Lucent Glass Tiles

Architecture of Provincetown 800xA very skilled artisan friend of mine once said, “Christie, eventually all SMART stained glass artists go into fusing glass.” As a smart and RESTLESS stained glass artist, fusing very small amounts of my overall glass artwork is perfect for me. The inventive use of a glass that few glass artists even consider as a kiln glass, helps to keep and make my work unusual and distinctive.
All my fused glass tiles (Lucent series) are kilnworked with German New Antique glass. This glass is traditionally used as a cold worked glass in my stained glass panels.

Through years of experimenting I discovered that this glass is fusing compatible, meaning that all the colours and clear fuse with each other without cracking on cool down.

Not only is this glass beautiful before fusing (it is the least textured glass except for clear window glass), but it is even more beautiful after fusing… taking on the delicate texture of the kiln washed shelves (I use 16 layers of kiln wash and then buff the shelf with chamois to get just the right texture) and becoming as smooth as water on a still day on the surface.

This glass has a clarity and colour perfection that is only enhanced by the long fusing process.

This is also a very colour limited glass: no red, no orange, no yellow, no teal, no opalescent colours of any kind… but ALL the colours are reflective of the amazing colour palette here on the Cape.

This delicate colour spectrum is a wonderful challenge to work with, and at the same time effortless in its creative ability.

I have also challenged myself with this glass to limit the “shapes” I want to work with. I want the glass to have a natural flow and feel, and to let the shapes work within the pieces to convey movement without too much manipulation by me.

I use two shapes for my lucent glass work: Curved trapezoids and fronds.

I do allow myself to cut some trapezoids in half to allow for blunt edges suitable for flowers, and even smaller trapezoids for small delicate petals if necessary. Otherwise I use all shapes as they are cut, challenging myself to find just the right spot, or searching for just the right shape to work within the piece I am creating.

Most tiles are created right in the kiln, as they can be up to 200 or 300 pieces of glass layered on top of another to create a whole out of many. Glass must be layered and touching as it contracts during the firing process, and any “empty” or non connected spots can lead to breakage or “unplanned” effects after firing (let’s say, for instance, two tiles instead of one!)

Some tiles have a single glass layer which I build upon, and most of these tiles are made for installation on walls or back-splashes, and inclusion with other tiles for art and decorative purposes.

Tiles are generally fused for 3-5 hours (some for 20-30 hours) to temperature (1500 degrees), and cooled down electronically in the kiln for 5-10 hours (some for 15-20 hours)..and then let to cool to room temp for 1-2 days.

For some tiles, this is just the beginning, as they are then fired to shape in a secondary process!

Tiles can then be displayed, holes can be drilled for hanging, or ready with opaque backing for installation with commercial tiles in bathrooms, kitchens and showers.

Custom tiles are a wonderful process, and introducing the client to the limited palette has a wonderfully refreshing feel…the work is clean and elegant, and the client can still find beautifully compatible accent colours, and sometimes clever layering can create new colours which work perfectly within the overall artwork.

Depending on the artwork, delicately placing hints of “dichroic” glass within and on the tile before firing add an ambient light effect that enhances the subtle colours of this beautiful Antique Glass.