Friday, January 27, 2017

Fusing Fever!

At this time of year, I devote several weeks to expanding my working knowledge of fusing by pushing boundaries in my glass studio. 

As an instructor, I strive to encourage, inspire and nurture my students. But every so often, I crave the freedom to follow my own imaginative path; to seek out exciting new methods for making fused glass that I can bring to the classroom. The rewards of concentrated study go beyond improving and expanding technique. The in-depth focus gives me a fresh perspective for creating unique designs and the limitless possibilities bring the novelty back to my job. 

Out in my studio, I’ve been making a conscious effort to be more open minded and flexible in my approach to design and assembly. The results have been amazing! New project ideas are flowing freely and filling my head faster than I can keep up. 

I’m really excited about sharing the many new design concepts and techniques I’m discovering during this concentrated study. Students taking my upcoming classes can look forward to learning and expanding on this exciting new material in class.  

Are you ready to do things differently? Join me in February and take your work to the next level!

Let’s get fired up!

There’s still time to register!
Advanced Glass Fusing, February 21-24, 2017
As a life-long learner myself, I know it sometimes takes a change of scenery, a challenging new educational experience and the encouragement of an experienced instructor to advance my skills and help me grow. 

Are you ready to grow? This class is for you!

4-Days, Hands-on Workshop
My private studio, Wesley Chapel, FL

Stand out! Striking glass work is the result of combining multiple, advanced techniques in innovative ways to produce exceptional art. In this comprehensive, 4-day workshop, Lisa will show you how to combine different methods of assembly to make original, fused glass art that’ll make you standout. Techniques include: the new Free-Flow, combing, weaving, embossing, advanced layering, designing artistic shapes, plus creative and deep slumping. You’ll also learn how to change the shape of thick, fused glass with various saws, slitters and drills. In addition, kiln operation, how to make your own unique display stands and how to photograph your work are also covered. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

5 Fun and Fabulous Frit Techniques You’ll Love


Never underestimate the power of small! Frit may be tiny, but make no mistake, this little powerhouse can make a huge, positive impact on your glass artwork. The beauty of frit is in its flexibility. I love to push that flexibility every chance I get. 

There are always several ways to approach any glass fusing project. But if you can incorporate frit of some sort into that project, you’ll have something unexpected that is unquestionably more engaging. And as self-serving as it is, we all want to dazzle people with our art. 

Next time you’re brainstorming how to build your project, consider replacing some or several design elements with frit. Play with different sizes; use mosaic, course, medium, fine and powder. Each size has its own unique visual characteristic that you will love after firing. Work with several shades of the same color such as light amber and medium amber to create a three-dimensional quality. Repeat the same color such as red in both transparent and opal glasses for greater contrast. 

Let’s dive in!

1 Go Overboard! Strengthen your design by incorporating a subtle complimentary pattern in the background. When making the Flowering Tree, I cut a leafy tree limb stencil out of stiff paper. I then sifted soft green powders over the stencil to add the delicate woodland setting behind the flowering plant. The addition of the soft foliage unifies the overall project and makes it distinctly more appealing. The great thing about stenciling a design is that each piece you make will be slightly different and therefore each and every one has a unique beauty.

2 Go Deeper! Consider increasing the attraction of your work by repeating the same pattern on both the base layer and the top layer. Simply sift powders over a stencil on the base layer. Then turn the stencil ¼ turn and repeat the pattern on the second layer. Stack the layers to create a new, more elegant design. This quick little trick is a terrific way to increase visual depth and ramp up the sophistication of your artwork.  

3 Lighten Up! Give your design a light source and you’ll have an immediate winner. With frit you can do it in a snap. Select frit in multiple shades of the same color. Use both transparent and opal versions of every color in your palette. Then gradually spread the frit working from light to dark. Blend the colors as you go for an even more engaging flow. This painterly technique rapidly transforms flat, lifeless images into lively three dimensional masterpieces. 

4 Set the Mood! Making a sherbet colored tropical sunset, a magical starry night or mysterious mist cloaked meadow is easy with frit. Think about how such enchanted places make you feel. Think about how they draw you in, tempt you to stay and make you wonder what hidden treasures wait for you just out of sight. Now take that feeling and make it tangible by mixing different colors of frit and you’ll create energetic settings that speaks out loud. 

5 Take the Helm! Next time your cut glass design doesn’t fit as accurately as you’d like, do what I do. Throw in a zinger. Fill that nasty crevice or inconvenient hole with frit in a color that contrasts the cut glass around it. No, you’re not fudging a mistake. You’re making something new, adding detail and highlighting the more important characteristics of your design.   

Don’t Mutiny! Frit may be small but its applications are huge. Use it in small or even large doses and as you navigate these new waters you’ll begin to fathom the many, many artistic possibilities. 

Anchors Away!

Want to learn more? Join me Tuesday!
This is just a sampling of the tips and techniques you’ll see how to apply in my Fusing with Frit webinar Tuesday. I hope to meet YOU there!

Fusing with Frit, Tuesday, January 24, 2017. Webinar.
Register here

It’s LIVE! I come to YOU! Join me for this live event and see how easy it is to add pizazz to all your work with frit.

Check out this popular video for more fun frit ideas!

Want one-on-one, hands-on instruction?
Advanced Glass Fusing Workshop with Lisa Vogt
There’s still time to register! 
February 21-24, 2017, Wesley Chapel, FL

5 Awesome New Things You’ll Learn in this workshop

1 NEW Free-Flow process for artful blends and washes like blown glass.
2 How to create dramatic effects with color, pattern and texture. 
3 How to design and build complex, multifaceted works.
4 How to give your art unique form that stands out from the crowd.   
5 How to combine multiple advanced techniques for engaging artwork.  

Beginner to Advanced skill levels welcome!
4-Day, Hands-on Workshop
Lisa’s Private Glass Studio, Wesley Chapel, Florida
Register online today! Class size is limited!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

No matter how you came to call yourself a fuser, this is for youI Fusing Fundamentals- Beyond Basics

Fusing Fundamentals-Beyond Basics

Wherever you are in your glass fusing journey, newbie or advanced artisan, I believe we can all benefit from reviewing construction basics on occasion. Here’s why: 

Excited newbies are usually so eager to cut glass that they don’t really hear the guidelines and they lack the experience to realize the relative importance of these recommendations on their finished project. While advanced crafters are absorbed in the creative process and the end result, to the point that they can go blind to the practicality of solid construction.  

Then there are those dare devils who’ve stumbled onto glass fusing and are immediately hooked. They dive right in giving little, if any, consideration to protocol. You know who you are. You fire first and ask later. 

No matter how you came to call yourself a fuser, this is for you.

Let’s start at the beginning.  

Glass Fusing- Defined 

Glass fusing is the process of taking compatible glass, stacking it to make a pattern or design and then firing it in a kiln until the glass melts together. Simple, right? Now, let’s build from there. 

Glass Fusing Fundamentals  

Pre-fire - Left to right: one layer, two layers, three layers

Volume Control – The Foundation for Quality Work 

What is volume control, and why is it important?
Volume control is the relationship between how a project is assembled and its finished size, shape and thickness after fusing. It’s a formula you can use to accurately predict how your project will look and feel after it’s been fired. 

Let’s say you want to fuse a series of glass tiles to make a back-splash for your kitchen. But, you can only fit 20 tiles in your kiln at one time, and you need 200 tiles to complete the job. With what you’ll soon learn about volume control, every tile from the first to the last will match beautifully. Or, let’s say you have a tropical fish pattern you’d like to work into a larger project. Here, the size and shape of the finished piece is very important to you. If the fish shrinks or grows in size it could ruin the entire design. 

Another thing to consider, is whether or not you intend to slump your fused glass. The fused glass must fit neatly inside the mold, not on the rim, or it will slump unevenly to one side. This is where volume control comes into effect. With it, you’ll know how to compensate for any potential growth in advance of fusing your glass. (A good rule of thumb is to measure the mold and then cut your glass ¼ inch to ½ inch smaller than that measurement.) 

You have choices when it comes to how to assemble your projects. Different methods of construction will result in different project characteristics. Our goal here is to give you the tools to make educated decisions when selecting your technique so you have greater control and more satisfying results. 
Post-fire –Left to right: original unfired tile, fired one layer, two layers, three layers
How Glass Reacts to High Heat

Fused glass seeks a thickness of ¼ inch. That means a project made with a single layer of 1/8” thick glass will shrink. When it shrinks, the edges roll in and can become sharp. This shrinkage causes inconsistencies in the glass thickness. It’s usually surprisingly thick around the perimeter and thin in the middle. A project made by layering two pieces of 1/8” thick glass is likely to retain its original size and shape, and will have a consistent thickness throughout. While a project made by layering three pieces of 1/8” thick glass will grow. When it grows, the shape distorts and a square becomes a bad circle.  

Before starting a project, ask yourself how it will be used. If it’s an ornament, a single layer might be your best method of assembly due to the loose, freeform shape and its light weight. If the piece is intended to be a decorative bowl, the two-layer assembly would be my choice. It has a clean, rounded edge quality and is consistent in thickness throughout. Now, if I were making a patterned sheet of glass to cut up with my saw, I’d go for the three-layer approach. In this example, the finished size and shape of the fused glass blank is irrelevant because the fused glass will be cut up.

How the placement of accents effect the size and shape of fused glass.


My Building Process 

Most of my work is assembled with the two layer, plus accent method. I refer to the bottom layer as the base and the second as the design layer. The base layer and design layer are the same shape and size. The base layer is often a single piece of clear, but not always; sometimes it’s made up of cut pieces. The second design layer can be a single piece of glass, but often, its pieces fit together to make a specific pattern or design. The third accent layer is minimal and it usually consists of small fusible elements that enhance the design theme. I choose to build this way because I get consistent results time after time. The finished size and shape of the artwork is predictable. The pieces come out of the kiln with beautiful rounded edges and a consistent thickness that is both attractive and durable.   

It’s All Good   

Keep in mind, there’s no single right or wrong way to make any project. Personal preference, design style and function, should all play a role in helping you decide which approach is best. The objective is to consciously choose your fabrication method based on a solid understanding of the medium, rather than on a whim. 

There are always exceptions to the rules. The minute I make finite rules for myself, I break them. So, I’ve learned not to box myself in. You shouldn’t either. 

Enjoy the journey. The destination will take care of itself.

Happy Fusing!
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Upcoming Webinar
Fusing with Frit, January 24, 2017

Upcoming hands-on Workshop
There’s still room!
Advanced Glass Fusing Workshop with Lisa Vogt
February 21-24, 2017, Wesley Chapel, FL
Beginner to Advanced skill level.
4-Day, Hands-on Workshop
Lisa’s Private Glass Studio, Wesley Chapel, Florida
Register online today! Class size is limited to 4!

In this workshop, you’ll learn how to select inspiring color palates, design standout art that reflects your own style, work with full sheets of glass in colors of your choice, be encouraged to combine new advanced techniques and complete numerous large-scale pieces of art. And, you’ll leave with an enthusiastic new level of confidence in your flourishing creative talents.    

You won’t wait in line to use a tool, bump elbows in a crowded workspace or make boring knick-knacks.  

Here’s what the students are saying about the workshop.

“I loved how many completed projects we were able to make during the workshop.”
“What surprised me was that we could work on anything we wanted to and everyone could be working on different projects.”
“Awesome workshop! I loved the creative flow between the instructor and the participant. Lots of positive feedback and encouragement. Lots of attention to detail.”