Posted 6 years ago
7x12 Rcctangle Platter
Fused Art GlassKurt McVay has been working in fused glass since 1983.
He is one of the pioneers in the rediscovery of fused glass.
My work incorporates many processes: hot work, (cane and beads), sandblast etching, glass cutting and crushed glass effects. These are fused with heat and then shaped in a separate mold firing. This creates an extremely versatile palette, one that is wonderfully detailed, and unique to my studio. I can design with linear precision or soft ambiguity and still produce a signature look. I cannot overlook my family heritage in the arts nor my professors, as they were vital inspiration for my technique and vision.
Kurt McVay’s Fused Glass Process
The first step in our process is to decide on a pattern, then cut our glass into the shapes and sizes for the pattern. All pieces are hand cut. We then assemble the pieces on a ceramic pad in the fuser (oven).
Each piece must be carefully placed in the fuser as a mis-placement can cause the glass to melt to the
ceramic pad. Our fusers are large and rectangular so several pieces can be fired at the same time.
Kurt builds his own fusers so that they are identical.
With the glass pieces on the ceramic pad the fuser door is shut and the heating process begins.
These layers of glass will be brought to a temperature of approximately 1400 degrees. There is some
variation of heating time between patterns. On the inside of the fuser the glass pieces are heating together becoming more and more elastic until the top layer merges with the bottom layer forming one layer. At 1400 degrees the process is stopped. Any additional heating will cause the glass to liquefy and run across the pad.
The glass is now taken through an annealing, a slow cooling process. After a few hours we will start a
process of opening the fuser for a few seconds, continually increasing the time of the opening until we can
open the fuser completely. We do this because the glass always cools on the edges first and the center
of the piece is the last to cool. Cooling to quickly will cause the glass to crack.
When the patterns of glass are removed from the fuser they are completely flat. They are then taken to
the kiln for reheating. Kurt also makes his own kilns and molds. The flat glass piece is placed over a mold
and set into the kiln. Our kilns are round and they have shelves for the molds to sit on. The heat in the kiln
will be around 1200 degrees. Once the heating process is started the glass will again become elastic.
Because it is sitting over the mold this elastic state makes the glass slowly drop into the mold and take
on the shape of the mold. The center is the first part of the glass to drop into the mold and the edges adhere
to the top of the mold. After reaching the 1200 degrees we stop the process and slowly cool the pieces as
before. After cooling the pieces are inspected for flaws.
The entire process takes three days whether it is a small coaster or a large bowl.