08/2010 OKANAGAN ART WORKS
In addition, different colours react to heat differently. Plus, the temperature at which glass melt and fuse has nothing to do with its rate of expansion and retraction. Heating up the glass must happen slowly to avoid thermal shock. Slight fluctuations in temperature plays an enormous role as well. 5 - 10° hotter or cooler could change the outcome of how the glass would react and this would affect the appearance of the piece. No doubt about it, fusing glass is an exact science and you truly have to understand your medium to be successful in this art form. Cheryl McFadden knows her product. “I have been glass fusing for 18 years, and still find it exhilarating to experiment with designs, colours and textures. Much of the glass I use has “dichroic” or “iridescent” coatings that create beautiful light-transmitting colours within the glass when viewed under different lighting conditions.
“Planning is important. Before I do a piece, I have to know what I want to create to plan how to create it. Past experience helps a lot and always keeping notes of every piece I make has become a great reference guide. From my notes I can see what happened when and under what temperatures, especially if I want to repeat a design.” To start the fusing process, all the layers to be used for creating the design must first be washed. Every layer must be dust free and fingerprint free as this will show clearly if not removed. The different layers are then fused together into one solid flat panel. The entire design may be fused two or three times to get the desired look. When everything has been fused together, the panel has to be slumped if a curved shape is wanted. Slumping requires the panel to be balanced on top of a mold and heated inside the kiln at a lower temperature than the fusing temperature. Slumping will not change or move any of the layers. Once the design has become a solid panel, it stays that way. “There is always something new to try,” Cheryl says, “like a new shape or different temperature. If I repeat a vase shape, for instance, just a change in the temperature will give a new outcome. Some of my artwork, like the handkerchief vase, has to stay in the kiln till it has cooled to 150°F. This takes a long time, but it is always fun to see what it will look like when it comes out. I am at the mercy of these vases though. They do what they want to do in the kiln. They may stretch all the way down, or not, but that is part of the excitement.” Left: ‘Tranquility’ Table – Asian inspired table hosts the tranquility symbol suspended as if floating above the embossed lotus flower below. Approx. 22” in diameter. Artwork © Cheryl McFadden
Gallery of art work by Okanagan artists