Fusing Glass Offers Endless Possibilities

Twelve years ago Susan Engel began working with stained glass and was drawn to the transmission of light through the material.

After moving to Colorado 6 years ago she took classes in "fusing glass," or forming glass in a high temperature kiln. Compared to stained glass Susan says, "Fused glass offers endless possibilities. It is also a lot more unpredictable, which can be both exciting and unnerving!"

Now a single mother of two, Susan has taken a leap of faith and decided to pursue her love of creating glass art as a full time career. She makes two kinds of fused glass bowls; the first is a single sheet, "slumped" into shape in a mold in the kiln. Each bowl is unique and expresses the character of the glass in whatever shape it seems to crave.

The second is far more elaborate and time-consuming, requiring many hours of detailed cutting, placement, two firings, and cold-finish work with a grinder and diamond disk abrasion. The design comes to Susan as the process develops, as though the glass itself is guiding her. Kiln firing takes up to 17 hours and temperatures may have to be carefully controlled through several stages to achieve the desired results. The end result is unique, 4 layer-thick, bowls with incredible interplays of light, color and refraction. Susan declares this second type of bowl "holds my very heart and soul within it."

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