No Mistakes – only recycling opportunities

finish each day and be done with it.  you have done what you could.  some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  tomorrow is a new day.  you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every fused glass artist knows – breakage happens.   If you mix incompatible glass – if you cool too quickly – you can get stress fractures and cracks.  It can be very disappointing – especially if you’ve already put time & effort into the piece – but it is not the end.

Glass gives you seceond chances – you can recycle it and try again – as often as you dare.  It is a forgiving medium (karma’s way of making up for the cuts and burns fusers deal with?) 

Don’t cry over broken glass – it’s just an opportunity to recycle it & start fresh!

Confessions of a Glass Fuser: I am a Work in Progress


Even if I get it too hot, too fast, and shock the glass.

There’s a big mess –

The glass cracks, breaks, shatters, pops, and bubbles.

If you touch the glass then,

In the aftermath of its state of shock,

You can get burnt or cut.

Pain is part of my work process.

But if you calm down, be more careful, give it some time –

Let it cool gently, sweep up the cullet with care,

Glass lets you try again,

Using what you’ve learned,

(take it easy, take it slow,

think it through, plan ahead,

Let the process work for you this time):

The broken pieces can be recycled,

re-used, remelted, reformed,

Made into something new and beautiful,

With clarity and character,

And a story of survival to tell.

By Kerry Ellen

self-portrait in broken glass

I play with broken glass and burn it because I want to make something that did not exist before. I want to give, not just take. I want to say here, look at this, this color, this shape, this texture, did you ever see it quite this way before?
I fuse glass because honestly, I can’t paint or draw very well but I still want to engage, tell myself yes, I see the flower, I see it well enough I want to memorize it in glass, and show someone else what I see.
I make glass objects because they are little miracles that I can say I helped along…I stacked the glass, I chose the colors, I decided hot long and how hot – I made some choices, and some of them were good.
I am teaching myself about glass and my kiln and heat and gravity because I like to learn and because the possibilities are endless, you can do so much with so little, just by giving it some time and attention and process and the right temperatures.
I play with glass and fire because it lets me go at my own pace, make mistakes, doesn’t yell, doesn’t criticize, doesn’t demand perfection. If I don’t like how something turns out, I can usually melt it down and re-use it. A very forgiving medium.
Out of sand and ash I can create little works of art. Without destroying or hurting anything else while I do it. My little pendants and dishes will not change the world on any grand scale, but on the day-to-day level, they make my world a better place to be – more beauty, more sparkle, more light, more attention to something made with my own hands, not machined or fabricated by unknown hands, just cut and placed and fired and formed right in my own home, with a love for the process of learning, little regard for the bottom line, something I can succeed or fail at and it won’t damage anyone – just something I can call my own, and share when I choose to.
I’ve been given a gift for design and the ability to create. I enjoy the work and am at peace while cutting, measuring, glueing, sanding – it’s something I can give back. Something I can plan, and dream about, and hold what was once just an idea in my own hand.
By Kerry Ellen, 7/14/10