Fused Glass Coasters





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Uploaded on Oct 12, 2011

Ken Kraft, Yankee Publishing's treasurer, shares his method for creating fused glass art. For more, go to: YankeeMagazine.com


Hi, my name is Ken Kraft. I am Treasurer of Yankee Publishing, and for the last seven years or so, I've been interested in creating fused glass art. Fused glass is different from hot glass in that hot glass is done using a glass furnace where an artist will blow glass, creating either a bowl or a goblet, whereas fused glass is done where the glass is worked cold. You cut the glass, and layer it, and place it in the kiln for firing.

For quite some time now I have harbored an interest in nautical themes, largely because of the fish on the wall. Nautical glass is based on nautical themes where I find glass that reacts with one another and creates shading where the two pieces of glass meet. Today, I'm going to show you how I make my glass coasters.

The first thing I do is pick out the color of the glass I want to use, and I put it on a cutting mat and score the glass with a glass cutter. Using a glass breaking tool, I break the glass into a 4x4 piece. After repeating the process with a cream colored glass, I then cut it corner to corner to cut the triangles. With a similar process, I then cut a 4x4 clear piece to use as the base of the coaster. Depending on your cutting skills, you may need to wet-sand down some of the edges using a disc sander. I also then round the corners of the glass to avoid any sharp edges when the piece is fired. I then wash the glass using a pair of latex gloves to avoid getting any fingerprints on the clean glass. I then arrange the pieces of the coaster like a puzzle with one piece on top of the other so they are tightly fit together for placement in the kiln.

So, this is my kiln, and you initially have to start by putting a kiln wash or a piece of shelf-paper on the shelf, so that when the glass melts, it doesn't stick to the shelf. I prefer to use shelf-paper, so I cut these the size of the shelf. I place them on the shelf. Then, I proceed to load the kiln with my glass, trying not to have it fall. Once in the kiln, you just make sure that the pieces are put together snugly and that the top layer is directly over the bottom layer so that it all fuses together nicely. Once you're ready to go, you close the lid gently.

Today we're going to do what's called a full fuse. I have a program that I've set up that allows me to slowly heat up the kiln and slowly cool down the kiln. I recall the program, and it's program number 3, and I hit enter, and you're ready to hit "start" and have it start.

And so, we're ready to open the kiln. For me, this is the best part. It's like Christmas morning, going downstairs, seeing the brightly colored packages under the tree. Here we go. Voila! We have a set of finished coasters. We have four perfectly formed coasters. Thank you for letting me share my passion with you today, and if you have a passion, please share it with us at YankeeMagazine.com.


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