Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fused Glass Class: Taking BE's Layered Assemblage Class

If you're familiar with my work, you'll notice that most of it is pretty structured.  When I try to create something that is looser and more flowing, it just doesn't look right to me.  This is true whether I'm playing with paint or making something with glass.  So, I enrolled in Martha Pfanschmidt's Layer Assemblage class at Bullseye.

On the first day, we made a series of part sheets using stencils and powders.  We could use existing stencils or we could make our own.  Since I had all day, I decided to make some of my own.  I wrote out a variety of techniques that I wanted to try and used different colored powders.

On the second day, we cut up our glass with the assignment of putting 2 layers together.  This may sound easy as all fused glass is at least two layers of glass but normally, one of those layers is clear.  With this task, each piece of glass needed to have a design, so you're laying design over design.  I found this particularly challenging.  And, because most of my sheet parts ended up being more geometric, the ones that weren't, just didn't fit.  Here's the end result:

At the end of the day, we also made a few more part sheets.  Since I had one part sheet of bird imagery, one with dark blue squiggles, and another resembling paint splotches, I needed to create some sheets that would allow me to use those.  Obviously, looking at the glass piece above, neither of those sheets would have worked with this design.

The exercise for day three was to create a composition using four layers of designed glass.  However, we could also add in clear as well as colored glass.  I found this much easier than the task of creating the two layer design as the clear glass added much more flexibility.

Given that I had sets of distinct glass styles (painting splotches, darker blues and outdoor imagery - birds, leaves and trees), the layering was relatively straight forward.  The bottom layer consisted of the painting splotches while the next layer contained the blue sheet parts.  The layer above those contained the leaves and the top layer consisted of the birds and trees.

Here's a few lessons that I learned along the way:
  • Don't "design" the sheet part - I tried to angle the designs on the sheets, which made it more challenging to cut (see the first photo).
  • It helps to have a lot of sheet parts to have enough choices when assembling the piece.
  • It helps to have groups of sheet parts (e.g. outdoor elements - trees, birds, leaves)
I'm pretty happy with how these turned out, even though both pieces still seem structured to me.  I enjoyed the experience of using layers to create designs but think that I might used them as a design element rather than having them as the entire piece.  I'd be interested in what you think.


  1. I think these are so interesting! I love the playful mix of color and pattern. (I also love your blog!)

  2. Thanks, Jessica! The 4 layer one is even more interesting close up as you can see the detail behind the layers.

  3. I love them both! Thanks for sharing. One quick additional question is did you use 2mm for your part sheets? I tried the second method once where I incorporated with other colors, but ran into issues with mixing 2mm (part sheets) and 3mm (other colors). So I am curious what you recommend (or Bullseye) for the part sheets. Thanks and wonderful platters!

    1. I would recommend keeping the same width per layer. With Bullseye, you can either use 3mm sheet parts and 3mm colored glass or 2mm sheet parts and 2mm colored glass. It all depends on how thick you want the piece to be and what thickness of glass you have, keeping in mind that you want at least 6mm of glass. I just wouldn't mix 2mm and 3mm in the same layer as it can trap bubbles when covered and result in an uneven piece. Hope this helps.

    2. Great advice. Thanks. In hindsight it makes sense. Wish I had more 2mm colors since I think stacking 4 layers would be better in 2mm.

  4. These are amazing! I just found your blog. Thank you for sharing.