Copyright, All Rights Reserved.

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.

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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Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online

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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Web Site Basics for the Fused Glass Artist

Photo of web site
I've seen several questions on-line lately asking about options for personal web sites. Stumbling across a question multiple times is often motivation for me to write down my thoughts in a blog post. What follows is a summary of what I have researched and what I have implemented. I hope you'll find the information at least gets you started in asking some of the right questions. But first...

The Disclaimer

I am not a web designer, nor do I play one on TV. I am a glass artist with a day job (or am I a working geek with a glass hobby?) I work as a software product manager at a scientific instrumentation company, and I know how to program our equipment in our Basic-like language. However, when it comes to the World Wide Web, I am just someone who has figured out how to hack a little HTML code and who Googles a lot to find answers to my questions. This means I know just enough to be dangerous. The information you'll find here is based on my knowledge and experience. There are tools similar to the ones listed below that I'm sure will work equally well. This is not an all-inclusive list, it's the tools I have worked with.

Consider Your Needs

The first step is to consider what you are hoping to accomplish with your web site. Do you want to provide an on-line gallery of your work and information on how you can be contacted? Do you want to set up an on-line store? Are you interested in sharing what you know with others by maintaining a blog? Is your goal to advertise studio instruction or your gallery events? Having a clear purpose in mind will help you determine which tools you will need going forward.

What is your budget? What you are willing/able to pay could be a big factor in which options you choose. (If your budget is unlimited, you can skip the rest of this post and contact your local web designer. Otherwise, keep reading!)

What are your skills? Can you hack your way through HTML code or are you more comfortable with a word processor? 

Answering these questions will help you determine which tool options to consider.

Tool Options

Payments: First things first. If your goal is to sell art, then you need a way for people to pay. PayPal is an excellent option. It's secure, reliable, it's integrated into many shopping cart apps, and most customers are comfortable paying through PayPal. PayPal takes a small percentage of the overall sale (2.9% at the time of writing). If you already have a Square account, that is another good option. Square is also compatible with with many shopping cart options.

On-line Market Places: If you want a place where people can search for the type of product you offer and buy directly, but you don't want the hassles and costs of a full-blown web site, you might consider an on-line market place such as Etsy or Artfire. These sites provide an on-line storefront that is easy to set up. Products are added to the store by uploading pictures, writing a description, and entering a price. A market place has a low barrier to entry and is relatively inexpensive. As an example, on Etsy you pay a small fee -- 20 cents -- to list an item for three months. If an item sells, Etsy takes a percentage of the selling price. (Just don't forget to also add fees assessed by your payment option; e.g., PayPal). The disadvantage to these on-line market places is because they are easy to use and maintain, many people use them and it is very hard for your product to stand out from other offerings. Sales often go to the lowest price regardless of quality of craftmanship, and they are not the best tool for building a brand around your work and helping people get to know you as an artist. On the other hand, they are one of the easiest options to set up and use, if your only objective is to make your work available for sale. 

Blog Publishing Services: Do you have passion and knowledge about a subject and want to share that with the world? Blog publishing services are typically as easy to use as a basic word processor (e.g., Microsoft Word or Google Docs). Many blog services these days are all-in-one tools for website building, ecommerce (shopping carts), and blogging, and they typically offer a variety of plans ranging from "free" (which usually gives you the ability to blog, but no ecommerce/store front) to paid-for services that can offer ecommerce, sophisticated statistical analysis of web-site traffic, and unlimited product listings. If your goal is to blog, I suggest looking at Blogspot, Wordpress, or Weebly. If you are looking for the ability to blog as well as have a web site from which you sell products, consider Weebly, or a Blogspot or Wordpress site coupled with a third party shopping cart plug-in. 

Third Party Ecommerce (shopping cart) options: For my money, one word - Ecwid. These guys have it aced when it comes to ease-of-use, functionality, and a reasonable price. When I was searching for a shopping cart option to integrate into my web site, I stumbled upon Ecwid. Within an hour, I had set up an account, added a few products, entered payment and shipping options, and Ecwid generated a line of code that I copied into my web site. Viola, a shopping cart automagically appeared on my web site. Five minutes later I was giving them my credit card for a year's worth of shopping cart bliss, all for the low price of $150 annually and no additional fees (just don't forget your PayPal fees if that is how you plan to accept payment). Ecwid also has plug-ins for Weebly, Blogger, Wordpress, and others. Yes, this is an unabashedly biased review of what I think is a great tool.

Hosted Web-Site: If you are looking for more flexibility than what is offered by a Blog Publishing Service, you may want to consider a hosted web site. To accomplish this, you typically need at least intermediate web design skills, or you will want to hire someone to do the development for you. The advantage to this approach is that your web site design is limited only by your skills and imagination (or your wallet, if you are paying someone for the design). There are some web-page development tools that offer low-cost hosting options. For instance, Coffee Cup Software offers a suite of web site design tools, including Coffee Cup HTML (an HTML Editor) and Coffee Cup RSD (Responsive Site Designer). Both offer you the ability to easily publish the web site you create to a site that they host for you at a very reasonable cost (~$5/month). There are many web-hosting companies, including local businesses if you would rather go that route (do an Internet search for web hosting and you'll find many options as well as reviews).

Custom Domain Name: A domain name is the "address" of your web site. It's what you see in the top bar of your browser when you visit a particular site. In many instances, when you set up a blog or a hosted web site, the entity with whom you are working will assign to you a domain name. For instance, I currently host my web site with Coffee Cup, and the name of my web site on their servers is However, I wanted a unique name so I purchased two custom names from GoDaddy, who is a domain name registrar: and Both of these are linked to my site on the CoffeeCup domain server. (CoffeeCup had clear instructions on which settings to change to link the domain names to their server. Blogger has similar instructions.)

There are many domain name registrars. They are required to be certified and follow certain rules, so they all offer essentially the same product. When considering a custom domain name, pricing is one factor. However, many of those entities who manage domain names also offer services such as web site hosting, so you may be able to get a package that offers you a domain name and a web site. For example, is a domain name that comes free of charge with the web site I have hosted on CoffeeCup.

My Implementation

I've peppered the information above with several, "here's what I've done" comments. To summarize, this is currently what I have set up.

  • A web site hosted by CoffeeCup, I started creating my web site using CoffeeCup HTML Editor. Publishing a web site to their servers is basically a click of a button so it did not require me to worry about the details of getting the web site files from my PC to their servers. The process was easy and the hosting fee was reasonable. I now use their Responsive Site Designer program rather than the HTML Editor, but it's still an easy one-click process to publish to their servers.
  • Two custom domain names, purchased through GoDaddy. ( and These are both linked to my web site on CoffeeCup.
  • Ecwid shopping cart so that people can purchase my products on-line. 
  • I enjoy sharing what I know about glass, so I wanted a blog. My blog is set up on Blogpot: Of course, if you're reading this on line right now, you know that!

Keep in mind that web sites are always a work in progress! I still have a lot of changes I would like to make to my web site, including getting more items in my on-line store and setting up a separate gallery of work. But, it's a good start and it's my own, unique web presence. 

As I mentioned above, this is not all-inclusive. It's based on what I understand, and it's what I've done. I hope it helps you in some small way start down the road to providing a great web presence for your art!

Best, Dana

Note: I made some changes recently, which may require a few days to populate across DNS servers. If you have visited my web site in the past and now try to visit or, you may get a message about the site "no longer being parked". If so, visit my CoffeeCup site directly:


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Monday, April 10, 2017

Glass Art Guild of Utah Spring Show - Pioneer Theatre Company

Artist, Barbara Busche
The Pioneer Theatre Company recently hosted the Glass Art Guild of Utah in its Loge Gallery during the performance of King Charles the III. The play and accompanying exhibit ran from March 24 through April 8, 2017. The exhibit included kiln-formed, lampwork, and blown glass from 25 of the Guild's 45 members.

A variety of work by guild artists.
Two of my bowls are on the bottom shelf.
(bottom left / bottom right)
The exhibit featured a variety of 3-D and 2-D glass art, along with several display cases of jewelry. All of the work on display was available for purchase. During performances, Guild members were on hand to talk about their work and the techniques they use, and to assist theater-goers with sales. Last night was "my night" to assist during the show, so my other half and I took the opportunity to attend the play during the afternoon matinee, grab dinner, and then return to assist for the evening performance.

I used my cell phone to capture a few snapshots of the work on display. At times I had to photograph the pieces from odd angles to avoid glare while still getting a reasonable photograph in the subdued lighting. With that in mind, I hope you enjoy seeing the work of our very talented artists in the Guild.

The patrons I had an opportunity to talk with had many favorable things to say about the exhibit, including the quality of work, the variety, and the unique beauty of glass art. While many pieces in the exhibit sold, we still have work available, and most of the Guild's artists are available to create custom pieces. If you are interested in any of the pieces displayed here, drop me a note or contact the Glass Art Guild of Utah for additional information.

Enjoy the show!


View this Video on YouTube instead:

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Using Fiber Paper to Make Your Own Shallow Mold

Fused glass candle/soap dish
Fused glass candle/soap dish

Based on discussions I have seen on-line lately, I thought I would provide a quick tutorial on using fiber paper to create a shallow mold for fused glass. This project started when I had a leftover frit mixture from another project and thought I would create a quick candle or soap dish for a local Valentine auction. My plan was to slump it into a small square mold I have, but once fired, I felt like the piece needed something to spice it up. I decided to cut a unique shape from the glass and get creative with the slumping mold.
Fused glass project before firing
Fused glass project before firing

Since Valentine was the theme, I shaped my square glass blank into a tear-drop shape. I drew the shape onto the glass with a Sharpie pen, and used my mosaic cutters to roughly cut the tear-drop shape (I was lazy and didn't want to drag out my ring-saw). Next, I took the piece to my regular grinder, first grinding with a coarse bit and then further refining the edge with a fine bit. After that, I worked the edges with diamond hand pads until smooth.

Once I had my new shape, I following the steps below to create my fiber paper mold.

Use a sharp blade for cutting the shape
Use a sharp blade for cutting the shape

Lay out 1/8" fiber paper on top of a fabric cutting mat. Cut around the shape of the glass using a sharp, straight blade. I used a cheap plastic break-away blade that you can pick up at any hardware or "big-box" store. When cutting the fiber paper, try to cut in long, continuous cuts. You'll have a much smoother edge this way.

A continuous cut leaves a nice clean edge
A continuous cut leaves a nice clean

At left is the cut piece.

Mark the inside cut with a sewing gauge
Mark the inside cut with a sewing gauge

I wanted a 2 cm edge for my dish, so I used a small sewing gauge as my guide for marking 2 cm all the way around my shape. (Strange how all my sewing tools have migrated into the glass shop!)

Cut out the center
Cut out the center

Next, cut the center out of the fiber paper, once again, trying to use continuous cuts.

Cut fiber pieces for a decorative edge
Cut fiber pieces for a decorative edge

I wanted a bit of a ruffled edge, so I cut some small squares.

Glue the pieces in place
Glue the pieces in place

I placed the squares around the edge of the fiber paper mold and used a few drops of white glue to hold each piece in place.

Fire to 1260 deg F; 10 minute hold
Fire to 1260 deg F; 10 minute hold

Into the kiln it goes! I placed my fiber mold on a kiln-washed shelf, and placed the glass on top. I fired to 1260 degrees F (hotter than I would normally slump) and held for 10 minutes.

Front of the finished candle/soap dish
Front of the finished candle/soap dish
Back of the finished candle/soap dish
Back of the finished candle/soap dish

Here's the finished piece, both front and back. The piece sits flatly on a table, but since it is intended as a soap or candle dish, I put rubber bump-ons on the bottom so it would not slide.

I hope you've found this write-up helpful. The process used here is basically the same as "kiln-carving" glass. If you want to learn more about kiln-carving, check out this tip sheet from Bullseye Glass, and also the links to the Educational Videos, below.

Happy fusing!


Bullseye Video: Kilncarving
Bullseye Video, Kilncarved Sconce Project