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Introduction to fusing and lampworking

Glass making

Francesca Merciari 

(fusing)

Diego Bottacin

(lampworking)

Glass Master

OBJECTIVES

The course introduces to the fundamental techniques of flat fusing and lamp working.

The cutting, assembling and firing of simple objects, will allow students to learn about the possibilities and limitations of the fusing technique. Once the students have achieved a good understanding of the basic techniques, they will face the technique of fusing in multi-layered thicknesses, using semi-worked materials and the application of increasingly elaborate working techniques. Students will also explore the methods of thermoforming and the use of different types of molds.

Through the lampworking techniques participants will be then introduced to the technique of modeling. The aim of the course is the realization of the first elementary objects, performed first by hand and then with the use of clamps using rods of different colors and sizes.

The workshop includes a 45 minutes glass blowing demonstration in furnace.

WORKING TECHNIQUES

GLASS FUSING

The Fusing is the technique of joining two or more pieces of glass by heat in a kiln.

Also called thermoforming, glass fusing, born in more recent times, allows to create a variety of objects and works by using various types of materials: the flatbed, resting on compatible surfaces, can take on, at high temperatures, an infinite number of shapes; glass tiles suitably shaped and combined with glass oxides, glazes or other substances give rise to “pictures” with multicolored effects and unexpected depth.

Glass fusion makes it possible to produce stained glass, giftware, sculpture-tiles and jewelry with numerous painting-like details. Starting from colorless glass and working on various superimposed layers, one obtains, on a single object, a set of contrasting colors or tones in sequence.

• Decorative sandblasting on glass. Sandblasting is like spray painting but instead of paint you blow an abrasive material with compressed air to etch the surface being blasted. A “resist” material is applied to the glass, the desired design is cut into the resist to produce a stencil, and the areas you want to be etched removed.

LAMPWORKING

The Lampworking  technique has been applied in Venice since the Renaissance and later developed in the 18th century. It consists in shaping semi-finished products in the form of tubes and rods, with different diameters and thicknesses.

First one softens the piece with the heat of a horizontal flame fueled by methane gas and oxygen (or air), then one models it with small tools, possibly shaping it into a human or animal figure.

The beads are obtained by winding the melted glass around a copper or iron wire coated with a refractory material. Through glass blowpipe modeling, you can create sculptures, figures or jewelry, pendants, rings or necklaces. On account of the lower temperature, the mixture of gas and air allows for more delicate decorations, typical of the Venetian pearl.

TIMING AND CONTENT

5-DAY WORKSHOP

Day 1

INTRODUCTION TO FUSING AND SANDBLASTING TECHNIQUES

Introduction to  equipment, tools and materials.

Designing a glass plate to realize with the fusing technique.

Designing a glass tile to decorate with the sandblasting technique.

Day 2

REALIZING THE GLASS PLATE

Cutting glass with diamond cutters.

Fusing the plate through one the following techniques:

• “tack fusing”: fusing technique in which the pieces of glass are heated until they are just hot enough to stick together and retain many of their own original characteristics;

• “full fusing”: fusing technique in which glass is heated until it becomes molten.

Day 3

PLATE THERMOFORMING AND GLASS TILE DECORATION

Plate thermoforming with the use of different types of molds.

Glass tile decoration with the sandblasting technique.

Day 4

INTRODUCTION TO LAMPWORKING TECHNIQUE

Introduction to  equipment, tools, materials and safety info.

Modeling technique with the realization of the first elementary objects.

Day 5

MAKING GLASS BEADS

Realizing glass beads using rods of different colors and sizes.

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Accademia di Belle Arti Legalmente Riconosciuta “Rosario Gagliardi”
Rosario Gagliardi Srl

Via Cairoli, 20
96100 Siracusa
Italy

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