Following the regular interest I've been getting regarding the designing and making of my pieces, I decided to put my 20-year teaching experience to good use and launch my 'Introduction to glass fusing workshops' in April. The five-hour course aims to teach about glass fusing by encouraging students to produce two or three pieces of their choice.
After a brief talk about safety and how glass changes in the kiln, we get straight into practising cutting the glass before we design and make our first piece: a coaster or a small hanging.
We will be using the same premier quality Bullseye glass from America as I use for my own work so that my students can benefit from its incredible range of colours and shades without worrying about glass compatibility.
As well as getting off to a good start with cutting glass sheets and piecing together designs, making coasters and hangings gives newcomers a chance to get acquainted with the full range of glass media such as sheets, powder, frit (crushed glass) and rods.
Whenever learning a new skill, I feel it is important to give everyone the opportunity to create something they will cherish and be useful as well as attractive.
So, after lunch, students choose a ceramic mould in which their afternoon piece will be slumped after being fully fused. They can choose between a candle screen mould, a large spoon rest mould or various square dish moulds. They can then design their piece in accordance with the mould dimensions and shape as well as the functionality of the piece. Students usually enjoy this opportunity as they can carefully plan the design to match a specific room or location.
It is fascinating to witness the individual thought processes and the focus with which students work as they go through each phase of the design and making. The small classes of four allow for individual attention and guidance and ensure satisfactory progress.
Above are the slumped pieces -dishes and a spoon rest- ready to be sent off to their proud makers :-)
Students' kit: pencil, rubber, ruler and pencil sharpener (for the design phase); right-angle ruler, cutter and safety goggles (for the cutting phase) and safety mask used when handling glass powder.
Students are also given a handout with the information covered on the course and the various firing schedules used.
This Blog aims to share my passion for kiln formed glass as I explore the limitless possibilities of design and technique the medium offers.