I recently completed my first “commissioned” piece of fused glass art.
After visiting a local art fair, my sister-in-law contacted me to see if I would be able to make something similar to a piece of art she had seen there. The photo she showed me looked like a fun project to do – Four Seasons of Trees set in a frame that resembled a window. The item that was available at the art fair had a black frame, but she wanted something more “organic” or natural looking. So, we found an unstained framed made out of reclaimed wood on-line and ordered it. After it arrived, it was time to start making the fused glass panels.
After measuring each opening, I cut two matching pieces of clear glass for each pane 5.75″ square. These were then fused together with a Full Fuse schedule (maximum temperature 1465, 20 minute hold) to create the solid background for each pane. No need to show a picture of this as it was just clear glass. Because of the size of my kiln and the size of the panes, each one needed to be fused separately – so four firings needed for this step.
Next, I cut brown glass to resemble the tree trunks. Generally a tree would be leafless in the winter, and in the spring the tree would be less full than later in the year. So, I added some strips of glass to make branches for the trees. These were then Contour Fused (maximum temperature 1375, 10 minute hold) to pull the pieces together and round the edges of the glass. Because glass wants to settle at a 1/4″ thickness, I could not Full Fuse these pieces. If I had, the shape of the trees would have been melted away into a amorphous log of unusable glass. After making the tree trunks, I fused red opaque medium frit to create small frit balls that would resemble apples for the summer panel. I chose full fuse for this step because I wanted the apples to be well rounded. If I had been thinking ahead, I would have done these at the same time as I did the clear glass to save me one fusing cycle. But, that wasn’t the case – so these two steps were two more fusing cycles.
Finally I was at the fun part – creating the pane for each season.
Winter: I used white opaque glass for the snow – fine frit and medium frit, as well as some clear dichroic glass to add sparkle to the falling snow. The pane was then fired at a Light Fuse schedule (maximum temperature 1350, no hold time). I chose this schedule so that I did not loose too much of the detail of the glass frit pieces.
Spring: For this I used opaque green fine frit for the base layer. On top of that I sprinkled Clover Blend medium frit. To create the apple blossoms, I used Cherry Blossom medium frit. This pane was then fired using the Light Fuse schedule.
Summer: I used a mixture of translucent and opaque green fine frit with opaque green medium frit sprinkled over top. The “apple” frit balls were then placed in the tree and the pane was Light Fused.
Autumn: I used a mixture of translucent and opaque tangerine fine frit for the base of the tree. The same green mixture that I used for the summer tree was used for the ground. On top of this I sprinkled opaque red, orange and sunflower yellow medium frit. I allowed some of the frit to land between the tree and the ground so that it looked like the leaves were falling. This pane was then Light Fused following the same schedule as before.
After a total of ten firings, the panes were ready to be attached to the wooden frame using clear E6000 adhesive.
This project turned out very nice. It reminds me of a project that I completed about two years, a Four Seasons Tree. This project required a total of 16 firings (four for each panel).