Monday, 5 August 2013

Fusing with Painting


Combining Painting and Fusing

Painted oyster catchers with frit and stringer

It is possible to combine glass painting with fusing. Tracing paints are generally powdered iron rust and fused to the glass by the glass powder that carries this pigment. So it is possible to paint and fuse a project at the same time without loosing the intensity of the paint.

In general it is best to work down from the highest to the lowest temperature in your firings. This does require planning of the firing sequence in addition to the usual design considerations.

This sequence of firing depends on the glass stainers' paint you are using. The tracing paints (blacks, browns, some whites, some blue greens) that fire at 650ºC and above can be fired up to around 800ºC without losing much of their intensity. If you use Debitus paints, they can be fired to 850ºC without loosing their depth of colour.

Fused, painted and slumped piece painted both at fusing and slumping operations
If the paint is under glass pieces or under frit, the paint will appear to spread and the lines thicken. This is due to both the lens effect of the covering glass and the weight of the glass over the lines. If you require the lines to be of consistent thickness, you probably should paint after fusing.

You can, of course, use low firing ceramic glazes as they mature in the region of 700ºC to 850ºC. These can be painted on to the unfired glass and taken to full fuse without any fading. You do need to make sure the glaze has time for any volatile materials to burn off, so a slow rate of advance up to the slumping temperature of the glass is advisable.

Painted and fused, then painted and slumped.  Note the paint lines and coloured glass do not always match or need to.

If you are using glass stainers' enamels, you need to fuse and shape before firing. You can fire in the mould for the enamel firing as the temperature range is in the 520ºC to 580ºC range and will not add more mould marks to the glass. Keeping the glass in the mould protects against any tendency for the glass to alter shape.