Some Glass Philosophy

  One of the things I love about making fused glass pieces is the frequent opportunities to practice problem solving … if I let the glass get too hot, sometimes it creates a bubble – which I can incorporate into a design, where a 3-D look will work … if a piece gets lopsided, I can re-fuse it – glass gives me second chances … if I get kiln paper ashes on the back of a piece, I can “fix” it many ways – scraping/filing the white off, fusing the piece on top of another piece so the ash doesn’t show, gluing a decorative metal backing on the piece … if a piece cracks, I can add melt it down and fuse again … if my cuts are not straight enough, I can do a wire-wrap to distract the eye … or call it “an artistic choice” – and sometimes it really is! … If a decal doesn’t look right, sometimes I can use another one over the top and re-fire … and sometimes, things don’t turn out how I expected them to, but they will work perfectly for another idea (just not my original one) …

Not all my pieces require this extra TLC … and sometimes, what I thought were mistakes are perfect in themselves, just not what I had planned … Often glass turns a color I didn’t expect when it is fired – which can be disappointing, but it also causes me to let go of imposed limits and perfectionism, and try to see things and value them for what they are, not just what I anticipated … and sometimes, they turn out better than I could have imagined … I try to go with the flow … it’s a good lesson for me, in life, and in glasswork …


Broken but beautiful – transformative power of art


Let’s make a pretty simple glass dish.

Cut one 5 inch square of pretty green & teal & white & aqua System 96 COE glass.

Cut another square.  Pick the prettiest side. Oops, I goofed – now I will have to piece it.

OK, use up the black stringer, since you are piecing things now.

That looks good – fire away!

500 degrees, 1 hour

 1000 degrees, 1 hour

Get sidetracked – uh-oh, 1800 degrees –

Glass is bubbling like lava –

Shut down the kiln, close the lid, walk away…

Peek next morning – no surprise –

Everything is in bits & pieces.

Great, colorful, curvy swirls of color –

Just recycle, reuse, repurpose…

Put bits on a black base, arrange,

Try it again.

Watch temp carefully – wait –

Open the lid & it’s breathtaking & beautiful!

Let it cool slowly, gently, wash & display.

Admire my work.

Next day, a big crack runs through –

Stress fracture in the glass.

I’ll glue it & clamp it, fix it –

It’s still so beautiful –

Like people, even a bit cracked,

Beautiful nonetheless.

We all have scars,

Stress fractures,

Even with a fairly solid base to build on.

Life is sometimes hot, hard work.

We are tried in the fire and made strong.

Not perfect, or without damage,

But beautiful in ways never imagined

Before the blaze.

By Kerry Ellen, 2009