Fused glass, also called warm glass and kiln-formed glass, happens when cut pieces of art glass are fired in a kiln from 1450oF to 1600oF. The glass starts out as big sheets of art glass that we cut by hand with a simple glass cutter. We design each piece by combining different sizes, shapes, textures and colors of glass in two to six layers. The glass we use can be clear, coloured transparent, coloured opaque, some has an iridescent coating, and some is dichroic glass.
When a piece is all put together, it goes into our kiln on a ceramic shelf and the fusing process begins. When the glass reaches about 1450oF, you can start to see the edges of the cut glass start to soften and melt. At approximately 1550oF, most glass is beginning to actually flow and behaves like syrup or soft plastic and as its temperature continues to rise, you can actually see it moving in the kiln. Also at this temperature it actually becomes red hot molten glass and glows very bright. You can no longer see any colour or pattern in the glass; it is just a red glowing hot puddle of glass.
How hot the kiln gets has a lot to do with how a particular piece of fused glass looks when it's done. Some of our designs use a "tack fuse" which means the glass gets hot enough for all the cut pieces to fuse into one solid piece of glass, but the cut pieces still maintain their individual shape and texture. Other designs are fired to higher temperatures so they reach "full fuse", with the separate pieces losing their angular shape and melting into a single, smooth shape. Our favourite type of design is our "super fuse" where we heat at about 1600oF, for a longer time. Heating it this high for an extended period of time will actually make the glass move and pull around more which makes some very interesting pieces. These "super-fuse" pieces are so amazing to us because we have no idea what they will look like until they are finished. After the glass reaches the right temperature for a particular piece, the cooling process begins. This cooling process is very slow because the whole piece of glass has to expand and contract at the same rate. If the piece is cooled too slowly then the piece will crack or burst apart. Some pieces are fired more than once, with new layers and elements added in between firings to create our desired effect.
The glass is no more fragile than a good drinking glass, but no less fragile either. Things that would break a drinking glass will break a piece of fused glass, like dropping it on a hard surface, hitting it hard against another piece of glass, etc. Other than that, your piece of KaBe Art Glass should last forever! What you see is what you get! There's no paint in the glass, so there's nothing to fade or scratch off. Dichroic glass won't fade or scratch once it"s been kiln fired. Your piece of KaBe Art Glass will always look exactly the same as the day you got it.
KaBe Art Glass can be washed gently with clear water if needed or just polish with a soft cloth (recommended).