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Understanding What You Like

Glass Noodles - full and contour fuse


Glass Stringers - full and contour fuse


Full fuse example. Transparent and opaque glass.


Contour fuse example. Transparent glass.


Raking/Combing - before (top), while the kiln is open (middle), and the tools used to rake/comb the 1600°+  glass.


This is not an exhaustive list, but it will give you a better idea on the basic vocabulary for my glass and ceramic works.


It also has definitions that are not classic. I opted for laymen’s terms for explaining. You can consider this a type of Firing 101 cheat sheet!



Blowing - Not what I do.

Mosaic - Not what I do.

Stained Glass - Also not what I do.

Fuse and Slumpwhat I do!

I arrange my glass by picking out what I want, cutting and gluing it together and then I load and fire the kiln to fuse the glass together.


If it is artwork, I may stop there (or rewire with more embellishments, decoration or improvements).

Then I place the fused piece into a mold and fire it so it take the shape by slumping into the mold.  


Transparent - Glass that you can see through or allowing light to pass through. Might be a variety colors and more than one color, but you will always be able to see through if you hold up to the light.

Opaque - Glass that you cannot see through, or more solid colored glass. Can be multi-colored, but no light will come through.

Irid (Iridescent) - Irid glass, after being fired, takes on a metallic looking version of the glass color.

Dichro (dichronic) - Glass that seems to change depending what angle you look at it.

Stringers - Thin, long strips of long glass that resemble spaghetti or angel hair pasta. It can be any color, transparent or opaque.

Noodles - Thin, long strips of glass that resemble fettuccini pasta. It can be any color, transparent or opaque.

Frit - Glass broken into pieces. It can be (almost) a glass powder (fine), slightly larger shards or pieces (medium), and larger (very small) pieces (large) that is used to accent, decorate or fill an area. I look at it like glass sand.  



Full Fuse - When the glass is heated on a higher temp and/or for longer times and the glass melts to a smooth and even surface. A proper full fuse will feel like the glass pieces fused into one smooth piece.  

Contour - Glass that is “cooked” with less heat and/or time so that it retains some of the texture and dimension of the glass pieces that were cut. The cut edges are more dulled and softened. The stacked glass pieces have a softer, less harsh look.  

Tac Fuse - Glass that is heated the shortest and/or lowest temp so that the glass just fuses together. Most of the glass retains its original shape and dimension.  

Slump - Once the glass is fused, it is placed into a treated mold and fired again to slump down into the mold, taking on the same form. This can be a variety of shapes and vessels, such as bowls, plates, cubes, new sheets of glass, etc., depending on the mold.  

Draping - This utilizes a mold that is upside down and the glass is placed over the mold to melt and drape around it. This is usually used for bowls, vases and similar vessels.

Raking or Combing - When the kiln reaches approximately 1700 degrees, it is opened (from the bottom), and with an abundance of caution and safety equipment, I take a long handled combing tool and drag it across the glass to get a certain effect, creating new designs from old. This is similar to what I call the fancy icing design or a neapolitan-like design.



Bisque - This is the clay product after the first of at least two firings for ceramics. Bisque fire takes place after the clay has been manipulated to create something and it has slowly dried. This must take place before a piece can be glazed.     

Greenware - After the ceramic piece has been stained and/or glazed, it has to be fired again. This state is greenware and it precedes the last of two required firings.

Glaze - a thick liquid that is heated and fused onto pottery surfaces to create a protective and decorative coating.

Stain - A colored, water-type liquid that can stain bisque and greenware and can also have a clear glaze applied over it.

Slab work - This is clay that is flattened and rolled out through a press (similar to pasta) to make a slab of clay that can be used for free-form pieces. I use this method in a majority of my clay work.

A blue matte glaze (left) with a rust oxide stain (right) on a rolled-out slab of clay.

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