I didn’t plan on getting obsessed with stringers, but it happened.  My original goal was just to create something different and bold for a wedding present.  I found a tutorial using stringers and made my first obsessive plate.  It ended up exactly as I had hoped and wanted.  Sorry, but I can’t explain the how of this one since I got it from a paid tutorial from Vitrium Studio if you too want to buy.


This then took me down the path of other tests with stringers.  I have often obsessed over Richard Parrish’s tapestry projects .

So I set out to create a geometric.  I made two part sheets of stringers and decided to use the blue one for this project.  Many and many hours later, I had cut and pieced it together to get something similar to what I have seen Richard produce.  I am guessing I did not do this exactly how he creates his, either that or he is a very, very patient person.  I am not, so this may be a one and only for me.  Here were my basic steps (not including my hours of figuring out how to cut and place the pieces):

Tapestry based on work by Richard Parrish

  1. For the part sheet, I used 3mm sheet glass and then placed quite tightly different colors of blue/grey/lavender/pink stringers using Glastac to keep them all in place.
  2. After an initial tack fuse to get my part sheet, I then started cutting it into strips and aligning.  Each strip was 1/2” wide and I needed many more strips than the size of the plate as I had to use bottoms of some, tops of others and so forth all in an effort to get the chevron pattern that I wanted.
  3. When I was finally ready to fuse again, to keep the stringers as straight as possible, I put the part sheet with the stringers down onto the kiln shelf and then added a 3mm clear sheet on top and dammed the whole thing.  Again I only went to a tack fuse at 1350 degrees F.
  4. Now you get to choose which side you like better.  I liked the look of the piece when looking through the clear as it gave it more depth, so I left it facing the way I had fused it with clear on top.  I might have been able to combine steps 3 and 4, but I really wanted to ensure that I keep my lines straight and so usually a tack fuse before the full fuse usually works best for me.
  5. I then ground my edges to get them all even and re-fired this time to an almost full fuse to get a nice even and smooth edge.

For the second part sheet I had made, I wanted something easier meaning less hours trying to get the right pieces lined up correctly.  So I decided to cut the strips wider and on an angle.  As I was laying them on the workbench, some were up and some were down and it looked quite cool.  So I decided to fire them that way, however this time I wasn’t sure how to keep the stringers straight as some would be facing down and others facing up.  Here are my steps:

Zig Zags

  1. I used 3mm sheet glass and then placed quite tightly different colors of red/orange/yellow stringers using Glastac to keep them all in place.
  2. After an initial tack fuse to get my part sheet, I then started cutting it into diagonal strips and aligning.
  3. In the kiln, I placed a sheet of 3mm clear on the shelf and then placed every other strip face up and the remaining face down.  I didn’t bother constraining it this time but again only took it to a tack fuse at 1350 degrees.
  4. This one looked the most interesting looking at it from the top where some of the strips had clear on the bottom and top and the others had two clears on the bottom but just the stringers facing up.  If I flipped it over the stringers just seemed lost.  However the top was not as smooth as I would like, but had a very interesting effect and one I wanted to keep.
  5. I ground my edges to get them all even and re-fired but kept it at a contour fused to not distort the stringers and keep the effect I liked.

If you zoom in and look closely you can see that where the stringers were sandwiched between the bottom clear sheet and clear on top, they did distort a little but it gives a very interesting effect as it leads your eye to the next piece.

Hope you enjoy these projects!  Give them a try sometime and let me know how yours turn out.

Last year I was given a commission to make quite a few drop vases for a wonderful older woman.  Over time, her requests changed often and so for quite some time I continued to make them in many colors and schemes to meet her needs.  Of course, I couldn’t help throw some tests into the mix as I wondered what would happen under various circumstances.

Drop Vases










More Drop Vases

As an example, I was curious what would happen to stringers as they dropped into the vase.  So I made my circle disk with a cross pattern of stringers.  The drop was fascinating as some of them expanded and stretched as they dropped.

Drop Vase with Stringers

I then wondered what would happen with a circle with a pattern of bubbles.  I made my circle disk first using Bullseye reeded glass getting the regular pattern of bubbles throughout.  When it dropped, those bubbles toward the bottom had the most stretch.  And even though it is clear, it is very cool!

Drop Vases with Bubbles

Now, for the accident.  What happens when you totally forget to watch the drop and stop it at the right time?  I remembered about 2 hours later!  While not what I wanted or expected, it actually ended up being a very interesting piece.  It seems solid and is water tight so can be used as a real vase, but it is also very thin and definitely not something I would sell.  Perhaps though through more testing, I can find an in between where it is still different and cool, but at the same time not so fragile.

My Accident – Dropped Too Long

What other suggestions for tests on drop vases do you have?

I love the Creative Paradise texture molds and since I live on the West Coast, the mold with a lighthouse and sailboats is quite popular.  My typical way of using some of these texture molds is to put a piece of Bullseye Iridized Glass face down on the prepared mold, sift some clear powder on the sheet to prevent bubbles and then top with a sheet of clear glass taking it to a full fuse.

I then slump the finished plate onto a mold with cupped sides for a finished platter.

Mold with Sheet Glass

Mold with Sheet Glass

I was getting bored doing the same thing each time, although I did try many different iridized blues, so decided to try something new for me.  I used frit to fill in the mold cavities trying different colors for the water, sky etc.  Then added 2 layers of 3mm clear on top with a fine sifting of clear powder between and fired.

On my first attempt, I didn’t have enough frit and so added more and refired the piece.  Not sure if this will happen every time, but I ended up with a nice large bubble.  Perhaps I should try to get it right on the first firing!  I redid my frit attempt making sure to add enough frit as well as more saturated colors and it worked perfectly.  I used a gold pen to outline the sailboats and lighthouse before slumping it onto a double curve mold.  It sold immediately!

Mold with Frit and Clear Glass

Mold with Frit and Clear Glass

Of course I had to try yet another way!  This time, I decided to use sheet glass colors to match the color of the sky and water enhanced with some frit.  I then cut the shapes of the lighthouse and sailboats out using my ring saw and inserted clear glass for the shapes.   For this variant, I first full fused the two layers of glass before adding to the mold.   My lesson learned was that glass spreads a little at full fuse and so my lighthouse and sailboat shapes ended up being a little larger than that on the mold, but careful placement of extra frit when adding to the mold and the gold pen makes it look fine.

Mold with Cut Sheet Glass and Frit

Mold with Cut Sheet Glass and Frit

If you haven’t tried one of these texture molds, give it a try. Three different looks all with the same mold. So many ways to use them and be creative!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!  I hope everyone has a safe and cheerful holiday season.

This year, I was lucky to be the Featured Artist in December at one of the galleries (Backstreet Gallery) where I sell my fused glass art. This means I have an extra space in the front window in which I can show new and different items to feature and of course, holiday themed is good. Some are ornaments which we hung from the top of the window.

I have used many Colour de Verre molds over the years and tried two new ones this year, Holiday Tree and Stocking and Stars.  I liked leaving them hollow but also tried the idea in their tutorial for filling them in. Wow! Very cool!

My other new try was to make some tree ornaments but rather than hanging them, I added a copper wire before firing, made some squares out of fancy wood, drilled a hole for the wire and then stuck the wires in the wood for a standing tree decoration.

I used both 12 gauge and 14 gauge wire on the trees; 12 gauge is probably better as it will be sturdier. I flatten the wire on the end I plan to put between two pieces of glass, however this step is not required. The outside of the copper wire exposed to air will flake off in the kiln and you will need to vacuum the flakes, but the copper itself will be just fine. After removing the glass piece from the kiln, sand the wire to remove any of the black copper oxide flakes (I used 220 grit) and then lightly hammer the wire to harden it as heating the wire softens the wire and you want it to stand firm.

Holiday Fused Glass Trees on Wood

You can scrap wood, nice wood, plastic … I used a fancier wood, but it was a large scrap piece. I cut the wood into squares and then drilled a hole in their center very slightly bigger than the wire as I didn’t want much play but I also didn’t want to have to use force to get the wire into the wood. I also added a little glue on the wire so it would hold firm in the wood. Very easy to make and people loved them!

Hope you have a wonderful 2019 and for all you fusers, Happy Fusing!

Sometimes it feels good to use a hammer.  Even if it is glass when it has a purpose and I don’t mean frustration.

A customer favorite plate involves using a hammer to break the glass.  I cut the background piece to the right size for the mold and then cut the inside piece 3/4” to 1” less.

Hammer Plate (Black Irid on White Glass)

Hammer Plate (Black Irid on White Glass)

To hammer the piece, it works best when the glass you want to break is on a hard surface like a piece of plywood.  Lay on top of the glass a piece of thick paper like the paper used to wrap glass.  Grab a hammer and a center punch.  It can be a pointy one or not so pointy.  If you want to try to crack the glass right in the center, then you need to align the center punch with exactly where you want it to crack.  Take a good whack with the hammer and it should crack. (Oh, I should have warned you to make sure you have your safety glasses on.)

Remove the paper and check out your pieces.  The good and bad of this process is you don’t always get it to crack as you wanted, but I have found almost all cracks interesting.  See the two different pieces for which I basically did the same thing but got different results.  

Carefully move the pieces onto a piece of cardboard to transport to your workbench.

I sometimes grind the edges just to remove sharp little shards.   Then clean each piece, lay on the base layer of glass and if you want you can glue each piece down.  I use Bullseye Glastac, but you can also use Elmer’s glue.  In my kiln, I fuse the piece to 1380 degrees F because I want the edges to round, but I don’t want the pieces to fully fuse and instead have a nice contour.

Give it a try and enjoy.

I am a member of a Co-op Art Gallery, Backstreet Gallery.  Every year we do a community challenge to give the local artists a chance to branch out of their artistic comfort zone and try something new and then display/sell their artwork at our gallery.   This summer’s challenge was ‘Bots and Beguiling Beings.  I immediately thought of robots and trying to make them stand-up on their own weight. 

Lucy and Leonid, Fused Glass Robots

I did a sample test first with clear glass, two feet and a rectangle above connecting them with 14g copper wire and it worked great.

I had saved some leftover house copper wiring scraps when we were doing house projects and therefore had scraps of 12g and 14g as well as a spool of 18g and 24g from jewelry projects. The copper wire will come out of the kiln after firing with scale on it and you will need to sand it off unless you like that look. 

I cut 3” lengths for the legs and arms, and then 2.5” for the neck and ears. I used mostly the 14g scraps and then 24g for Lucy’s hair. In hindsight, I had intended to twist the necks but then decided not to, so I would make the necks slightly shorter. The glass should fuse right around the wire at a full fuse, but to make it nicer looking, I used a hydraulic press to flatten the ends of the wire first before sandwiching between the two layers of glass.  You can also accomplish this with a hammer.

I read that the best way to clean the wire before fusing was salt and vinegar, so I made a small bath and soaked the wire before fusing.

I first fused those pieces of glass that I wanted to fully fuse with the copper, so the head, body and feet.  I then tack fused the extra’s like eyes, mouth, buttons, lace, shoe strings and bows for Lucy.

The hardest part was probably sanding the copper wire after firing using 220 grit sandpaper. I was just a little paranoid that I would break the glass as I sanded, but I sanded while the piece was still lying flat on my work surface to make it easier.

To stand Lucy and Leonid up, I used a piece of 3/4” pvc pipe to curve the legs and adjusted them a little until they were self-supporting.

I didn’t want people poking themselves on Lucy’s hair, so I used a propane flame to round their ends. If you hold the tip of the copper wire in a flame it will ball up into a tiny bead. Then I twirled the wire around a thin metal stick to curl it.

I found some matching glass beads for their hands and added them to the arm wires.  It took me awhile to figure out how to decorate Leonid’s ears and head. I finally decided that coils of copper would be right.

I had a lot of fun making Lucy and Leonid.  Hope you enjoy them and try something new yourself this summer!

I have been fascinated recently with all things “holey” meaning using the glass in ways to create holes.  I started with a tutorial for sand dollar plates (more on this in a future blog) and then morphed to using strips of glass next to each other in a single layer trying to create a “holey” look and then putting this on top of a platter.

Examples of Platters with Fused Glass Strips or Stringers

I later came across several posts on Fused Glass Fanatics in Facebook using stringers (instead of glass strips) to create an even more ethereal look and became hooked.  Again I used this on some platters but then wondered what it would be like on a drop vase on the outside so I could easily see the effect and I loved it. 

Drop Vase with Glass Stringers


Here are the steps for both the glass strips and stringers:

1) For glass strips I cut 1/4” wide strips same as you would do for a strip plate where you put the strips on edge.  If you break one, don’t worry, just put it together in the kiln.  It will separate when fired but since you want holes this only adds to it.   For stringers, just cut them all the length you want and it is okay to mix 1mm and 2mm stringers.

2) Lay them all next to each other in the kiln and fire.   I will have to say that the lay-up of the stringers in a circle took me an inordinate amount of time, more than expected.  

Lay-up of Glass Strips in Kiln before Firing

Lay-up of Stringers in Kiln before Firing

Here is my schedule:

Ramp     Temperature     Hold Time

500        1050 F                 1 hr

500        1455 F                 10 minutes

AFAP     900 F                  1 hr

100         700 F                  10 minutes

3) After firing, clean your fused piece very carefully to remove any residual kiln wash or fiber paper.

4) When adding to a plate or coaster, I found I got less distortion of the edges of the plate from 3 layers if I first fused the two full sheets together. After making sure I had straight edges, I placed the fired “holey” strips on that plate either doing a tack fuse or full fuse and the edges stayed straight. 

5) Often these strip plates look better with a matte finish, so I then sandblast the whole thing and slump it which is the perfect temperature to keep the matte finish.  Sandblasting if often necessary anyway because I didn’t get off all the kiln wash before the second fire and I needed to fix the result. So I usually sandblast even if I want a glossy finish.

For the drop vase I wanted to use excess pieces of stringers from the plates as I had lots of smaller pieces which seemed perfect for a 6” circle. After I had fused the strips in a circle, I then fused it onto a layer of black and clear glass, and last I flipped and fused some random excess pieces of stringers to the other side so both sides of the vase were interesting. 

After firing on Black Base before Dropping

One last comment is that I tested the initial stringer fusing both on kiln wash and thin fire paper to see which was better. As far as the appearance after firing and getting a nice separation, you can see in the picture below for the twop two pieces that it did not matter. However, for clean up afterwards and making sure the resulting glass was clean before adding to a plate, the thin fire won this test as it is much easier to clean and perhaps not always require sandblasting. 

No Visible Difference between using Kiln Wash and Thin Fire

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