Monday, October 28, 2019

Adventure 35/50 : Glass fusing workshop

I've always loved glass art, and we live in a place full of beautiful work. For the last several years Wil and I have been slowly adding to our "glass tree" in the back yard. Some pieces are art glass, others are bottles we've collected from around the world. But apart from a couple of brief glass blowing experiences like the pumpkin I made last year, we've never made our own glass art.

Schack Art Center up in Everett is a visual arts center with gallery space, a working glass hot shop, and an amazing gift shop. Every September they hold "Schack-toberfest" where they have a glass pumpkin patch full of thousands of glass pumpkins for sale of all sizes and colors. They also offer seasonally themed glass blowing experiences and a variety of hands-on classes in a wide range of media year round.

I had long eyed a class called "Art in the Garden: Fused Geometric Plant Stakes" because I knew they'd look great in our own "garden of glass". Each student would make three glass panels that would each be affixed to metal rods. Here's the sample photo:

Lovely, right? Well, I'm happy to report that ours turned out just as pretty ... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Wil and I both signed up (we would make SIX STAKES!!!!) and headed up to Everett one morning. We met in the glass studio and Anita, the instructor, showed us the glass we would we using, plus showed us some examples of work done in previous classes for inspiration. Then we were off!

We selected our bases, and then stacked pieces of glass on top. We "affixed" (very tenuously, I thought) the layers using tiny drops of hair spray. Some people were told they were using "way too much" and had to wash their glass and try again so as not to leave too much residue. We didn't get that feedback... which made both of us wonder if we were using enough. But on we went, cutting pieces as needed and putting them on the stakes.

The class was three hours long... but Wil and I were happy and done in just over two. We cleaned up our space and sorta looked at each other ... and decided to go.

We turned in our pre-fused pieces on parchment-paper lined baking trays, with an arrow noting which side was the top (in case it mattered for when the rods were affixed). Here are Wil's

And here are mine:

A few weeks later -- when we got back from Japan -- we went back to pick up our finished pieces... first Wil's:

and then mine:

It was funny to see how the glass softened and flowed, while mainly holding their shapes. But I love that the little thin strips just look like lines, and my pieces kept the jazzy deco feel I was hoping for.

The stakes are happily placed in our garden now, and when the weather gets better (probably next spring, sigh), we'll get to admire them more.

No comments:

Post a Comment