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I run a summer art program in which we did fused glass with kids aged 6 -
12. I also took a workshop on it last fall. We made some wonderful
tropical fish in bright colors and mask-like faces. The pieces can be made
into jewelry, refridgerator magnets, pins or hung in windows as
mini-stained glass. The instructor used all sorts of scraps of glasss from
stained glass and his various glass projects. The pieces were layered on
top of each other in abstract designs or small pictures and held in place
with small dots of carpenters glue applied with a toothpick. (Its a bit
thicker and tackier than elmers and burns off in the firing process.) We
also layered pieces of scrap copper, and thin colored glass filament. When
dry, you can gently pick up the piece and place it in the kiln where it is
fired briefly. The pieces melt just enough to join together but not so
much that they melt completely into one another. For exact firing times
and temps you'd need to consult a book or glass artist, I'm afraid.
At first I was very excited about this thinking I would be able to do it in
my clay kiln with ceramics students. However the glass artist explained
that a specific type of kiln wash is necessary to prevent the pieces from
sticking to the shelves, and the kiln must be absolutely spotless. He
recommended against doing it in the same kiln used for clay. You need a
kiln in which you can tightly control temperature and firing time--he
suggested a computerized kiln.
I have other ideas for applying this process to clay which I haven't tried
yet. Specifically, I'd like to make small clay masks or tiles and leave
indentations in them where I can lay scrap glass to melt in the second
firing. I'd love to hear other ideas about combining these two processes.