This site is brought to you by Helios Kiln Glass Studio in Austin, TX.
What is "Fused" Glass?
There are many forms of glass art. Fused glass is one of them.
The basic idea behind fused glass is that art objects can be created by melting glass in a kiln. That simple idea is behind hundreds of techniques.
Fused glass (sometimes called kilnformed, warm or, kiln-glass) is an accessible and rewarding art form for many people around the world - and it is growing quickly in popularity.
Unlike stained glass, fused glass has no "lead lines". Dimensional (non-flat) pieces can be created without having cut and assemble hundreds of smaller pieces.
Unlike blown glass, the learning curve is relatively short, there are far fewer physical demands on the artist, and anyone's garage can be converted into a well equipped fused glass studio.
Below are descriptions of several of the fundamental kilnformed glass techniques.
Fused: Two or more pieces of glass are placed in the kiln and heated until they fuse together into a single piece.
Slumped (or draped): Glass is placed over a mold and heated until it slumps into (or drapes over) the shape. Frequently the glass being slumped has design elements already fused to it.
Cast: The glass is melted so that it flows into a mold. There are many variations of glass casting, including lost wax and pate de verre. Cast glass objects are typically thick and dimensional.
All kilnformed glass...
...has in common that the art objects are created in a kiln. While ceramic kilns can be used, most kilnformed glass artists use kilns specifically built for glass. Differences between ceramic and glass kilns include temperature ranges and heating element placement. Additionally, because of the demands of firing glass, glass kilns today typically operate under the direction of a computerized kiln controller.
The possibilities for the kiln artist are endless.
There are also hundreds of studios and shops that offer classes. To locate teachers in your area check your phone book for stained glass studios since many offer both stained glass and kilnformed glass classes. You can also ask for a recommendation on this site's forum.