My personal outlook: I create my work with fusing, beading and stained glass techniques - often combined in the same piece. There are many fine teachers and a wealth of wonderful books to teach techniques and provide inspiration, although I would recommend you not actually do the projects in the books (just read them carefully for tips and information). Each artist must find his or her own voice and that is difficult to do if you are copying other people's work rather than stretching your imagination and talents to create something that speaks from your heart. Ditto for making a hundred identical items, even if it your own creation - you get stuck. How comfortable you feel in this "stuck" place depends on how comfortable you are with creating and how hard you want to work.
||Creating something totally new can be tremendously exciting, challenging and frightening. It requires hard work, persistance, emotional &, often, financial investment. You will test and measure your talent - creative and technical - every day. Failure and rejection are possible. Even with all this, it is the most wonderful thing that most of us can do.
Just as every artist must find their voice, they must also find their vehicle - the material they speak best in, or at least enjoy speaking in the most. Since childhood I've formed, tied, knitted, nailed, sewn, painted, glued, given away, thrown out and sold embroidery, watercolors, murals, ceramics, furniture, papercuts, baby clothes, mosaics, sweaters and more. My friends loyally hang on to my earliest works. Some of the stuff was questionable, some was quite good. What I'm trying to say is that I may have tried every type of art, more or less, that exists. And all of it pales when compared to glass... the most amazing material of all!
To review a very detailed explanation of all the stages of copper foil work including some tricks and tips, click here
- Stained Glass - piecing together bits of glass and other stuff and sticking it together with a mix of tin and lead. Also known as cold glass work, because the glass is, well, cold. Shouldn't be used for anything that will directly touch skin, food or drink, because of the lead in the seams. (Wrapped candies or tea bags are fine). I make my stained glass jewelry with lead-free solder to ensure each piece will be perfectly safe to wear.
- Glass Fusing - a term generally (but not accurately) used to mean "Anything done to glass in a kiln." Also refered to as warm glass work. While the artist works with it, the glass is usually cold; while the kiln has it, the glass is usually very hot. Hot + cold = warm. Basic bathtub science. Will not have leaded seams unless it is combined with stained glass, so can be used for creating plates, cups, serving dishes, etc.
- Lampworking & Glassblowing - working with glass in a torch flame. Used to make beads, vessels, tableware, various ornamental items including little animals, ballet dancers and paperweights. It's called hot glass work because the torch is really hot and so is the glass while you're handling it. I don't know anything about glass blowing - yet - so won't write anything about it. Lampworking is lovely - the glass for this art comes in long, pencil-thin rods which you hold in the torch flame while twirling a metal stick, called a mandrel, in your other hand. Gradually the glass turns soupy and glows a bright orange - at that point you can wrap it around the mandrel. Each bead is individually shaped and decorated. I heat-treat my beads in a process called annealing to ensure they will be strong, durable and stress-free. After annealing, the madrel is removed and voila, you have a hole in your bead!
For a look at a copper foil project through all the stages, click here.
To review more information about warm glass possiblities, check back here later.