Glass Crackle Christmas

Amber-backed almond crackle with amber powder design.
10" Fused glass crackle bowl.
Amber-backed almond crackle
with amber powder design.
artist - Dana Worley
Christmas came early for fused glass enthusiasts this year with Bob Leatherbarrow's release of his first book, "Introduction to Kilnformed Glass Powders". Bob is the master (and discoverer) of the fused glass crackle technique. His secrets on how to create this beautiful art form have been in demand for years.

As I have written before, I have been fortunate enough to take classes with Bob at his studio on Salt Spring Island. I found Bob to be a thorough, patient teacher, who generously shares his knowledge with a dash of wry humor thrown in. Bob's first book is a reflection of his classes -- a lot of detailed information delivered concisely and comprehensively, while still being engaging and fun.

Bob begins by discussing how he applies the scientific method to experimenting with fused glass. I think this discussion alone is worth the small price of the book for those who will consider it when things in the kiln don't quite turn out as they planned. Bob then covers the details of the crackle process, color considerations, cold-working, and finally, great information on creating and using design wafers. (In fact, Bob covers everything you need to know to create the 5" red bowl below, right.)
5" crackle bowl. Yellow back, brown & red front with powder wafer design.
5" crackle bowl. Yellow back; brown
& red front. Powder wafer design.
artist - Dana Worley, made in
Bob's fused glass crackle class

While there are a couple of free tutorials and an ebook or two on the fused glass crackle technique, I have found them lacking in detail when it comes to the process of creating an "excellent crackle". (And, as a technical writer, I've found some of them annoyingly poorly written, but maybe that's just me...) While reading Bob's book, I felt as if I were sitting back in his workshop again, soaking up all of the knowledge he so generously shares. And even though I've taken the class covered by the book, I found it a good refresher on some points that I either forgot or missed the first time around.

Bob's book is a great addition to your fused glass library. It's thorough, well-written, and challenges you to take this technique to the next level. Bob is working on subsequent books, and I can't wait to see what new secrets he shares!

Happy holidays,

Learn more! 

Bob Leatherbarrow, Leatherbarrow Glass Studio

Want to learn more about fusing? Bullseye Glass has excellent educational videos!
Bullseye Kiln-glass Education Online
5" fused glass crackle bowl. Mauve & pewter powders; blue iridescent glass backing.
5" fused glass crackle bowl.
Mauve & pewter powders;
blue iridescent glass backing.
artist - Dana Worley (sold)

I use Spectrum's System 96 in all of my work:

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