Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How To: Fused Glass Pot Melts

By Toni of Wild Dog Studio

What is a pot melt, you ask? A melt is when fusible glass is layered into a pot or onto a wire mesh, then fired at a very high temperature so that the glass melts. The melting glass drips down onto a flat, prepared surface, creating interesting color combos as it fuses back together.

The firing temperature for pot melts is much higher than for simply fusing glass. When firing fused glass pendants or other items, you want the kiln to get just hot enough to slightly melt the glass, so that it fuses together but doesn't completely melt. These items are typically fused at about 1460 degrees. In a pot melt, you need to raise the temperature to about 1700 degrees, which will completely melt the glass so that it flows.

I tried this for the very first time recently, and wanted to share my process and the results with you.

First, I applied kiln wash to the inside of a 6 inch terra cotta pot saucer, so the melted glass wouldn't stick to it. I also put a large piece of clear glass on the bottom of the saucer; I had read somewhere that this helps keep the kiln wash from peeling off and embedding in the glass.

Next, I strung wire between two 6 inch kiln posts and laid that on top of the terra cotta saucer. If you are trying this at home, make sure you use specially made wire that is safe at high temps. I got mine at a local glass company where I get my fusible glass.



Then I layered pieces of fusible glass on the wire. A key here is not to use too many dark colors; they tend to overwhelm the finished piece and leave it muddy. Also use very little black for the same reason. I used a mixture of opaque and transparent glass.



And loaded up the kiln...



The finished melts, ready to carve up into some pendants...




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