Part 1 of a 2 part blog on the basics of glass fusing. In this week's article Donna will tell us how to set up your work area and gives suggestions on finding the perfect kiln.
Often potential fusers ask about the cost of getting started in glass. I found that it isn't as expensive as one might think because the list of necessities for the beginner is not too long. So what would the list look like for someone who had NO experience at all? Well, this is what I began with, and I think you might find these ideas helpful. Space to Work- A place to cut glass can be fairly small. The most important detail is a floor surface such as concrete that will be easy to clean. I tried commercial tile in my first studio, and the shards were soon embedded under the work area. Obviously, you want to keep the surface as clean as possible so that small glass shards are not tracked into other areas. I've found that a pair of shoes dedicated to the glass area is very wise....voice of experience. Where do I put a kiln?- If you live in the south as I do, a hot kiln can make the work area dreadfully hot if it is in the same room. On the other hand, it is great for heating in the winter in a cooler climate. The first small studio that I built had a small window unit which, when turned on after a night of firing, cooled the area quickly. If you use kiln paper as I do, the fumes can be quite hazardous, and thus another good reason to fire over night. Of course, the best solution is to have a separate area for your kiln, but that is not always possible.When it comes to selecting a kiln, it seems that everyone has a different need and situation, but I would buy the largest and best kiln that I could afford. So many of us started small and had regrets later. There are wonderful medium-sized kilns that are 110 volts, and therefore, require little electrical work if any to your home. Protecting it in a garage, studio or small building where there is ventilation is a good way to give it longevity. I've been told to always make sure that my controller doesn't get too hot, so I have a fan on the controller as well. For glass cutting- A very straight, level cutting surface is a must. If you need to make a table more rigid or flat, a lumber store sells laminated plywood that can make a nice surface. A 3' x 3' surface is a good size for most of my cutting. Make sure to check back next week for the second part of this article when Donna gives us her suggestions on tools for the beginner! Delphi suggests these great supplies for an organized studio: Morton Glass Caddy and Bench Top Organizer To see examples of organized studios check out the entries in Delphi's Most Organized Studio Contest on Facebook.
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