Fused glass is possibly the oldest form of glass expression. It is known that naturally occurring glass can be traced back as far as the Stone Age when glass created from volcanoes was used for things such as cutting. Archaeological evidence confirms that fused glass was understood and commonly used by the Egyptians dating as far back as 2000 BCE.
Fusing glass is the practice of melting pieces of glass with the same COE (coefficient of expansion) under high heat causing them to bond together. There are many forms and uses of fused glass. Today fused glass can be both artistic and functional. Artists today are able to create successful pieces with the use of a kiln where they can control the temperature and use quality glass which is certified compatible. To use different pieces of glass which are not compatible, would result in failure. The internal stresses created by using glass pieces with different COE would cause the fused piece to shatter, or crack at best.
Fusing glass takes on several forms such as: tack fusing, slumping , full fusing and raking. Within these categories, there are also sub categories which are controlled by temperature and time. The most common temperatures for general fusing fall between the temperatures of 1100F and 1500F. There are exceptions when doing a pot melt or raking which require a temperature as high as 1700F. Careful control of time and temperature is required to have a successful result.
The artist must have a complete understanding of glass and the internal stresses which can develop during fusing. Glass must be heated and cooled at a controlled rate to prevent thermal shock and to ensure proper annealing of the glass. If the piece is not annealed based on the thickness and surface area of the glass, the piece will crack.
Glass is fused into one piece using several pieces of glass or frit (broken shards of glass, or powder) in a glass kiln. This piece is then often placed into a slumping mold or over a draping mold to form the final shape. This is how bowls, plates, platters, vases and many other pieces of art are created.
Here at TEG, we have several years of experience fusing glass. We can design and create a beautiful piece of glass just for you or your family.