Althea Braithwaite

Kiln formed Glass

Fused glass or kiln formed glass, is glass which has been heated in a kiln to join a number of pieces together. The glasses have to be compatible with each other, which means they have to heat and cool at the same rate, otherwise stresses in the glass will cause the fused panel to crack. Most fusing glass comes from the USA or Germany. It arrives in large sheets, which I have to cut to size.

When making a new piece, it first has to be designed, and sometimes I begin with a rough pencil sketch. Often though, the design is in my head and develops as I work. I cut strips and shapes, laying two or three layers on or overlapping one another. When I am satisfied, the glass is washed and arranged on the kiln shelf.

After loading the kiln, I bring the temperature slowly up to between 780 and 840˚C. The precise temperature depends on the result I want to achieve. The glass has to be cooled slowly too, so each kiln cycle takes about 36 hours, I wait impatiently to see the result. Some pieces may be fused a number of times before I achieve the result that I am hoping for.