The use of “powder wafers” is a process for creating surface decorations on kiln-formed glass. Bob Leatherbarrow, a kiln-formed glass artist from Calgary, Canada, is widely credited with developing this technique.
Powder wafers (such as the leaf in the example to the right) are created by sifting glass powder directly onto a kiln shelf and then firing to an appropriate temperature at which point the powder is fused into a single – and fragile — piece of glass. The exact firing schedule varies greatly depending on powders used, the desired effect and the specific kiln being used.
A wide variety of designs and effects can be achieved using different sifters, tools, stencils and more. Leatherbarrow actually uses a vacuum as a tool in some of his work.
A key advantage to powder wafers is the ability to create design elements and then place and move them on the glass before committing to a design. Once a final position is determined, powder wafers are usually fused to a piece of sheet glass.