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What is fused glass?

IMG_1351.JPGWhat is fused glass?

Glass fusing is the craft of joining together two or more pieces of glass by heating them to around 800 degrees in a special glass kiln.  As the temperature within the kiln becomes higher, the glass becomes softer as it melts. The glass eventually becomes liquid, and the separate pieces flow together. The glass is then carefully and gradually cooled to become one ‘fused’ piece. 

Some fused glass pieces need to be fired more than once in order to achieve the desired look. The fusing and cooling process takes over 12 hours.

To shape the fused glass piece, for example, when making a bowl, the fused glass would then be heated and cooled again in the kiln, this time in a mould. This is a different process called ‘slumping’ and this takes place at a lower temperature.

A brief history of fused glass…

We are not certain about the exact origins of the craft of glass fusing, however archeological evidence suggests that the Ancient Egyptians may have developed the technique around 2000 AD.  Glass fusing was the main method of making small glass objects for around 2,000 years. However, the craft was eventually replaced by the more efficient Roman technique of glass-blowing. By the third century AD, the fusing of glass had become a forgotten craft.

Fused glass techniques were eventually re-discovered in 19th Century Europe and started to become popular again during the 1960s.  Since then, kiln-formed glass techniques have been further developed to include ‘pate de verre’ using a paste created from crushed glass, other glass-casting methods and ‘slumping’