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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The end of another year. Oh... and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

There are less than 5 days until Christmas as I write this. How did that happen!?

fused glass art, sassy glass studio, swizzle sticks
The end of a year always kind of gets me down. Maybe it's because the end of the year brings with it the rush of holiday shopping. Maybe it's because it means that I didn't get to some of the things on my to-do list. Maybe it's because it means I have to start over and build the momentum for another awesome year. Maybe it's just because I am exhausted from long days, no time off and a hectic schedule both in and out of the studio that would make Santa Claus cringe.

Don't get me wrong. I love creating fused glass goodness and I love everything about being a small, creative business owner, but the end of the year always kind of gets me down. Even over at my photography business, ALM Photo. It's kind of like the crash you experience after a sugar rush. Everything is all go-go-go and then it just stops. For about two weeks. While everyone takes their holiday vacation. And then it gets rolling again. The end of the year means Christmas is upon us and that is awesome because it means most folks are in a really good mood and are having a great time shopping for loved ones. It also means I get to share my fused glass goodness with shoppers both in my Etsy shop on-line and in person. I really love the in-person interaction.
This weekend is the last Market Square Holiday Market in Downtown Knoxville and I am really looking forward to seeing lots of my friends, helping shoppers choose the right gifts, doing my own shopping with my fellow vendors and just enjoying the hustle and bustle of this wonderful outdoor market. If you live in the Knoxville area and have never been to the Market Square Farmers' Market or Holiday Market, you need to put it on your list of things to do in 2014. It's amazing! And you are supporting local, small, handmade, handcrafted, homegrown and home-cooked businesses which is a fantastic and we love you for it!
fused glass art, sassy glass studio, platter, folk art
So, back to the end of the year always kind of getting me down. I'm sitting here at my desk in my ALM Photo studio|office filling in my 2014 calendar with photo shoots and deadlines already looming for next year. It's looking like another crazy busy year, and I am totally fine with that. There's nothing like taking a few days off and getting right back into the swing of creating. And I mean right back into the swing. We're shooting the festivities for Gatlinburg, TN on New Year's Eve! Woo hoo!
fused glass art, sassy glass studio, bowl, coral, nest
So, if you're looking for something to do on Saturday, drop by the Holiday Market and say hello, but if you're already eyeball deep in the awesomeness of Christmas, I'm sending you a hug and invite you to join me on the amazing journey that will be 2014. I've got lots of cool stuff on tap, both personally and professionally and I'm going to do a better job of sharing all that here on the blog. Stay tuned!
fused glass art, sassy glass studio, plate, art glass
If the end of the year is getting you down, just remember that the holidays will be over soon and you'l be right back to the hustle. {That didn't help, did it?} Well, just enjoy whatever life tosses your way. I know I will be!

Wishing you a very Sassy Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sassy Shopping : handmade for holidays

Are you a procrastinator when it comes to holiday shopping?

It's not too late to place an order for a custom creation or Fusography for holiday gift giving, but you have to contact me soon! The last date to order Fusography pieces is December 9th. Images must be emailed to me by December 8th. The image below is an image file for a decal sheet. Some of the images are for custom orders and some are for new pieces that will be available at the Market Square Holiday Market. 
Read on to find out where you can shop with us during December and ideas for gifts for everyone on your shopping list.
There aren't many shopping days left before Christmas {visit this link for an up-to-the-second countdown}, but you can shop Sassy Glass Studio on Etsy or at the Market Square Holiday Market or the Ijams Holiday Marketplace and Fair. There are a lot of items that have not been added to the Etsy shop {yet!}, so you will want to take advantage of the Markets if you are in the area. Plus, you will be able to shop with my creative friends too! Be sure to pop over to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest too!

{Gift ideas}
The Fashionista >> pendants, earrings, hairpins and cocktail rings {$2 to $25}
The Organizer >> business card holders and dry erase boards {$20 to $50}
The Dude >> beer coasters, flattened bottle trays and plates {$10 to $40}
The Cook >> plates, platters, bottle trays/spoon rests, vases/utensil holders {$15 to $100}
The Beachcomber >> beach theme coasters, plates and platters; hairpins and beachy colored jewelry {$10 to $100}
The Entertainer >> plates, platters, bottle trays, vases, votive holders, napkin holders and swizzle/stir sticks {$5 to $100}
The Teacher >> business card/eyeglass/sticky note holders, small bowls, coasters {$10 to $30}
The Tiny Dancer >> nightlights, suncatchers and jewelry/soap dishes {$10 to $20}
The Modern Hipster >> 'Woodland Hipster' coasters and pendants, recycled bottle trays and Knoxville or coffee themed coasters {$15 to $25}
The Coffee Lover >> coffee themed coasters, swizzle/stir sticks and snack plates {$5 to $40}
The Gardener >> garden stakes, suncatchers, bird baths and coasters with floral images {$10 to $60}
The Beer Lover >> beer themed coasters, beer bottle trays and beer bottle wind chimes {$15 to $30}

Don't forget to shop small, shop local and shop handmade for the holidays! 
I'll love you forever!

Visit this link to locate me at the Market Square Holiday Market! Oh, and if you want to save on your Etsy purchase, use code SHOPEARLY2013 and save 20%!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Love Instagram? Share your photos on fused glass!

You're a photographer. I'm a photographer. 
My Instagram feed is a little bit of everything...
Well, aren't we all photographers capturing what interests us with our smartphones, DSLRs and point and shoots. How many photos do you take every day, week, month, year? I bet your answer is "a lot". Photos of your kids, cats, dogs, sunsets, thrift store clowns, cute outfits, vacation, shoes, stuff you want, people you find interesting...after they have been shared on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter they are just stored on your phone, computer or Dropbox. Am I right? Maybe some of these photos see the light of day as prints, but most of them are probably hiding out on a hard drive somewhere, never to be seen again.

It was the idea of all those awesome images you captured being hidden away that got me thinking. Instagram photos are square...coasters are square. Why not make some coasters with my Instagram photos! These images were all taken with my smartphone and shared via Instagram. How cool would it be to set out a set of coasters the next time you have friends or family over and they feature your awesome photos? As you can see from these samples the colors stay fairly true, with the exception of the bright pink/magenta. {I knew this color wouldn't print true on the decal, but needed to confirm how the color would shift.}

Here are my Instagram photos:

These are the bright pink azaleas that, as you can see below, turned a little more brick red.
This was a giant puffy flower, not a dandelion.
Interesting, but it needs a darker background to really be impressive.
I have to admit this is a pretty cool macro shot. Sometimes I get lucky!
This was a panorama and I cropped it down to an interesting square.
And here are photos of the coasters I created. These photos were taken with my smartphone, so they are not particularly awesome.
photo of coaster with a full color Instagram photo fused on it, fusography
Notice the color change, but the image still looks pretty good.
photo of coaster with a full color Instagram photo fused on it, fusography
This image looked about the same fired.
photo of coaster with a full color Instagram photo fused on it, fusography
The pinks in this image stayed fairly true to the original. 
photo of coaster with a full color Instagram photo fused on it, fusography
I was thrilled with how this image fired. The color is so vibrant. This photo doesn't so it justice.
Of course, I can fuse full-color images to anything I create, but coasters are something functional and decorative that everyone loves. They are a great choice for holiday gifts, a newlywed couple, parents, grandparents...well, pretty much anyone! Coasters are $15 each with a minimum order of 4. Design can be different for each and you can create a collage too. The coasters are 4 inches square and the image is 3 1/3 inches square. I will resize your image for you if you prefer. The image does not have to be square, I've made some with rectangular photos and they look great too. If you image has white in it, it will be fused to white glass, but you can opt to have a color border. Just like with a printed photo, white does not print.

photo of JFG sign in full color fused to a fused glass coaster
JFG sign against a vivid blue sky makes for a neat graphic coaster design

Fusography is a great gift idea and if you are considering it for Christmas gift giving, please make sure you place your order by the end of November! Fusography orders take longer to create and the decals are only printed once a week, so be sure to plan accordingly. Call or email me if you have any questions!

PS Only 54 days until Christmas 2013...and counting.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sassy Classes | Create one-of-a-kind fused glass jewelry with your friends

Summertime is the perfect time to learn something new! Sassy Glass Studio is now offering Sassy Classes for only $50! These classes are designed for small groups who wish to have some fun while creating simple projects like pendants, rings, earrings or mini-sun catchers. These classes can be tailored to youngsters 10 and older making Sassy Classes perfect for birthday parties or special celebrations!

Of course, we still offer the Beginner and Intermediate Classes, but we've had requests for shorter classes with the opportunity to make jewelry. Classes are limited to four students and can be booked to fit your busy summer schedule.

These classes will only be offered through the end of October, so don't wait to book your class!

Sassy Glass Studio, fused glass class, jewelry, rings, pendants, suncatchers, earrings, one-of-a-kind fused glass art, classes, learning, creating, craft, art, Knoxville, Lisa Mueller, Lisa Gifford Mueller
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Knoxville Creative Hands Street Team | Etsy Craft Party

Do you love to create things? Do you have a craft room? Are you on Etsy?

If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, I have an event you will be interested in!

First, a little backstory...
I am the Captain of the local Etsy community-based team, Knoxville Creative Hands Street Team {KCHST}. Membership in KCHST is mainly Etsy shop owners, but there are some members who don't have an Etsy yet. We're a great resource for anyone who sells handmade or vintage goods. Lots of tenured Etsy sellers are on the Team and if you need a question answered or problem solved, this is the place to come. In addition to being an educational resource, we also get together to have fun and socialize, which brings me back to the topic of this post, the Etsy Craft Party. 

The year will be the 4th Etsy Craft Party and the third one the KCHST has celebrated. Last year we got together and created a glittery Sunsphere inspired centerpiece to display at our meetings and workshops. Here is a photo of the golden globe of awesomeness. 

The theme for this year's Etsy Craft Party is 'Crafting for Community' and we will be creating t-shirt market bags. The plan is for everyone to make at least one bag to be donated to the Market Square Farmers' Market so they can sell them. The event invitation has all of the information, but the project link is also below.

Project: T-shirt market bags

This is a FREE event, but please RSVP so we will know how many awesome crafty peeps to expect!

Bring a snack to share and the beverage of your choice. We'll have utensils, napkins and cups on hand, as well as a corkscrew if you would like to bring a bottle of wine.

Etsy Craft Party hashtag for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: #craftparty

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>>> The Knoxville News ran an article by Ali James about what KCHST is and what we do as well as the Etsy Craft Party.

For more information on Etsy’s Craft Party, check out this article:

Let's get crafty!!

Please send any questions to Lisa Gifford Mueller, Captain of Knoxville Creative Hands Street Team, at


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Monday, May 13, 2013

Get Sassy for Literacy!

Sassy Glass Studio is supporting adult education through the Friends of Literacy from May 13 to May 19, 2013. Visit us at the Market Square Farmers' Market on Saturday, May 18th or shop the Etsy shop any time and a portion of your purchase will be donated. Last year I was a volunteer with Friends of Literacy and it is an amazing program. The students are so eager to learn and improve their lives. So inspiring!

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Market Square Farmers' Market | Fresh, local and handmade

I love May because it means the Market Square Farmers' Market is back. And this year marks the 10th anniversary of the MSFM. Wow! Even though I have only been a vendor at the Market for the last three years I have been a fan since it started. The MSFM runs from May to November and then the Holiday Market takes place in December.

Last week was the first Saturday for MSFM and not even rain couldn't keep folks from coming out to pick up produce, flowers and handmade items from artists and craftisans. Visit the link to the brand-new interactive map of the Farmers' Market to locate your favorite vendors and find new ones! I particularly love the other crafty vendors in the area of the MSFM in front of Krutch Park where I am located each week. We call ourselves the Kraft Kartel and have a lot of fun together. We share ideas, promote each other to our customers, and keep the energy level high. We've been talking about creating a logo for t-shirts and stickers.

Sassy Glass Studio is at the MSFM most every Saturday {see the calendar on the right side for exact dates} and will be focusing on offering a wider variety of functional, kitchen and home fused glass. I'l still have lots of decorative pieces, but I really enjoy creating pieces that do double duty as functional and decorative.

If you visit the MSFM for the produce, you will enjoy following along with my friend and blogger of awesomeness, Kristina McLean, aka Mouth From the South, on her amazing blog as she shares how she is using her CSA from farm vendor Colvin Farms this season.

I look forward to seeing you at the Market Square Farmers' Market this season!

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dogwood Art Festival events continue this weekend!

This weekend {April 20 and 21, 2013} the Dogwood Arts Festival presents another fabulous art opportunity for the Knoxville community - Dogwood Art DeTour. Sassy Glass Studio will be on the tour which takes place Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. The studio will be open to the public and you will be able to watch me work, purchase fused glass art as well as ask questions or just see if I have mowed my lawn {which I have!}.
sassy glass studio, lisa mueller, lawn mower, pink, purple, knoxville, lawn, dogwood art detour
My new lawn mower! Needed to get the lawn mowed before the Art DeTour!

Here is a link to the complete list of artists and studios participating in the Art DeTour. Directions to Sassy Glass Studio can found below.

Sassy Glass StudioLisa Gifford Mueller – Fused glassSassy Glass
5000 Parkdale Road
Knoxville, TN 37912
(865) 406-3870
Directions: From 1-75 N, take the Merchants Dr. exit 108. Turn right on Merchants Dr., and then left onto Parkdale Road. Second driveway on the right up Parkdale Road from the traffic light intersection of Parkdale Road and Cedar Lane.
There are 16 studios on the tour with several featuring multiple artists. I will be working on a new project, so be sure to drop by and find out what it is!

There will be signs directing visitors to the various studios. My studio is at the end of my driveway in the lower level of the building at the back.
sassy glass studio, dogwood art detour, knoxville, fountain city, tennessee, fused glass art, studio

I look forward to seeing you this weekend!
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dogwood Arts Festival Market Square Art Fair | Sassy Glass Studio

dogwood arts festival, logo, dogwood arts festival market square art fair

This weekend Knoxville celebrates the arrival of Spring with the Dogwood Arts Festival Market Square Art Fair. Over 80 artists will be exhibiting in this juried art fair showcasing everything from jewelry to pottery to photography and of course, fused glass art. Artists tents are situated on Market Square and in the grassy area of Krutch Park extension between Krutch Park and Gay Street. This is a fun, family-friendly, and best of all, free event with a wide variety of entertainment through out each day of the Art Fair. There will also be food vendors serving up everything from corndogs to funnel cakes. Or you can take advantage of the numerous restaurants Downtown has to offer. Park in one of the parking garages centrally located to Market Square {free after 6pm and all weekend} and walk to the Art Fair and grab dinner while you are out. I highly recommend Blue Coast Grille/Margarita Loft's southwestern fare and margaritas and Rita's Ice for gelati or Italian ice.

sassy glass studio, tent, market square, dogwood arts festival, dogwood arts festival market square art fair, fused glass, colorful, knoxville, tennessee, krutch park

Sassy Glass Studio's booth is located on Market Square directly across from Oodles, near Latitude 35. Latitude 35 is also a great choice for brunch, lunch or dinner. The patio is covered and offers a relaxing respite from wandering the Art Fair. Market Square will be hopping all weekend and the weather will be fantastic, so be sure to come on Downtown and see what local and regional artists have to offer.

Dates and times
Friday, April 12, 2013 from 11 am to 9 pm
Saturday, April 13, 2013 from 10 am to 9 pm
Sunday, April 14, 2013 from 11 am to 5 pm

I look forward to seeing you at the Art Fair and don't forget that Sassy Glass Studio is on the Dogwood Art DeTour next weekend {April 20 and 21} from 10 am to 5 pm each day. Come watch me work, check out my studio, ask questions about fused glass classes or purchase fused glass art.

sassy glass studio, fused glass art, fused glass, pink, plate, flowers, purple, fused glass goodness

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Etsy Treasuries | Sassy Glass Studio

Have you ever checked out the Treasuries on Etsy? You can search for lots of things in a Treasury, like a shop or items. I love when one of my fused glass items is featured in a Treasury and even more pleased when the Treasury ends up on Etsy's Front Page. I had the pleasure of being an alternate selection in an Etsy Treasury this morning. Being an alternate is still pretty awesome. The Treasury my swizzle sticks are included  in is strikingly beautiful and curated by Betsy, who has an amazing eye. She's put my work in other Treasuries that ended up on the Front Page, so I am rather fond of her.
The Treasury slideshow is below and here is a link to the Treasury.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March is National Craft Month | My crafting journey

March is National Craft Month and I thought it would be a perfect time to share about my love of crafting. Plus I want to know what kinds of crafts you like to do. And don't think that you aren't crafty, because I know you are. Everyone loves to create something whether it is what I call 'big art' or just something small, like a little pencil sketch or doodle.

Ah, doodling. Doodling is what led me to quit my corporate job over 7 years ago and jump full-time into the photography business I operate along with my husband, Allan. I used to sit in long meetings and on conference calls and doodle. And one day I realized I wasn't cut out for the boring corporate world, but for bigger things, like doodling. And photography. But you are probably wondering what in the world photography has to do with my Sassy Glass Studio blog. Well, nothing and everything.

If you have been around me or my blog for a while you know that I inherited the fused glass business from my sister-in-law and that I agreed to take over the kilns and glass because I was already thrashing around in the land of the self-employed and figured I would have time to 'mess around' with the glass a bit. Ha! I no sooner took possession of all the equipment and glass than had a website and blog and an Etsy shop set up. But that's not what I really want to share during National Craft Month. What I want to share is how I have always loved to craft, to create something from nearly nothing and want to keep learning.

Since as far back as I can remember, you know like a hundred years, I have loved to draw. I am not very good at it, but I have a huge collection of crayons and colored pencils so that when I get the urge, I can sit and draw something. Anything. I think I just love all the colors more than anything. Which would explain why I love make-up but don't wear it. The colors overwhelm me, I think. Anyway, I digress. Art class through my grammar school years was the best part of every week and I learned how to create some many cool things. To this day I still think about papiermache. And paste. And construction paper. And right-handed scissors. And I smile.

During this time I experimented with creating really cool works of art with every type of wood I could lay my hands on. My dad was a home builder and architectural woodworker so there was never a shortage of wood. Give me a hammer and a nail and I would make a cool piece of art. I learned how to be very abstract during this period. Nothing ever looked like it was supposed to and I was pretty cool with that. I also designed my own greeting cards. A holiday wasn't complete unless you got a specially designed card from me. I had my own tag line on the back...Sign of the ____. Sometimes it was whale, sometimes it was owl, sometimes it might have been dog. I could have been Hallmark!

When I was in high school I took every art class possible. I learned about fine art and tried all the techniques only to find that as much as I loved creating, I was never particularly awesome at any one medium. For instance, to this day I love, love, love to get out my watercolors and paint. But I am not very good. I paint the koi in my fish pond and they end up looking like limp orange noodles. I give it my best shot, but I would starve as a watercolor artist. High school art classes definitely helped give me confidence to try art and experience some success. It also showed me that teaching art was pretty cool too.

So years go by and I don't really do any art. Not formally at least. I try out graphic design. Before it was done with computers, mind you. And I liked that. But it didn't really click. Fast-forward to the early 2000's and there I am with a camera in my hand. It's not the first time I held a camera, but this was different. This was exhilarating. And then, of course, came the fused glass. And now I combine the two, fusing full-color images by way of a specially created decal to fused glass. Pretty cool. And that knowledge I gained in high school that teaching art was cool, has led me to teaching fused glass classes. Teaching is so much fun and I learn something in every class. Amazing!

So there you have a round about, rather long story relating my love of crafting. But there is more than just the art. There's the love of writing, of attempting to stitch two or more pieces of fabric together and of renovating old homes. It's all crafting. And it's all me.

I want to know about you! What are your favorite arts and crafts? What craft or art would you do if time and money were of no concern? What would you like to learn? What craft or art would you want to teach?
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Fusography | Available in the Etsy shop!

So excited to get a listing created in the Etsy shop for the Fusography coasters! This is so you can order your own set of four one-of-a-kind fused glass coasters with your own fabulous photographs. You can find the listing here and more about how I create Fusography pieces here.

Listings for plates, bowls, and platters will be coming soon. There is already a listing for a pendant here.

This is an example of a set of coasters I created using my photographs. So yours would be different photos, but the same amazing quality.

Let me know if you have any questions about ordering or our wholesale program.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Celebrate Daytona 500 and Jeff Gordon with a 24% discount

It's no secret that I love NASCAR and Jeff Gordon. Yes, I am originally from New England and not the South, but I have loved racing for a long time. And I love the Daytona 500. I've been a couple of times and love the noise, the people and of course, the race. The Daytona 500 kicks off the NASCAR season on February 24th and gets fans psyched up for rubbin' and racin' from then until November. So, I suppose you are wondering why I am posting about the Daytona 500... Well, one day recently I noticed that the Daytona 500 is on the 24th and my favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, drives the number 24 Chevrolet and thought it made for a perfect opportunity to offer a 24% discount in the Sassy Glass Studio Etsy shop.

So, start your shopping engine and head over to the >shop< and take advantage of my love of NASCAR and feel free to cheer on Jeff Gordon, I am sure he'd appreciate it. Use coupon code JEFFGORDON during check-out to receive the discount. Coupon code is valid now through February 28th, 2013. You can save on any of the items currently listed in the shop only. Not valid for custom creations or fused glass classes.

Thanks for dropping by! I would love to hear from you if you are a NASCAR fan. Let me know who your favorite driver is too.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Custom Creations | Weddings, Anniversary, Birthday & Holiday Gifts

Ever run into a brick wall when trying to find the perfect wedding gift? Well, I don't mean a literal brick wall, but you've exhausted all of your shopping options and are ready to give up. If you can relate, I can help you! Sassy Glass Studio can custom create the perfect work of art for someone your love or someone you are wearing yourself out shopping for.

Here are three suggestions that are truly one-of-a-kind and will show how much you care. Even if you don't.

Coasters: Coasters are typically sold in a set of four and can be created in lots of color combinations and designs. This is a great choice if you would like to give a color-coordinated gift. Coasters are also available with Fusography. Click the link to find out more about Fusography. Imagine giving someone a gift featuring their own photographs or images from their favorite place. Your gift would definitely be one of their favorites!

Sushi plates, platters and sets: Times have changed and many couples getting married are either already living together or combining two households, so their need for the traditional housewares gifts is limited. How about giving a set of two or more plates or platters colors to coordinate with their dinnerware, so choose something that would be great for entertaining. Be creative with colors and patterns or add full-color Fusography.

Pendants: Small and wallet-friendly, a pendant is the perfect gift for anyone who loves to make a statement with their wardrobe. Or for anyone, like me, who wears a lot of black and needs a splash of color to make it pop. Pendants can be created in almost any color combo and can also include Fusography. Rings can be made to color-coordinate too!

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

How did I do that? Fusography >> full-color images on fused glass

full-color images fused to glass, fused glass art, Sassy Glass Studio, Fusography, images on glass

This year I will be sharing more about how I do what I do both for those who appreciate fused glass art and others who create it. I am inspired by other artists and hope I may do the same for someone else. I love connecting with anyone who appreciates art so be sure to email or tweet me to let me know if I have inspired you!

It's been a while since I first introduced Fusography and I have been wanting to share some behind-the-scenes photos and information on the process. Creating fused glass pieces with full-color images is a multi-step process that takes about two weeks from start to finish. Of course, the time frame depends on many factors such as the type of piece being created, whether or not glass needs to be ordered and number of pieces being fired.

full-color photo on fused glass coaster, image on glass, photo on glass, full-color photo on glass
Finished coaster featuring one of my 'Knoxville Coffee' images
The easiest way to explain it is step-by-step and include photos. {Be warned that these photographs are horrible. As a professional photographer, I have access to equipment and lighting, but forgot that all my gear was at the studio and not at the house. Ugh!}

Some of the step-by-step will depend on if I am creating pieces to sell or if I am filling a custom order. If it is a custom order I will know what I am creating and the images being used, so the first step would be much easier.

First, I will make some sketches or a list of the types of pieces I want to create. In this case, I was creating a set of four 6 inch square plates to fill a custom order as well as coasters and nightlights, so there wasn't much to sketch, but that would typically be the first step. Part of the first step would also be to determine how many pieces I can create from one sheet of decals. The sheet size is 10 inches by 15 inches and the printer suggests filling the entire sheet. More bang for your buck! To fill the order for the four plates, I had to order to sheets, which meant I had to find some additional images to print.

Blanks ready for decals
Second, edit all of the images {if they haven't already been edited} and put them onto the decal sheet template. My husband does this for me because he is our editor and this is way easier for him than it would be for me. Once the sheets are created they are saved as an image file and eventually uploaded to the printer. The printer has a super easy on-line ordering system including payment so it doesn't take very long once the sheet files are created. The printer fills orders once a week, which can add additional time to an order depending on when it is placed. Orders are submitted by Tuesday, printed on Wednesday and I usually receive the decals on Friday. Planning ahead is key!

One full sheet of decals ready to be cut
Next I will create all of the blanks I need for the pieces receiving a decal. Most Fusography pieces will be white glass because white does not print and if the image has white, it will need to show through. Photos of people will almost always need to have a white blank so teeth and eyes will reproduce normally. Most blanks will be full fused, but some piece, such as nightlights will not have to be fired before the decal is applied.

Kiln full of blanks ready to be fired
One the blanks are fully cooled from the firing, I will clean them and prepare them for decal application. Applying the decals is a bit like cooking. The printer provides complete instructions for getting the decals off the paper and onto the glass. They highly recommend using distilled water in an electric frying pan. I have trouble following directions and use regular water and a regular pan. If you are a glass artist reading this, I would follow the printers instructions.

Heating the water for the decals
Getting the decals off of the paper and onto the glass is a bit of a process and requires patience. I have little patience so this step is very challenging. I go ahead and cut all of the individual decals from the sheet so I don't waste time. The warm water in the pan will evaporate so you need to work quickly. After the decals are cut, I take them, one at a time, and place them in the warm water until the decal curls, then I remove it with chopsticks and being the stressful process of 'sliding' it onto the glass.

Cutting the decals requires patience and good scissors
I recommend heating the piece of glass you are working with using a heat lamp, heat gun or even a hair dryer. Once the decal cools off it becomes stiffer and more difficult to work with. Placing it on a heated surface allows it to stay malleable longer. After you painstakingly slide the decal onto the glass and make sure it is both straight and unwrinkled, you will squeegee the air bubbles out. I use a couple of credit cards for this. Do not apply excessively heavy pressure or you will tear the decal.

Tools for placing the decals on the glass
Customer's images were used to create plates. Decals have been carefully placed.

Decals both on and off coasters
Once your breathing has returned to normal and you have massaged the massive kink out of your neck, it is time to dry all of the decal-covered blanks and prep them for the kiln. I have to apply the decals in my kitchen and then take all the blanks back out to the studio so I use a cool vintage tray to transport the pieces. Avoid stacking the pieces until they have been fired. Just to be safe.

Decals on nightlight blanks
Firing the Fusography pieces is the next stressful step in the process. It's stressful because you have to create a program for the kiln and when I programmed it the very first time I was panicking that it wouldn't work correctly. It did, but I still get nervous. Follow the instructions from the printer and you will be golden. One thing to remember is, the kiln must be vented for what amounts to the first 4 to 6 hours of firing, so make sure you will be near your kiln to close it down at the appropriate temperature.

Kiln is full and ready to begin the 18 hour process
Now, you patiently wait for the decals to be fused to the blanks and pray that you removed all of the air bubbles when you applied the decals. The firing schedule will take about 18 hours to complete. Once the pieces are at room temperature, you can remove them from the kiln and prep them for slumping or draping, if necessary. Fusography pieces can be slumped and draped just like any other fused piece. I have not experienced any crinkling or stretching, but results may vary depending on the piece and mold used.

full-color photo on fused glass coaster, image on glass, photo on glass, full-color photo on glass
Plates after slumping
full-color photo on fused glass coaster, image on glass, photo on glass, full-color photo on glass
Coasters after firing
Nightlights after firing
That is the last step in the process. Each piece can involve up to three firings and additional design and preparation time, which is why these pieces are more expensive than the rest of my fused glass art. And each piece is truly one-of-a-kind. Think of the possibilities! Pendants, rings, earrings, plates, platters, bowls, vases, coasters, business card holders, art panels and more can be created with your own full-color images or any of my available images {soon to be released}. 

full-color photo on fused glass coaster, image on glass, photo on glass, full-color photo on glass
Close up of  finished plate. Photo is horrible, but the image quality is actually great.
full-color photo on fused glass coaster, image on glass, photo on glass, full-color photo on glass
Another close-up.
 Let me know if you have any questions about this process, where to get the decals, type of equipment needed or if you are interested in taking a Fusography class.

This class will soon be available as a video and ebook! I plan to have it completed in the summer of 2016, but you can sign up HERE to be the first to know when it is available for purchase!

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