I have been an artist and an art teacher ever since I received both a BFA in drawing in 1983 and a Masters in Art Education in 1998 from Arizona State University. When I moved to Flagstaff in 2001, I discovered stained glass, glass fusing, mosaics, and etching while taking classes at Coconino Community College. I was so passionate about glass that I ended up teaching the classes for another eight years. I love creating art with glass because it is so challenging to work with and I love the vibrancy of the colors. I am now focusing exclusively on glass fusing where there are many techniques available now. One of my favorite techniques is called, “Hot Mosaics,” where I am able to integrate both mosaics and etching.
With this technique, I use primarily dichroic glass because it glitters and changes colors when viewed from different perspectives. Dichroic glass comes either clear or with a black background. You can etch into the dichroic coating when it is on a black background. Some of the pieces come already laser etched with patterns and I like to integrate them with solid colors. I cut the pieces to fit and glue them onto a blank or background piece of glass which can be clear, black, or colored. I then turn the glass artwork over and full fuse the piece in the kiln upside down. This allows the background to fill in the spaces around the pieces like grout used in a mosaic. With my drawing experience, I can then etch designs onto the solid colored dichroic glass with the black background by using a dremel which has a special diamond drill bit. I usually draw guidelines for the designs onto the glass first with a black permanent marker. Then I fill in the details and texture freehand. The final step is to slump the artwork into a ceramic mold to create a stunning functional dish.
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