Fused Glass and the Shoemaker’s Children

Fused Glass Appetizer Set

A few weeks ago we had a few friends over for dinner. As I prepared to plate the appetizers, I once again realized that I need to have some of my own work to use as serving dishes. It is actually quite embarrassing… I have a dollar store plate that I bought years ago and use when I am short on serving trays. This is definitely a case of the shoemaker’s children not having shoes. I finally got around to making an appetizer set for myself. But all did not go smoothly.

I wanted something that didn’t distract from the food, but definitely not ordinary. After all, what’s the point of having a one-of-a-kind piece if no one notices it? The process started by firing a sheet of glass with frits and paints to make a part sheet. Next, I cut up the part sheet and paired it with white glass and some thin strips of gray glass to make a long channel plate and four 5” appetizer plates. I opted to fire the pieces face down. When firing this way lines stay straighter. The down side is that it usually requires an additional firing before slumping because the shelf side of the glass is textured and matte. I have slumped with this texture side up, but more often than not, I am not happy with the look.

In the next firing I flipped the pieces over and fired to shine up the glass. Usually, I sandblast the glass side that was on the shelf before it is flipped and fired. This assures that all of the kiln wash is off the glass and prevents problems with devitrification forming. Here is where I caused my own problem. I got lazy thinking maybe I can get away without the sandblasting. Not! The pieces came out of the kiln with the dreaded devit spots. The small plates only had spots on the gray strips, but the channel plate also had some areas on the white glass.

Plan B. I sandblasted the gray strips that had devit on them and sandblasted the entire channel plate except for the part sheet glass. I slumped the sandblasted pieces which gives the finished piece a subtle texture. The only thing I would change next time, besides not skipping the sandblasting, is to make 6 appetizer plates instead of 4!

Here are some pictures that show the process:

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