Fusing glass and metal dates back thousands of years to Egyptian times - around 2000 BC. Fusing was the primary method of making small glass objects until the glass blow pipe (pontil) was invented. These pieces were small and generally made for jewellery or small figurines.
This method of heating sand (silica) and colouring agents with metals to very high temperatures was the main method of glass making for 2000 years until it was replaced by the more efficient blowing methods. This remained the case until the 1960's in the USA, when fusing was re-discovered. From here it has grown with the invention of compatible glasses designed for mixing and making fused glass. It grew in popularity in small stained glass studios
Fusing glass must have the same coefficient of expansion (COE) so that when it is melted together, it does not crack as it cools and contracts (differing COEs expand and contract by different amounts). Ranges like the Spectrum Glass - System 96 have been created with a wide selection of colours and accessories that can be mixed to create unique glass designs.
Most methods of fusing involve stacking - layering up sheets of glass and frit (crushed compatible glass) then heating them to in the range of 700 to 800 celcius to fuse and shape the glass rounding and softening the edges. The glass is then cooled and annealed at around 510-540 celcius.
Pieces from jewellery sizes, often with findings glued or fused onto them up to plates, bowls and even glass panels for glazing, can all be made using the fusing technique.
Since the 1970's it has become a popular hobby, with kilns being installed in home studios without massive outlay. Becoming a craft in its own right and adding potential to makers of stained glass windows and in recent times a beautiful art form.
So why not try glass fusing, join us on a taster course or a weekend and see where fused glass can take you!