Using Fused Glass with Metal Clay

My knowledge about glass fusing is limited but a lot of the students that I have taught over the years are glass fusers. Naturally they wanted to combine their glass work with metal clay. In most cases they ended up constructing a bezel for their glass from low-shrinkage silver clay fired at a low temperature.

But how do we do this with base metal clay, which has to be fired in carbon? The temperature is too high for the glass and it gets pitted by the carbon (I have tried).

Here is my suggestion, and I would love to hear what you think about it and if you have further ideas: fire your copper and/or bronze piece first, leaving a space, or more than one space, for the glass. Then fill these spaces with your glass, and fuse it in open air as you would naturally do. There will be a black coat of oxidation on the surface of the metal, which can be removed by buffing or sanding.

You may get good results right away, but it is also possible that the glass will cab and pull away from the walls of the space in which it is laid. In this case, add more glass, or just clear glass, and re-fuse.

Here are the first results of my student, Ann, who experimented with this technique:

Glass fused in fired copper

Glass fused in fired copper

It seems to me that this opens up a lot of possibilities. In many pieces of jewelry that combine glass and metal, the role of one of them seems less important. Sometimes the glass is just an accent in an elaborate metal construction, and sometimes the metal is just a frame for a beautiful glass cab. Using this technique of preparing the metal part first may make it possible to create pieces in which the glass and the metal play equal and complementary roles.


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