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Copyright, All Rights Reserved. All content on this site is copyrighted, Dana Worley, as of the date of posting. Reuse or redistribution of this content is strictly prohibited without express written permission of the author.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Using Fiber Paper to Modify a Fused Glass Mold

Black and white fused glass butter dish
Black and white fused glass butter dish
I was recently asked to create a fused glass butter dish based on the design of a cheese platter I had made. When I designed the butter dish I decided to make it 4.25" x 7", which was one of the standard sizes I found when looking on-line at commercial dishes. While this may be a common size for a butter dish, it's not necessarily a common size for a fused glass mold. I did have a small sushi mold that was 5 x 7.75".

There's quite often no problem slumping into a mold larger than your piece of glass. However, I did have concerns about having the edge of the dish raised sufficiently so that the butter would not spill over the side of the dish if the butter melted. To get a better raised edge, I modified the mold with fiber paper. The short tutorial below shows how it was done.


Mold and glass piece to be slumped
Mold and glass piece to be slumped

At left you can see the fused glass mold that I used, along with the piece of glass to be slumped.

Side profile of mold
Side profile of mold

This shows a side profile of the mold. The raised edge would be fine if the glass were cut full-size. However, because the glass was smaller than the mold, I was concerned it would not be raised enough to keep melted butter from spilling over. 

Use a sharp blade the cut the fiber paper
Use a sharp blade the cut
the fiber paper

I used a sharp blade to cut a piece of 1/4" thick fiber paper to the size of the glass. I laid the glass and fiber paper on my cutting mat (long ago stolen from my sewing supplies!) and used the glass itself as a guide for cutting the fiber paper.

Tip: For a sharp blade, you can use an Exacto knife or small box cutter.

The glass and the fiber paper rim that will be placed on the mold
The glass and the fiber paper rim
that will be placed on the mold

After cutting the outside edge, I marked a 1/4" inside my fiber paper rectangle and cut it out with the blade.

Tip: Try to cut the inside border using one continuous cut, and avoid raising the blade from the fiber paper. This will result in the smoothest inside edge. 

Fiber paper rim placed on mold
Fiber paper rim placed on mold

This picture shows the rim of fiber paper that was cut, placed on the mold. 

Ready for firing
Ready for firing

The glass is placed on the fiber paper, and into the kiln it goes for the slump.  

Back of slumped glass
Back of slumped glass

Here is the back of the finished piece, which shows the raised edge of the dish. 

Profile of slumped glass
Profile of slumped glass

And finally, here is the profile of the slumped butter dish.

I hope this quick tutorial sparks ideas about how you might modify your favorite fused glass mold to create a new and interesting shape. If you have questions, leave a comment below!

Best, Dana

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Fused Glass Painting Class with Shelley Long

Finished fused glass Winter Rivers Scene
Finished fused glass Winter Rivers Scene
As part of its educational program, the Glass Art Guild of Utah hosts classes a few times each year. In late January, the Guild brought in ceramic and glass artist Shelley Long for a three-day multi-layer glass painting class. The class was hosted in the home studio of Guild artist Kathy Watt, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend.

I have worked with glass paints, but my results have been mixed. I was looking forward to learning how to better use the paints, and also learning more about creating thicker, layered glasswork. The class with Shelley provided all this and more!

Shelley works exclusively with Colors for Earth glass paints. These powdered enamels are mixed with a medium to get the desired painting consistency. We jumped right in the first hour mixing paints, while Shelley talked about various painting techniques to ensure good coverage of paints, shading, and watercolor washes. Over the course of three days we painted six different pieces of glass to create Shelley's Winter Rivers Scene design. The last day Shelley discussed breaking down a photograph of our own for a layered design, as well as damming and firing the final piece.

Shelley and her amazing three-dimensional glass paintings
Shelley and her amazing
three-dimensional glass paintings
The class was a great, long-weekend glass get-away, filled with good food, good conversation, laughter, handmade chocolates (thanks, Mary Young!), and of course fused glass and new painting techniques.

If you have the opportunity to take a class with Shelley, I very much recommend it. While "live" classes are invaluable, if taking a class with Shelley isn't an option, check out the list of Resources below. Shelley offers several glass painting tutorials on her web site, including the Winter Rivers scene that was the subject of the class (check out the video below for a sneak peek!)

Thank you, Shelley and the Glass Art Guild of Utah for a great learning opportunity!



Shelley Long, Winter Rivers tutorial
Bullseye Glass, Working Deep tip sheet
Glass Art Guild of Utah,
Colors for Earth glass enamels,

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Painting tools of the trade!
Painting tools of the trade!

Guild member Andrea Tatkon-Coker works on her sky
Guild member Andrea Tatkon-Coker
works on her sky

Shelley and Guild member Julianne Tronier
Shelley and Guild member Julianne Tronier

Having too much fun!
Connie Lundberg, Barb Wesley, Mary Young and Kaleen Knight
(clockwise from the top left)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Rolling Along with Mica Powders

Fused glass koi dish
Fused glass koi dish
Mica adds sparkle to a finished piece of fused glass, but working with the powder can be tricky. Some artists will tell you that mica has to be capped because it won't stick to the glass. This isn't the case, but it is true that mica powder adheres only to where it touches the surface of the glass. Thus, the effect of the mica can be too subtle, and you often end up washing most of your mica down the drain when cleaning the glass after firing.

I have written previous blog posts with tips on getting the mica to better adhere to the glass surface. In the following tutorial, I'll show another way to use mica in your fused glass.


Clay rollers for applying enamel
Clay rollers for applying enamel
Painter's tape
Clay texture roller (or other roller type with a design)
Black glass enamel (you'll want a true enamel like Thompson, not Glassline)
5x5" square of clear glass
(2) 5" strips of glass for border (width of tape, ~7/8")
5"x 3.125" dark-colored glass for center
Mica powder
Dust mask (when working with mica)


Apply painters tape to glass
Apply painters tape to glass

Use strips of painters tape to mask off two opposing edges on the clear 5" square of glass.

Spread some enamel on a  piece of float glass
Spread some enamel on a
piece of float glass

Spread enough enamel to coat the roller on a piece of glass. I use a piece of float glass.

Enamels come in premixed versions or they are dry and mixed with a medium prior to use. For this project, I have used Thompson high fire black, which comes dry, and I have mixed it with A14.

Note that whatever paint & medium you use, it should be at least somewhat slow-drying. In my experience, enamels mixed with Klyr-Fire, or pre-mixed Glassline paints, dry much too quickly. Screen-printing enamels are ideal because they have a fairly long working time.

Coat the texture roller with enamel
Coat the texture roller with enamel

Coat the texture roller with the enamel by rolling it in the paint on the float glass. Roll it back and forth several times until the roller is evenly coated. Add more enamel to the sheet of glass if needed.

Roll the enamel onto the clear glass
Roll the enamel onto the clear glass

Starting at the top or bottom edge, roll the enamel on to the masked off glass in a single motion. Don't roll back and forth -- this will blur the image.You'll notice my texture roller is just the right width to cover the area of the unmasked clear glass.

Don't worry if you don't get absolutely perfect coverage. Sometimes it's good to see "the hand of the artist"!

Sprinkle on mica powder
Sprinkle on mica powder

Wearing a dust mask or respirator, sprinkle the mica over the enamel-covered glass. Tilt the glass back and forth, gently bumping an edge with your hand to distribute the mica evenly. You can use a single color of mica or use multiple colors. In the coral koi dish at the top of the tutorial, I have used a rose colored mica and a gold colored mica.

Once the mica is evenly distributed, carefully remove the tape.  Hold the glass vertically and tap it on your working surface to knock off the mica that is not stuck to the paint. If you do all this mica work over a sheet of paper, you can recover and reuse what doesn't stick.

Now for the fun part...Once I've knocked off all I can, I take the piece outside and, using good ole lung power, I blow across the surface of the glass several times. This generally will remove all the mica from the unpainted glass surface, leaving your enameled surface nicely coated.

Bottom pieces of glass
Bottom pieces of glass

Now it's time to work with your three colored pieces of glass. I recommend using darker colors for the center glass. Here, my picture shows a white piece of glass. At the last minute, I changed this to black because the gold mica that I used would be mostly lost against a light background.

Lay-up in the kiln
Lay-up in the kiln

Place the three colored pieces of glass on shelf paper in the kiln (I like Papyrus). Top these pieces with the clear piece of enamel/mica-coated glass, mica-side up.

Let's talk a little about this lay-up. Given that we are capping three pieces of glass with a single piece, we've got major bubble trouble brewing because we are creating potential air pockets under the single-sheet cap. I mitigated the chances of bubbles in three ways: (1) placing the glass on shelf paper, rather than directly on the kiln shelf (this provides a way for air to escape); (2) accurately cutting the glass so the bottom pieces fit tightly together; and (3) a good bubble squeeze in my firing schedule.

Here is the schedule I used:

Target Temp 
Deg F      
Time     (minutes)

The slow ramp in Segment 2 up to 1250 and the long hold at that temperature comprise the bubble squeeze.

After this full-fuse firing, I cleaned the piece and then slumped it using my usual schedule.

I hope the information above has given you ideas for creating unique glass pieces using texture rollers. More images can be found below!

Happy rolling! Dana

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Close up of koi dish - rose and gold mica
Close up of koi dish - rose and gold mica

Blue small dish - vine-pattern texture roller
Blue small dish - vine-pattern texture roller
Vine-pattern texture roller - front view
Vine-pattern texture roller - front view

Monday, September 4, 2017

Memories of Whidbey: Heron

Memories of Whidbey: Heron fused glass ar
Memories of Whidbey: Heron
fused glass art

During the 2017 Glass Craft and Bead Expo in April, I took a screen printing class with Gail Stouffer. The course material covered selecting and editing images for screen printing and one of the processes Gail uses for transferring those images to glass. A few months after I returned, I started working on one of my latest finished pieces, Memories of Whidbey: Heron. I've worked on this piece off and on over the summer between other projects and travel, and recently had a chance to put the finishing touches on it.

I thought I would share a few photos I took during the making. I won't cover the entire process (I'll leave that to Gail!), but here are some photos that provide a glimpse of what goes into creating a piece of my fused glass art.

Close-up, Heron
Close-up, Heron
The image I chose for screen printing was from a photograph I took during a visit to Whidbey Island last year when I was taking a class from Richard LaLonde (see this blog post for more information about my mandala class with Richard: Mandala Workshop, Richard Lalonde). The photo was taken just before sunset while I was sitting on the beach. I took a couple of photos, including a close-up. The close-up image of the heron offered excellent contrast for screen printing. 

Heron on a rock out-crop, Whidbey Island photo by Dana Worley
Heron on a rock out-crop, Whidbey Island
photo by Dana Worley
The image was edited and then burned to screen. I had purchased a used Lectralite UV exposure unit from another glass artist. Since this was my first test drive, I created a couple of screens to experiment with exposure time.

Screen print after exposure and washout

I screen printed a 5" circle of glass with black glass enamel, and then combined it with a lovely piece of System 96 opal art glass (these opal art glasses are no longer in production -- I am going to miss them!).

Screen-printed image on blue fusible glassLayup of glass, ready for the kiln

Into the kiln the piece went, along with two other pieces screened with the same image.

Screenprinted fused glass images,  in the kiln and ready for firing
Screenprinted fused glass images,
in the kiln and ready for firing

I tack-fused frit and fused glass pebbles in a second firing. Finally, the glass was mounted in a stand. Here is a close-up of the finished glass.

Close-up of finished fused glass piece
Close-up of finished fused glass piece

Memories of Whidbey: Heron was delivered to a gallery today for inclusion in the Logan Fine Art Fall Salon. If you would like to know more about this piece or any of my other work, you can leave a comment below or contact me via email.


Additional Resources

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Saturday, September 2, 2017


photograph of Transition fused glass art
Transition (closeup)
When I was asked to donate a piece of fused glass art to a fundraiser for Citizens Against Sexual and Physical Abuse (or what is known locally as CAPSA), I said yes without hesitation. CAPSA performs an important service in our community, providing domestic violence and sexual assault victims with shelter and transitional housing, help with restraining or protective orders, and emotional and educational support.

When I thought about the many women, children, and men who seek help from CAPSA and what that means in their lives, one of the words that I kept coming back to was transition. The idea of transition was made even more poignant to me with the recent passing of two close family members.

We all experience transition in our lives -- dark to light, success to failure, despair to hope. Even during positive transition, the beginning of the journey may be rocky and full of obstacles, and it may be difficult to see our way forward. Those obstacles, however, may unknowingly guide us along our path and to a place of clarity, beauty, and calm.

"Transition" will be available at the Malouf Foundation's Art for CAPSA Art Auction and Benefit Dinner, scheduled for October 6, 2017. Follow the links below for additional information.


Additional Information

Malouf Foundation
Transition fused glass art - full size
Transition, fused glass art