Saturday, February 25, 2012

fused glass slab-to-vessel process explained (with video!)

I made this vase a few months ago, and a friend fell deeply and completely in love with it. The vessel seemed to want to be with her, so I johnny-on-the-spot gave it to her. Ah, the pleasures of passing it on.

As I had forgotten to add it to the gallery of photos of my other glass vessels, I popped into my Portfolio (top right column in my blog), and added the photo of this now-departed piece.

As I revisited each vessel in the portfolio, I recalled how so many people wanted an explanation of how the glass blower and I work together to create these dimensional works.

So I added this explanation to the Portfolio:

Fused Glass, Rolled and Blown

Each glass vessel pictured here was the result of a multi-step process. First, I created a flat half- inch thick piece of fused glass, usually 8" x 10". This step can require up to three different firings in my kiln.

Next, I give this flat fused glass piece to Seattle master glass blower Ryan Staub, along with a drawing of the shape I want this vessel to take. Note: Ryan just returned from his own solo show in Taiwan. To see many examples of Ryan's own master works, visit his website at                                                                                       

Ryan uses glassblowing techniques to change the flat fused glass into a vessel with volume. The flat design thus alters as the glass expands into its final shape. 

You can see Ryan doing a "rollup," (the term for this process) in this You Tube video filmed in Oregon. He is working on another artist's flat piece and creating a vessel from it:

This process was developed by glass artist (and my teacher!) Patty Gray and her compadres. 

Her website is 

and  features her work --  and her complete teaching schedule is just a click away. Patty and Ryan are the absolute best at what they do. Period. 

Working with the best in any field is a supreme experience. Teenagers today would say it's "amazing," but to those young'uns, everything is "amazing." But Patty and Ryan are truly amazing, in the best 1970s sense of the word.

I hope you hop over to the You Tube video. It is about 15 minutes long, and I promise you will be mesmerized by the dance these glass artists engage in as they give volume to the flat fused glass panel. 

Most of my past posts have included "before" photos of each fused glass design, and pix as well of the whole shebang with volume. 

There's a lot to learn in this enterprise, so my brain is at present, anyway, warding off any dementia that might creep in from lack of using my dear old cerebral cortex.  

Here's my fave vase so far...


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