Sunday, May 13, 2012

Experiments in Fusing ~ Portraits

My fascination with portraiture continues ~ along with my love for experimentation. 
Below are my 1st attempts at creating fused glass portraits. 
Each resulting in varying degrees of  success.

Julia, Jerry, Pepe, Terry
Here are some photos, thoughts on process & lessons learned.

First came Terry.

Terry ~ Beginners Luck!
I layed out my glass using a drawing I'd done with the digital program Scribbler .  (If you haven't tried scribbler ~ DO!  It's loads of fun!)

I am most pleased with the way he came out, perfect balance of meltiness & texture.  Plus, I think he looks really cool!

I chalk this up to beginners luck!

Next came Julia.  Using my contour drawing as a starting point.  

Line drawing, materials, tools ~ the beginning

The black glass used to "draw" her features was almost entirely scrap material.

Note to self  ~ be sure to clean the scrap better before starting!  It's hard to see in the photo, but some of the black is not shiny ~ a result of dust.

After 1st fusing

I then decided to re-fuse her (despite Mark warning me not to do it!) adding more colors & shape.  Unfortunately, she cracked near the start of the 2nd fusing.  After allowing it to cool completely, I attempted 2 more firings at varying temperature timings.  Heating the kiln too quickly caused thermal shock & cracking.

In the end (photo at top) she was in 3 pieces.   Not the worst thing that can happen to a mosaic artist!
Before closing the lid for the final firing.

Many good lessons learned with this one ~ especially regarding thermal shock 
& the need to SLOW DOWN!

Choosing glass & drawing to use as my visual reference. 

Next came Jerry. I'm pretty pleased with how he turned out, only wishing I had left the kiln on slightly longer, until the white bits became more rounded.

~ Note: each color melts at slightly different temperatures.  Dark (black) first to light (white) last.

My latests attempt is Pepe ~ In this photo you can see how I stacked the glass for a single firing.   This is how it looked just before closing the lid.

Keeping a sharp eye on this one, I turned off the kiln at just the right time!

Thanks to Terry, Julia, Jerry & Pepe, all members of Julia Kay's Portrait Party(JKPP)!
JKPP is an international community of 600+ artists, creating portraits of each other based on photos.


  1. This looks great.

  2. I love everything you do Gila. You are a true artist in so many media and areas.

    1. Thanks a lot, Irit
      ~ the same goes for you ... many many times over!!!

  3. Wow, these are incredibly good and so interesting! Pepe is my favourite.

    1. Thanks for having a look, Frank!
      I'm really pleased w/Pepe myself :)

  4. Hi Gila...I love this post and seeing how you've been creating these terrific portraits.

    1. Hi Pam (sorry I'm only just seeing your comment!!)
      I've finally put 2 of these portraits to good mosaic use... for the fused glass CMA challenge!
      Thanks for stopping by :)
      xx Gila