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the starting point: sheets of glass

Fused Glass by Gabriele Baumann

Glass fusing is fascinating to me. Not only do I have an amazing variety of colors to choose from, but I can also transform glass into something new through the application of heat and the use of tools.

Fused glass has become a passion of mine within the past five years. The process of fusing glass forces you to plan ahead and be very deliberate about the arrangements. Unlike a painting, that can evolve and be corrected with each brush stroke, glass once set in its arrangement and placed into the kiln for firing, will settle as prepared.

My work is well planned and I take pride in the execution, starting with finding a pattern and matching the colors. After firing (temperatures can vary) kiln glass requires a lot of secondary work or “cold working” that ranges from cutting, grinding, sanding and polishing to sometimes sandblasting – the quality of a piece isn’t only reflected in its initial design, but also in the execution and handcraft that follows. After all that, a second or third firing is necessary where the prepared piece gets slumped into a mold to give it the desired shape.

I am inspired by geometric patterns that can be found in nature and architecture as well as by contemporary designs and re-occurring themes of colors. Once you start looking, it is amazing how many patterns surround us.

I am also fascinated by water and ice and its different formations. You can find elements of this in many of my pieces.

Sheet glass is cut with a strip cutter or with a smaller hand cutter. Many tools, machines and molds are involved in getting the various forms of glass to become bowls, plates, coasters or other art work.
The kiln is the most important tool.  My pieces are often fired two or three times at temperatures between 1250 and 1480 Fahrenheit. Each firing can take up to 24 hours.
A lapidary grinder is a great machine to have in order to make the sharp edges nice and smooth after the glass comes out of the kiln.
Beautiful matte finishes on bowls or plates can be achieved by sandblasting them either before or after the last firing.