Teaching the Old Dog New Tricks

Art glass grinning dog

Grinning Dog

by Lynn Bridge

I hope that today’s post amuses you AND encourages you to stretch out and try something new.

In anticipation of taking a class from the British mosaic artist Martin Cheek (in Austin in February), I needed to learn how to make my own fused glass objects to be used in mosaic-making.  My closest reliable source of instruction and inspiration is Blue Moon Glassworks, so that is where I’m taking the class.

The class title is “Beginning Fusing and Slumping”, which sounds like a couple of teenagers in the back seat of a car.  However, this is about GLASS, and the fusing together of various glass pieces, and the shaping of them while draped over molds, all takes place in a very hot fusing kiln.

Last night was my third class and already, my head is full!

The first night’s project (mine was the grinning dog) was the slumping of glass over forms we cut out of felted ceramic fiber cloth.  As the class was assembling in the shop, someone mentioned a dog in conversation, so this triggered my idea of cutting the dog shapes from the ceramic cloth.  My piece was cut in three layers, with the tip of the nose being the highest.


fused glass mask-design dish made by Lynn Bridge

Mask Dish

by Lynn Bridge

The second night’s project was fusing layers of glass to a clear 6″ square of glass.  (We have used clear glass for our bases because it is the cheapest glass, and we are, of course, BEGINNERS.)  Our teachers then fused and slumped our projects in the kiln over dish-shaped molds.

Iridized glass is the dark side of my dish, so it has a golden sheen to it.  Opaque white glass is the other side of the dish, and in fact, when I was cutting, the break did not follow my score line, so I had to go to Plan B.  This was piecing two smaller areas of white glass together and adding a stringer of white glass in the seam.  It might be a better composition, and certainly more dynamic, than my original plan.

The face is made from blue and white 1 mm diameter glass rods, called ‘stringer’.  My last addition was little flakes of glass in translucent white and green sprinkled outside the area of the face.  I was designing the face to be a slightly wacky, but representational person, but it turned out to look much more like a mask, and so be it.

How do you feel about experimenting and trying something new?  Is it scary or energizing?