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Fusion Studios :: Helpful Information

  Helpful Information
Helpful Information
Here are some basic terms used in the world of art glass.

Hot Glass - Category of glasswork that involves working with or manipulating glass while it is in a molten condition such as in the process of glass blowing.

Cold Working - Category of glasswork that involves working with or manipulating glass in its normal state, such as in the process of sanding, grinding, drilling, or sandblasting. A stream of water is often used as a lubricant when cutting or grinding glass.

Fusing Glass/Warm Glass - Category of glass work that involves the controlled application of heat, (usually through the use of a specialized glass kiln), and an arrangement of glass objects causing the glass composition to melt together into one piece of glass.

Kiln Forming - Glass objects or panels are placed in a controlled heating device (fusing kiln). When the appropriate amount of heat is applied, the arrangement of glass objects will fuse together. Fusing and warm glass are other terms often used to explain the process of forming glass in a controlled heating environment.

Cast Glass - Glass objects or panels created by melting glass into a mold, which provides shape and texture to the composition. There are many different techniques used to cast glass including dribble casting and static casting.

Slumped Glass - A glass panel or other glass object is placed over a mold and subjected to controlled heat causing the glass to gradually soften and conform to the shape of the mold.

Dicrohic Glass - A unique type of glass that presents one color to the eye when viewed with light coming thru the back of the glass and a different color when viewed as light reflects off the surface of the glass. Coating it with certain chemicals as it is heated in a vacuum environment creates the glass. Dichrohic class can be very expensive.

Iridized Glass - Glass that reflects a rainbow like color due to a coating of metallic salt that has been applied to the surface during a specialized heating process. This glass does not reflect/transmit two different colors as does the dichroic glass, and it is not as expensive.

Float Glass - Common window glass that has been created by flowing molten glass on a bed of molten tin yielding a smooth fire polished surface on both sides.

Laminated Glass - Two or more sheets of glass that have been chemically bonded together using a special optically clear bonding agent that creates a composite suitable for use in architectural applications. The lamination process provides a way for art glass to be used in building structures where safety is an issue.

Art Glass - The colored glass used in stained glass and glass fusing is often referred to as art glass. Art objects and panels made of colored glass are often referred to as art glass. In addition to its color, art glass may have special properties required for fusing.

Tempered Glass - Glass that has been heated to a certain temperature and at a certain point subjected to a blast of air. When broken, the glass will shatter into thousands of tiny pieces. Most art glass used in fusing cannot be tempered.

Safety Glass - A type of glass that is made by laminating a clear plastic material between two sheets of glass, and is commonly found in car windshields. When broken, safety glass does not generally shatter into thousands of tiny pieces like tempered glass. Although the glass is broken, the inner layer of material preventing glass chips from flying through the air during high impact situations by holding it together.

Enamel - Enamel is finely ground glass particles that that can be used to add color or design to blown or fused glass. Enamel can also be arranged on copper and heated in the copper enameling process.

Flamework/Lampwork - The process of shaping and forming glass using a special torch usually powered by a mixture of oxygen and propane. Small objects can be blown into shape with this process and it is a common method for creating custom glass beads.

Glass Bonding - By applying specialized optically clear chemical agents, glass can be joined together creating such strength that un-bonded areas will break before the chemically joined areas. Sometimes UV light sources are used to "cure" the chemical and create the seam.

Sandblasting/Sandcarving - A method of "frosting" or cutting into glass, or other materials, to apply a design or pattern. Using particle abrasives applied with air pressure to a surface that has been masked with a design, the particles etch away the glass leaving a frosted design in those areas not protected by the mask. Using this technique, images and designs can be applied to glass, wood, steel and numerous other materials. Basic sandblasting gives glass a frosted look and is often useful for creating diffusion of light. Sand carving is a somewhat more complex process where multiple masks and depth of the blasting are used to create shading, textures and dimensionality.

Cathedral/Translucent Glass - Glass that is translucent allows light to pass through it from all directions. Typical stained glass windows use translucent glass to generate vibrant colors while it is illuminated by light from the sun.

Opalescent Glass - Opalescent glass has a milky look to it and its colors appear flatter and denser. These characteristics of the glass prevent light from passing directly through the glass yielding more of a glow when illuminated from the rear.

Diamond Cutting - Glass stone and other hard materials can be cut into shapes by using a cutting blade with a layer of industrial diamonds coating its leading edge. A stream of water or other coolant is used during the cutting process to lubricate and cool the blade during cutting.

Water Jet Cutting - Using a very small stream of water mixed with certain abrasives and applied under extreme pressure, most any material including glass, steel and stone can be cut into intricate shapes as the water stream is controlled by a computer.

Optical Glass - Glass that exhibits very high clarity and has extremely good qualities of light reflection even through great thicknesses is referred to as optical glass.

Annealing - Once glass has been heated it needs to be gradually cooled to room temperature in a heated environment under strict temperature control to prevent breakage. Many factors go into determining the amount of time that is required to properly cool the glass to ensure its ultimate integrity. One of the key factors is the thickness of the glass. In some cases it may take days, weeks even months to cool very thick glass objects.

Refractory Material - Refractory materials such as ceramic fiber can withstand extreme temperatures and not deform or fall apart. The infamous tiles used on the space shuttle are examples of refractory materials. The material can withstand temperatures over 2000 degrees. Refractory materials are often used in molds or to serve as a foundation for kilns and furnaces.

Compatible Art Glass - Most any glass can be melted together or fused together through the use of heat. However different glass types cool at different rates. If fused glass cools at different rates, stress can be captured in the glass ultimately causing it to crack or shatter. When special" compatible" art glass is used in the fusing process the cooling rate is the same for all the different glass allowing the composite to cool uniformly and not crack or shatter.

Pate de Verre - is a French word, which translates into "paste of glass . Small glass particles are placed in a mold of refractory material and subjected to heat. The particles fuse together with the mold forming the shape of the mold. The small particles then fuse together to create a dense granular look that is characteristic of the pate de veer style.
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