the glass component pieces were held in place with glue then the coasters were stacked carefully into the kiln. The glass was fired in five loads in our regular clay kiln which had been programmed especially for its new found use.
We love the end results. The coasters are bright, inventive, tactile and beautiful. In just 2 hours, each one of our Art students learned a new skill and made a lovely addition to their portfolio of work. A small sample appears on this page.