Fusible glass is a special type of glass that is meant to melt under extreme temperatures in a glass kiln. After it has been fired at a range of between 1250˚ and 1500˚F, depending upon the kiln, various changes occur in the glass, ranging from slumping and shaping (used for creating vases, bowls, plates, etc.)to tack fusing (used to lightly adhere one piece of glass to another in order to create a three-dimensional effect) to full fusing (used to create a piece in which all the various layers of the glass become truly melded into one, such as in jewelry). The kiln brings the glass to the high temperatures through a series of ramps (rapid heating cycles) and soaks (holding the temperature at a specific point) to achieve the desired effect. The glass is then annealed (cooled slowly) to avoid breakage and to ensure a strong finished product.
To create the various effects, layers of glass are first stacked onto a base piece. The object here is to achieve different patterns or color combinations when the pieces are finally fired. Cathedral (transparent) and opalescent (opaque) glass are used, as are various specialty glasses, some of which have bits of other glass in them. To add greater interest, special decals, twisted cane, or dichroic glass can be added.
Twisted cane is created by stacking and fusing together various colored rods of fusible glass. Once the rods have fused together, they are then heated until they can be pulled and twisted into longer rods. The resulting rods contain a twist of color, or colors, inside.
Dichroic (from two Green roots, “di” meaning “two” and “chroma” meaning “color”) glass itself has an interesting history. It was developed by the aerospace industry for satellite mirrors but now has many industrial as well as artistic uses, ranging from lighting, to fiber optics, to motion picture equipment, to sunglasses, to pieces of jewelry.
Metallic oxides (such as titanium, silicon, gold, silver, zirconium, magnesium, etc.) are heated in a vacuum chamber at extremely high temperatures using a high-voltage electron beam until they are vaporized and become adhered to the surface of clear or black smooth or textured glass. The thickness of the oxide layer on the glass is determined by time and temperature. As a result of the process, each piece of dichroic glass reflects or transmits different colors at different viewing angles. Using dichroic glass right-side up or right-side down will give different effects, as well as placing the dichroic onto various cathedral or opalescent glass colors.
Because of all of these variations, it is virtually impossible to end up with two identical end products. That is the beauty part. That is what makes Designs By Luanne little bits of Abstract Art!