Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Beginning of My Fused Glass & Copper Experiments

Our elementary school was getting ready to hold it's PTA fundraising auction, and my son's class needed a unique auction item to create as a group to donate to the cause.  I had been wanting to try using the little kiln that I have to try some glass fusing, but I hadn't taken the plunge.  I knew a glass project for the auction would be cool and unique, but I didn't relish the thought of being in charge of a bunch of 5th and 6th graders messing around with glass shards.  I had been intrigued when I learned that copper could be fused into glass without any compatability problems.  So my idea was hatched - I needed to find some copper sheeting that the kids could cut symbols or shapes out of that I could then fuse into squares of glass.  At first I was thinking along the lines of making sets of coasters with the glass and copper, but then I ultimately decided that creating a few hanging pieces would be the ticket.

I bought some copper foil at a craft store, figuring it would be easy for kids to cut with scissors.  Actually, that copper foil is really hard to cut with scissors, just so you know.  I also tried making a shape out of fine copper wire, just for kicks.  Here's a picture of the foil piece before fusing.  You can barely see the wire-shape piece next to it:

Unfortunately the copper foil isn't pure copper, so it burned up a bit and looks gnarly:

But the wire one looks pretty good:

It reminds me of wire drawings that were part of the Vik Muniz exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum a couple of years ago.
Luckily the very helpful man at Seattle Stained Glass suggested that I visit in Fremont/Ballard and see if they had some appropriate copper sheeting.  Fortunately they had a roll of the perfect stuff.  So the project with the class was a go!
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