Fused Glass Tips for Beginners
Getting Started with Fused Glass
If you're planning on getting started with Fused Glass as a hobby, allow me to give you a few tips. I offer these suggestions because I know what the pitfalls of getting started in this hobby are all about.
I am a self taught glass artist, although I am not an expert. I am learning new techniques each and every day, and I have been since I got started with fused glass about 3 years ago.
I've made a lot of mistakes, and I've had quite a few successes as well. I have just recently felt comfortable enough with my work to begin offering it for sale and giving it as gifts to family and friends as well.
Fused Glass Collage
If you're serious about trying fused glass as a hobby, do yourself a huge favor and start out slowly. Do some reading on the Internet, go to your local library or better yet, try to find a local glass studio to visit. Some notable bookstores also carry magazines dedicated to fused glass. These are all good places to start gathering information about the hobby and the process of fusing glass.
I would actually recommend that you not even purchase a book at this point. The reason I say this is that because many of the books out there on the topic of fused glass are quite intense and may serve to scare you off rather than pique your interest.
The best source of information for a beginner is actually a local glass studio. Many glass shop owners are actually craft people themselves and are more than happy to help you out with information and basic tools.
Take A Class
If you are lucky enough to find a local glass studio a good place to get started is with a basic fusing class. Many studios offer classes taught by local artists. A great benefit of taking a local class is that most studios will allow you to fire your pieces in their kilns for a small fee.
Glass Fusing Kilns can cost a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars. You may see small microwave kilns advertised, but I would not recommend these not matter what. I purchased a small microwave kiln and was very very disappointed. The size of a microwave kiln severely limits your options and can really serve more as a discouragement than an encouragement. Save your money and invest in a kiln that you can grow into instead of out of.
I found a local glass artist that gave classes out of her home studio, and allowed me to use her kiln for free. Unfortunately I did not find her until I made many costly mistakes. Check out the local craft and art fairs and talk to the artists who work in fused glass, this is where I found my mentor.
Getting organized is a key to success when learning the art of fused glass.
As you begin to work with fused glass it is extremely important to take notes and write down everything you do. The reason for this is so that you can make adjustments if a piece doesn't come out the way you thought it would, or to be able to replicate a success.
Many books and web sites offer up fusing schedules, or recipes if you will. The problem is you can take the same kiln and place it in two different places and get different results. By keeping good notes on your projects right from the start, you will be able to assure good results in the future.
Another good tip for organizing your studio (or kitchen table) is to purchase several Tupperware style sandwich containers to keep your scrap glass in. Don't ever throw away glass, even the smallest pieces of scrap can find a place in your projects. You can actually find small scraps of fusible glass on eBay and other online sites. It's amazing what people charge for scraps of fusible glass, and it's even more amazing what some people pay for it.
Start Small and Simple
If you choose to take a class you will find this to be stressed by your instructor, but if you're going it alone you will be tempted to try to replicate a piece you may have seen somewhere. Starting out small and simple helps you create successful results, and being successful will help you become more confident. Confidence will allow you to become creative, and being creative will help you to seek out new techniques and produce even more exciting pieces.
Start out with some simple pendants, or maybe a simple candy dish or coaster. Once you create a few pieces and you place them around your home, or wear the pendants you have created you will be amazed at the comments they draw without even attempting to draw attention to them.
Fused glass art draws attention all on it's own. It is that intriguing and interesting!