Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I just returned from a three day glass fusing workshop in San Diego where I learned new methods that have thrilling potential for application to art quilting. One process we learned was how to make glass tiles using a cast form that can be used multiple times.

Time crunches in these classes make it difficult to produce "art" per se, as we are learning the intricacies of many different glass formation processes in rapid succession. (That's my excuse for my less than startlingly spectacular designs...)

My test tile is shown above -- I started by tracing the end of a long cake spatula and developed the design from there, with an homage to the geometric forms of Frank Lloyd Wright, with some branch-y curves added for good measure.

In this process, we first made our square casting and cured it in the kiln. The next day, we created our designs with sculpting tools. The only clay play I have ever experienced was some frustrating attempts to remove playdough off the carseat covers on an old Buick, so this was an extreme adventure for me.

Ground glass (known as frit) is added to the form. Here (above) is the piece after I filled the carvings with frit. I used a navy blue frit in some places, amber in others. The solid glass amber pieces are known as 'noodles,' named after fettucini, no doubt.

After firing, the design will be raised on the flat tile (I hope).

The tile is surrounded with a 'dam' to keep the sides contained in the kiln. I backfilled my piece with various sizes of clear frit, and topped with 'pillows' of clear glass. These will even out in the firing process.

The piece took some time to fire, so they will be ready sometime today or tomorrow. The studio will ship students their finished pieces. Stay tuned for photos of my first adventure in glass tiles!

Applications to art quilts? Thin tiles can be attached to textiles in the same fashion I have used before --drilling holes in the glass and attaching it with fishing line onto a Plexiglas backing.

Wouldn't it be fun to replicate the tile design in fabric and juxtapose the designs for an interplay between the cold glossiness of glass and the warm matte nature of textiles? Possibilities abound...


Vivien said...

Very intriguing! Will the colors of the noodles, etc still look the same after they've baked? Looking forward to seeing the pics.

Judy said...

Glad you enjoyed your class. I missed you at FV. Congrats on the great QA article.

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