Welcome to the Clay & Glass blog of Meagan Chaney Gumpert! We hope you enjoy your time here!
Friday, January 27, 2012

Upcoming Fused Glass Workshop

Upcoming Workshop: May 5, 2012

Fused Glass 101   

What is fused glass?!?  This exciting, hands-on class is designed to teach beginners the foundations of glass fusing.  Step-by-step instructions from selecting and cutting glass to color layering secrets and kiln firing techniques will be explored.  Gain a thorough understanding of the process while creating fused glass jewelry and an unique sun catcher!

Maximum class size: 5 students

Class hours:
Saturday, May 5 from 10:00-5:00,

Lunch provided

Tuition: $80 + $40 for materials and firings.

Location: Ocala, FL

To register, please email me at Please write REGISTRATION in the subject line to avoid delivery to my spam mail folder.

Thanks! And I hope to see you this Spring!

Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Fused Glass Pendants - How to Shape and Fire Polish

With 500 pendants in progress, I thought I'd talk about one of the finishing techniques.

After the fused glass has been kiln cast in "bricks", sliced on the tile saw, and fused again with a layer of dichroic glass, they are finally ready to be shaped, grooved and polished.

The pendant on the left is "before" shaping/grooving the pendant on the right is "after" shaping/grooving.


Can you see the narrow groove/channel that runs along the edge of the pendant in the side view? That is there to hold the sterling silver wire in place when the piece wire wrapped.

I recently bought a Glastar All-Star G8 grinder and have been very happy with it. The grinding bit on the left that is just sitting on the top is the one I use to shape the pendants. The bit that's on the grinder head is called a jewelry bit, and it's how I put that groove into the edge of the pendants.

All that grinding and shaping leaves the edges rough and cloudy. Pendants are too small to be cold-worked with progressively finer sandpapers, so I fire polish them.

Here's a blurb from the Warm Glass website that explains fire polishing: "Fire polishing is the simple technique of returning glass items to the kiln to melt them just enough to give a smooth, polished appearance. It typically takes place at a temperature that ranges from 1300 F/700 C to 1400 F/760 C."

I've mentioned before that I fuse all my glass in a ceramics kiln. Here they are loaded into Gladys, my Skutt glaze-tech test kiln.  

Here's the four segment firing schedule I use to fire polish:

Segment 1: 500 deg. F/hour to 1000 deg. F and hold for 10 minutes
Segment 2: 500 deg. F/hour to 1275 deg. F and hold for 10 minutes

Segment 3: 9999* to 1025 deg. F and hold for 15 minutes

Segment 4: 9999* to 975 deg. F and hold for 10 minutes

(*9999 is how I program the controller on my kiln to cool as fast as possible. Some kilns will say "full" instead. Just check your owner's manual if you aren't sure.)

Below is a shot that shows what the pendants look like pre-fire polish and post-fire polish. The pendant on the left is still rough and cloudy from shaping. The sides of the pendant on the right are all smooth and glossy again after fire polishing. Hooray!

Now they're ready to be wrapped in wire. Stay tuned for a video detailing how I wire wrap a pendant.
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Monday, January 31, 2011

Fusing Glass in a Ceramics Kiln

I'm often asked about my firing methods. Since I work with both clay and glass, many people assume that I have two separate kilns. Nope!

Meet Lily. My L&L Kiln. (Easy Fire e23-3) I love her! We've been working together since November of 2003. I bought her in South Carolina from, and we've made several moves together. North Carolina (Raleigh and Asheville), Gatlinburg, TN and now Ocala, FL. She's a bit shorter than many "standard" ceramics kilns - only 2 sections/rings rather than 3, but she's perfect for my needs. (Purchasing her his another story that I'm especially happy to share with any recent or upcoming graduates.)An article recently went out in the Skutt Kiln newsletter Skutt Hot Topics Yes, Virginia, you can fuse glass in your ceramics kiln that discusses this in more detail. I'm not sure of the author, but it goes on to explain the difference in the two "types" of kilns, and how to load a ceramics kiln for glass.

I'd like to add a few things to the article.

1. - While you can fire glass in a ceramics kiln, it doesn't necessarily work the other way around. Glass kilns traditionally don't get hot enough to fire even low-fire clay. Here are the glass firing schedules I've worked out for my ceramics kiln.

2. - I do have two sets of shelves. The kiln wash/shelf primer used in ceramics is usually thick and gloppy. I use Bullseye Shelf Primer for my glass shelves. It's thin and goes on smooth which is important since the glass will pick up any texture or brush strokes from the shelf/primer.

3. - I also have a Vent-Sure downdraft vent system. This does several things. It helps the kiln fire more evenly - important in clay, glazing, and especially glass. It also helps remove any potentially harmful vapors. Good for your health and the kiln. Less of these volatile vapors are absorbed into the kiln bricks/walls so there's less of a chance your glass will become cloudy from cross contamination and off-gassing.

If you have any questions, drop me a comment. I'm happy to share what I've learned!

Happy Firing!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
Tammy Douglas commented on 03-Feb-2016 10:58 AM
I only have one set of shelves, can I use the Bullseye shelf primer for ceramics?
Meagan Chaney Gumpert commented on 16-Feb-2016 09:10 AM
Hi Tammy,

Thank you for your comment! I apologize for the delay; your question was buried among a list of spam comments.

If you only have one set of shelves, I would use a ceramic kiln wash/shelf primer on them rather than the Bullseye shelf primer. The Bullseye glass primer cannot handle the high temps for ceramics and glaze would still probably stick to the shelves.

Another option is glass Thin Fire or fiber paper. I'm not a fan of this because it's super stinky (toxic) when you fire it and it's only a one time use thing, but it would work in your situation.

Best of luck!
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Glass - Kiln Casting and Slumping

Finished up these tile plaques this week. This series of 6" x 6" x 1" plaques incorporates kiln cast glass and slumping, so I thought I'd share a couple pictures of the glass process today.

Finished Wall Plaques
Unfired glass stacked into steel molds. The molds are lined with fiber paper so the castings wont stick. Yes, I use the same L&L ceramics kiln to fire both ceramics and fused glass, and it works beautifully! I do have separate sets of selves, and 2 different types of kiln wash (aka shelf primer) though.
Kiln castings after being fired to 17250F. Interested in my glass firing schedule?
Check it out here.
In my kiln, this firing is set to Program #5. The kiln castings after the glass has been taken out of the mold and cleaned up a bit. Each "brick" is between 1/2" to 1" thick. Slicing the cast "bricks" with a table top tile saw.
(My least favorite part of the process. So loud and messy!)But it's worth it! The colors and patterns of the glass castings are revealed after they are sliced open. They've always reminded me of geodes. Once I have the slices, they 're cut down to size with a hand held glass cutter/scoring tool. The windows are also coated with the same primer/kiln wash that is on the shelves. This allows the glass to slump through the clay opening with minimal stress and cracking on the glass.

The pre-fired, glazed tiles are loaded into the kiln upside down, with the glass covering the window opening. They are then fired to 1300oF.
This is Glass Firing Program #2 .
After firing, the kiln wash/shelf primer is cleaned off with a damp sponge and the glass is glued back in with 100% silicone adhesive.
Here's a tile without the steel backing.
Well, there's a very quick runthough of what I've been up to this week in the studio. If you have any questions about any part of this process, please just let me know. I'm happy to share info!

Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Making Fused Glass Cabochons

Yesterday, while the kiln was firing with a load full of ceramic work for the Appleton Museum exhibit, I took advantage of the time to switch gears.

In late June I will be part of an exhibit at the Green Hill Center for Art in Greensboro, NC. They have asked for a grouping of 45 of my Mini Sculptures to be installed on the wall. (I am excited to see them hanging collectively!) My newest Minis included the addition of fused glass cabochons. My supply of these was running low, so I decided it was time to restock.

Thought I would share how to make fused glass cabochons. (Cabochon - a "stone" with a convex top and flat bottom.)

Using a glass cutter, I score lines at 1/4" intervals. I'll make all the score lines first, and then...

Break them over a small container with breaking pliers.
(You could also use the tile nippers that are used for mosaic work.)

After all that scoring, cutting and breaking -
an assortment of apx 1/4" square fused glass color chips
This was my very first kiln. It's an Evenheat Hot Box Mini Kiln, and is wonderful for small scale fused glass work. The shelf is only about 4" square, but you can see how many cabochons I am able to do at one time. The other great thing about this kiln is the section with the controller and heating elements can be lifted off so that the glass can be loaded easily.

After arranging the 1/4" chips for firing, the kiln is placed back on the base.
The lid is placed on top, and now we're ready to fire!

Because these glass pieces are so small, there's little concern for thermal shock from heating/cooling the glass too quickly.

I turn the kiln on high and set a timer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, I visually start to check the progress by lifting up the lid. The kiln has a pyrometer that reads the temperature, but I've had more success by looking in on the progress inside the kiln. This firing ended up taking me around 30 minutes.
Here's a look inside after everything is all cooled off.

What makes this work is the 1/4" volume control rule for glass fusing. I won't go into technical, scientific details, but think of it like this - glass wants to be 1/4" thick. If it is thinner than this it will pull in on itself. If you stack multiple layers of glass on top of one another, they are going to spread out until the average thickness is 1/4". Here's a chart I made a while ago to help explain this.

Now it's time to select the right size and best color cabochon for each Mini.
100% silicone adhesive is used to attach the two together.
This was a quick rundown and overview of this process. I'm happy to explain anything in more detail, just leave a comment or email me -

Happy Fusing!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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