GLASS FUSING AND FUSED GLASS JEWELRY

It takes years to become a top-notch glass artisan

An artisan needs imagination, patience and a whole lot of skill to create beautiful, unique, fused glass jewelry

The technique of glass fusing and adding decorative elements to create fused glass jewelry like ours takes a great deal of skill and patience. When all the tiny details come together as a whole, each piece is totally unique and will never be repeated again.

Because not many of us may realize what makes a particular art form so special, we thought we’d give our visitors a little background into glass fusing. We take a glimpse at the origins, kiln firing, the cooling process, and how embellishments, such as those on handcrafted designer jewelry,  can be so eye-catching they instantly become a conversation piece wherever and whenever they are seen.

HOW IS FUSED GLASS MADE?

To make it, sheets of glass are placed one on top of the other and fired in a kiln at high temperature. The heat causes them to stick together. The higher the temperature and the longer they are subjected to the heat, the closer the layers of glass fuse. When the surface of the glass is totally smooth and one dimensional, this is known as full fusing.

Tack fusing is when decorative glass elements are added to the surface and fired at lower temperatures, causing them to retain their shape. They can be felt when you run your finger over them. The piece has then become dimensional.

There are many techniques to decorate fused glass

Fused glass plate with superimposed decorative elements

THE BEGINNINGS

Roman bottle example of early glass fusing
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Ancient Roman bottle decorated with twisted fused glass threads, Museum het Valkhof, Netherlands



The rudiments of glass fusing originated in ancient Egypt and nearby biblical lands as far back as 2000 BC. They were then developed by the Romans who used the technique primarily for making small glass objects.

An example of ancient fused glass tile

Glass rods fused together for this millefiori tile, Iraq, circa 836 AD, Louvre Museum

Later, other glass making methods, such as glass blowing, took over, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that fused glass became popular again. When the first independent glass studios emerged in the 1960s, the demand for this technique surged and, fortunately, it's a trend that continues to the present day.

COMPATIBILITY


When the sheets of glass are selected for fusing they need to be of the same COE, or co-efficient-of-expansion, so that they cool at the same rate, otherwise they will fracture or shatter.

Contemporary fused glass bead

Contemporary Krobo bead featuring fused glass fragments

COOLING


The cooling process is usually done in three stages and takes place over a period of around 10 to 12 hours. The first stage is the rapid cool when the temperature of the kiln is reduced over a period of two hours. During the second period – another two hours – the glass is annealed, or heat- soaked, with the objective of achieving equal temperature at the core and around the surface of the glass. Once the temperature is even throughout, the glass remains in the unopened kiln until it reaches room temperature.

A glass artist's kiln

A large kiln for a busy studio glass artist

OTHER ELEMENTS

Unusual wall hanging made of fused glass and fabric

Fused glass wall hanging adorned with ribbons and yarn

There are so many exciting ways to create different effects for fused glass jewelry. It just takes a little imagination and, of course, a whole lot of skill, to come up with something whimsical or meaningful, traditional or outside the box, understated or over-the-top!


Thin fused glass rods decorate the surface of this tile

Thin glass rods, or “stringers,” fused on top of a glass square

Add some metal foil, crinkle paper, a gold image, to the inside; an image, crystal bead accents, wire wrapping to the outside. You now have a fabulous pendant that is truly out of the ordinary and simply pops!


EXCLUSIVITY - OUR GLASS FUSING IS REALLY SPECIAL

Each item of fused glass jewelry that forms part of our Gift Ideas For Her collection is a unique work of art. The decorative elements are added for the second firing by our highly skilled glass artists. They’ve been made exclusively for us and are not available anywhere else. We enjoyed every minute designing and making them just for you. We hope you enjoy looking at them, giving them and wearing them!

MORE T0PICS

Periodically we will be adding pages to showcase a variety of topics about decorative glass but for now you’re invited to visit the section called Dichroic Glass Pendants - Stunning Material Shines, Sparkles. We share a little history behind when and how dichroic glass was made, the interplay of light and color, and how adding just the right amount of sparkle can make a big difference!

OUR GIFT CATALOG

On our Home page we mention that our mission is to support various non-profit organizations so they can continue the great work they are doing in their respective fields, such as health, animals, children and the environment.

This is done by creating unique, handcrafted glass pendants with designs that reflect their aspirations. We are constantly updating our portfolio and, in addition, develop commissioned, limited edition items for both private and corporate fundraising events. Our slogan is right underneath our logo and it reads “every pendant, every time, helps a cause.” Welcome to our
Gift Catalog.

Return to History of Glass Making

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If you ever find yourself in St. Petersburg, FL, we highly recommend a visit to the Morean Arts Center that has many programs for adults, kids, and families, as part of its mission to connect people with art. There are exhibitions in virtually all visuals mediums and numerous workshops and classes are held year-round.

At the Glass Studio and Hotshop, you can learn glass fusing and try your hand at glass blowing as well as buy unique items made by local artists. Try using a potter’s wheel and make clay objects in a matter of a few hours. At the Warhol Portrait Factory, you can even learn how to create your own portrait in the Warhol style.

And, don’t forget to visit the stunning, permanent collection of world-renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly, and admire his large-scale installations up close.

For more information, please visit www.moreanartscenter.org.