Hi MB. While there certainly are skills that a person may need to
take classes to learn, I don’t believe that fused glass is one of
them. I’ve been making dichroic glass cabochons for jewelry
manufacturers for about 4 years now. My cabochons have a look that
is quite different from other dichroic glass that I have seen around
and it is quite easy for me to recognize it instantly as my own even
though I produce many thousands of pieces.
I say this because I truly believe that had I taken a class in how
to fuse glass and how to work with dichroic glass, my cabochons
wouldn’t have the unique look that they do today. Instructors will
teach you how THEY fuse dichroic glass and they often want to sell
you supplies at an inflated price. Books will give a bit more well
rounded instruction because they are able to include more information
but most are still full of rules. There are a few rules that I have
read in several of the “newest, latest, greatest” books on the
subject that say quite plainly, “Don’t do it, don’t try it, it
doesn’t work.” Well it does, because I’m doing it. If I listened to
the “experts,” my glass would probably look much like the status quo.
Therefore, I determined that some rules are meant to be broken and
that sometimes the greatest things happen entirely by accident.
Glass fusing is not something that you necessarily need a teacher to
learn from. You can do what I did. Buy “Contemporary Warm Glass: A
Guide to Fusing, Slumping & Kiln-Forming Techniques” by Brad Walker
(ISBN 0970093349) which is an excellent book for beginners,
intermediates and advanced fusers. Buy a small kiln, I used a small
kiln (8" square inside) that I got a garage sale for $50. Then go to
your local glass store and buy some sheets of compatible glass and
some tools. Because dichroic glass can be expensive, I’d stick with
regular glass until you’ve got the fusing technique down. After
you’ve done a couple of fusings, just go for it and have fun! Sure,
you’ll make some mistakes along the way, but that’s how we learn.
Who knows, maybe you’ll make a new discovery and become truly great.
Nancy Stinnett, Owner