Nancy WadeltonGlasswork [email protected]
A simple description of the glass fusing process is arranging pieces of art glass in a pleasing and artistic manner, using a kiln to join them together permanently. The glass must be tested to be sure it is compatible. The scientific term for this is coefficient of expansion but in layman terms this means that the different pieces of glass expand and contract at the same rate during the change in temperature in the kiln. To avoid shocking and breaking the glass, a controlled heat is applied in the kiln. The glass will start to “soften” at approximately 1250 degrees Fahrenheit and will fuse fully at 1465 degrees. The glass must then be slowly cooled (annealed) to relieve any strain that has occurred during the fusing process.
Various forms of glass are used during the fusing process. I use flat pieces of glass cut to the precise shape of the artwork I am creating. I also make and use frit, ground pieces of glass, in several sizes from powdered to large mosaic chunks. I have a propane and oxygen torch that I use to fashion stringers, glass that is heated in the torch and pulled to form spaghetti shaped pieces that can be used as decorations in a fused piece. Several pieces of glass can be heated and twisted together to create a multicolored stringer. Thin shards of blown glass called confetti are also used in designing a piece.
Very rarely one firing in the kiln is sufficient but most of the time I add more glass, stringers, confetti and frit and fire the glass numerous times. A piece may then be returned to the kiln and slumped or formed over hand crafted molds to add shape and dimension.
I like experimentation and find fused glass an ideal medium for exploration. I am constantly developing and testing new techniques to challenge my creativity, and therefore have great variety in my pieces. This variety gives me an intimate knowledge of the glass and I feel a oneness with my creations. I think it demonstrates an intimate knowledge of my chosen medium.
Inspiration for my art is found in nature with my works ranging from the realistic to whimsical. I hope the viewer gains a sense of peace, joy and a touch of humor from my art.