Glass Art can be created using multiple glass processes. Glass is a great material to work with to make art. There is nothing else like it! You can create glass art through various processes, including blowing, kiln casting, fusing, slumping pate-de-Verre, flame-working, hot sculpting, and cold-working. In doing that, you can change how it looks, the colors, patterns, textures, and reflective properties. Let me explain, on a high level, what that means.
There are three main categories of glass art: cold, warm (kiln-formed), and hot glass. Every piece of glass art made falls into one of these three categories.
Cold Glass Processes
Cold glass techniques include cutting, grinding, polishing, engraving, sandblasting, and etching. Etching can involve applying acid or blasting abrasive material on the surface of the glass to change its texture and appearance.
Cold-working glass techniques involve no real heat. A cold glass artist might construct sculptural pieces by laminating (with high-technology glues) or soldering multiple pieces of glass together.
Cutting, grinding, and polishing the glass shapes can be changed using cold working machinery for this purpose. Some of this work can be done by hand, but typically it is more effective to use cold working machinery such as diamond saws, flat lap wheels, vertical belt sanders, engravers, and lathes.
Stain glass is made by mainly taking sheet glass, cutting it (perhaps also grinding and polishing it) into the appropriate shape for your pattern, and then joining it with soldering techniques. All of these cold glass techniques are done at room temperature.
Warm Glass Processes
Warm glass (Kiln-Forming) techniques include fusing, slumping, kiln-casting, and pate-de-Verre.
Fusing is about taking two or more pieces of glass and heating them until they join together, making a single piece. Slumping involves manipulating the shape of the glass to take on the shape of the object on which it sits. Kiln-casting creates a glass form by vertically heating glass into the void of a refractory mold located below the flow. Pate-de-Verre is a kiln-casting method that uses glass granules (frit), makes them into a paste using a binder, and then applies it to a mold’s inner surface.
Kiln-Forming techniques require a kiln; these come in various sizes and prices depending on the artist’s needs.
Hot Glass Processes
Lampworking is a hot glass technique involving a torch to melt the glass, shaped or formed into different forms. Beads, goblets, pipes, complicated and delicate figures, and ornaments are typically pieces that can be made using this technique.
Hot glasswork involves molten glass with temperatures above 2000 degrees in a furnace. This hot viscous glass can be blown, sculpted, and cast into various forms creating sculptures, hand-blown bowls, vases, goblets, and ornaments. Hot glass requires the most costly setup, including furnaces, pipe warmers, glory holes, garages, annealers, and the electronics to control them.
So you can work with glass in the solid state to make cold-worked pieces, fused pieces, stained glass, slumped pieces, pate-de-Verre, and lampworked pieces. In the hot state, when it is liquid, you can lead it into a dance to form the shapes and forms you desire based on your proficiency. Why is this possible? Because glass is a rigid liquid. A different state of matter than any other material.
So you can work with glass in the solid state to make cold-worked pieces, fused pieces, stained glass, slumped pieces, pate-de-Verre, and lamp-worked pieces. In the hot state, when it is liquid, you can lead it into a dance to form the shapes and forms you desire based on your proficiency. Why is this possible? Because glass is a rigid liquid. A different state of matter than any other material.