Earlier this year while thinking about fused glass things to make and sell for the 2010 holiday season, I came up with the idea of a fused glass Christmas wreath from recycled glass bottles. The prototype (shown above) consisted of taking broken pieces of green glass from wine bottles, placing them in a circle on my kiln shelf and firing it in my small 8″ kiln. I thought the piece turned out great. I liked the texture, the green color was perfect, and there were some open areas in the piece which worked perfectly for putting a ribbon through.
With the prototype a success, I decided to load my big Paragon Pearl 22 kiln with a batch of these. Well, it must have been beginners luck because arranging the pieces on this new batch was a real pain. The small pieces kept falling everywhere. And then I would accidentally bump one while trying to arrange another one on the shelf. I tried several different methods of setting these up, but they all took way too much time. I finally got a shelf full, but after they were fired the wreaths seemed very fragile and broke easily. Maybe I used more pieces in my prototype. Not sure exactly. More experimenting would have resulted in better results, but in the end, I decided these wreaths were not going to be profitable.
Recently, I found some of these for sale on the internet. I apparently was not the only one with this idea. So there are some for sale somewhere, but you won’t find any in my shop. If you have a kiln and you need a few Christmas ornaments as gifts, you might want to give it a try. The best result was my very first prototype which was fired on medium for an hour and then high until the temperature reached 1500 degrees F. I maintained this temperature until I thought it looked right: joined together, but still keeping the individual shapes of each piece of glass. Having the window option on my kiln came in really handy. Something else I wanted to try but didn’t get around to was Christmas tree shapes. Maybe next year!