Monday, July 18, 2011

How To Make Fused Glass Platters Using Pot Melts

I've made a number of platters using the glass I create from "aperture pours" or "pot melts." I like these because they are one-of-a-kind pieces as the glass used is individually created.

At shows, I am often asked I make these. First, I start by making the pot melts. These are created from putting various colors of sheet glass into a pot with one or more holes at the bottom. The glass is heated to about 1625-1700 degrees until it is molten and starts to flow out of the pot onto the kiln shelf. Because the glass is liquid, I use a stainless steel ring lined with fiber paper to act as a dam to contain the glass, so it doesn't flow off the shelf onto my kiln floor.

Depending upon the height that you place the pot above the shelf, you can create different patterns in how the glass drops. The way you lay out the colors in the pot also effects the design.

As I wanted to have 3 different centers, I created a third pot melt similar to the one above, then refired all three to thin them out as the dam resulted in glass that was a little too thick. Next, I sandblast the back to get rid of any kilnwash (what keeps the glass from sticking to the shelf) that may be on the back before I cut them up into 3" squares for the center.

Then I cut up sheet glass to add a border.

I fuse this face or design side down so that the lines are tighter around the border. After it comes out of the kiln, I coldwork or grind the edges so they are smooth and refire with the design side facing up. The result is the platter shown at the beginning of the post. And, the remaining glass from the pot melts is also cut up and used for other platters.

While it's difficult to tell from the photos, the pot melt glass contains raised ripples that were created as the glass dripped - I love this! What do you think? And, if you'd like to see some additional platters I've made, click here.

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