Fusable Glass and Airbrushing

People have been fusing glass since the day after glass was invented. But new glass technological break throughs have made it easier to work wid1-making glass more predictable and an interesting medium for airbrush art. Jerry Werner, a Beaverton, Oregon, artist of amazing velsatility, revealed how he merges fusible glass and airbrushing.

In the fused glass picture of an American Indian Chief (right), Werner airbrushed Reusche brand glass glazespraying the image of the Indian in black and the background in ruby red onto a piece of white iridescent Bullseye glass. Then Werner placed a clear sheet of Bullseye glass over the white iridescent (painted) sheet. Next he cut out a circle of orange Bullseye glass and laid that over the two other sheets of glass. (Werner points out that the orange circle could not have been “sandwiched” in between the two sheets-that would have trapped large air bubbles.)

Bullseye is one of several brands of fusible glasses that have the same coefficient of expansion when fired in a kiln. (Ordinary glasses often fracture, Werner explained, as the glass cools down especially mixed brands and rypesbecause they have a different thermal expansion that makes them inconsistent and incompatible.)

After layering the sheets of glass, Werner added half Cicles of glass to the side to create a framing effect and then placed the pieces in a kiln and fired the glass to cone .012 (1,650 degrees Fahrenheit)’

Without the new type of fusible glass this type of firing would be “hit or miss;’ for as the kiln cools from its highest temperature internal pressure in the glass is tremendous.

Without the use of the airbrush, glazes are more difficult to blend; and if they are applied too thick they “bead”; and if they are applied too thin they often “burn auf’ W’ith d1e airbrush one can achieve not only a consistenfviscosity, but also a consistent application and gradated tones.

Werner also notes that bubbles are inevitable with fused glass and should be expected. They can often add a newdimension to one’s work-giving a new surprise after each firing.

Werner adds one other note that people knowledgeable in ceramics and glass fusing would probably take for granted-and that is, when using some colors, one should allow for some “burn out” or fading; while in other cases this shouldn’t be expected, since some colors don’t burn out. This, however, can only be learned through experience.

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