How does a piece of fused glass take on life? For me, there are times when I just want to “play” with the materials, and see where it takes me, however, in general I find that if I formulate an image to work toward, the end product is much more satisfying. There is always a bit of room left over for going with the flow, adding some whimsical embellishments, and letting the piece just speak to me.
Here is an example of a start to finish piece using frits and powders as my design elements. First, I find an image that inspires me, either a photo or conglomeration of photos or drawings that speak to me. Then I make a little watercolor image.
This breaks the image down into some limited colors and values for me to work from.
Next, I choose my glass base colors, in this case an opaline white with a second layer of clear, then use a combination of transparent and opaque frits (ground up fusing glass in a range of sizes, from powders to chunks) to “paint” my design. Here are 2 different owl dishes at different stages of frit application
I do literally use a paintbrush, but just as a dry brush to move the frit around and push it into place. You can see that one must use one’s imagination to some extent, so having experience with how the glass behaves informs me as to how it will look after firing.
Here is how the piece looks a first firing. It is now a 5 inch flat round piece.
The final step is to shape the flat piece of glass into the bowl. I use a ceramic mold that I set the glass into, then fire it a third time, at a lower temperature, just enough to allow the glass to “relax” into the mold.
I use this 5 inch round dish as a background for both simple designs and frit animal paintings, as pictured here with more basic design, and my other backyard friends, the flickers.