Fused Glass vs. Blown Glass
Often when people see our work, they ask if we blow the glass. We explain that our glass is fused in a kiln, typically over the course of several days and firings. So what really is the difference between fusing and blowing glass?
Fused glass, sometimes called kiln formed, warm glass or, kiln-glass, is fired in a kiln to bond glass together. Most fusing methods involve designing, cutting, stacking or layering thin sheets of glass. Different colors, sizes, and textures are used to create patterns or complex images.The pieces are then placed inside a kiln and heated until the separate pieces begin to bond. Most fusing is done in temperatures ranging from 1,100 °F to 1,700 °F. Full, tack, contour, slump, drape, and casting are a few of the many methods we use in the kiln. Often pieces are fused two or more times for up to 24-hours each time, which includes the annealing process.
With fused glass we can create glass art, glass tiles, and jewelry, as well as larger, functional pieces like dishes, bowls, plates, and virtually anything you can imagine.
Glass blowing or hot glass, involves three furnaces and a special tool called a blowpipe. The blowpipe is dipped into the first furnace, which holds a crucible of molten glass. The glass adheres to the pipe in much the same way that honey is picked up on a dipper. Then, the glass blower creates a basic shape and then blows into the pipe to inflate it into a vessel. Typically, the piece must be reheated during the process using the second furnace called the "glory hole." The final furnace is the annealer. Finished pieces are put here to slowly cool so the glass doesn't crack from thermal stress. Glass blowing is typically used to make large works of art and functional vases, bowls and sinks.
At times, we collaborate with glass blowers to take specially fused, thick glass tiles and "roll" them into vessels.
So much to know!!
~Bonnie and Sue