Visual Arts: Fused Glass Pendants

Grade level: 6‐12
Duration: Five+ 45‐minute class periods
Media Type: Glass
Subject Integration: Math, Science
National Standards for Visual Arts: (see below)
Objectives: Students will create their own fused glass pendant made from pieces of dichroic glass specifically made for fusing glass.

Assessment: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the technique of fusing glass along with proper tool usage, safety precautions, and ability to plan work with integrity.
(website for help with writing rubrics)
http://rubistar.4teachers.org/

Rubric:

4 - Standards are exceeded
3 - Standards are met
2 - Standards may be met at a very low quality or with some exceptions
1 - Standards are not met or work is not attempted or very poorly done

Vocabulary:

  • bales
  • glass kiln (vs. clay kiln)
  • dichroic glass
  • fusing
  • sculptor

Materials and Procedure:

  • dichroic glass pieces, various colors and shapes, including clear
  • Weld Bond glue
  • toothpicks
  • small Paper plates
  • bales to enable finished glass piece to hang as a pendant
  • glass cutters
  • goggles
  • rulers
  • large white paper to work on so glass can be easily seen while working on table top
  • fusing kiln (can be used for a fee at Duluth Art Institute (Duluth, MN), Shannon’s Stained Glassery (Superior, WI) or any other local full service glass studio)

Day 1:
1. Give brief introduction to creating artwork with glass. Show PlayList videos:

Glass artist Dan Neff
Mike Tonder - Blue Skies Glassworks (3:48)
Minnesota Glass Artists (2:39)
Nancy Miller Sculptor (3:26)
Water Dance - Pat Hagen, Great Lakes Aquarium (1:59)

Additional video about Duluth glass artist, Ron Benson, from Venture North (WDSE):
http://www.ronbensonglassart.com/video.htm (6:18)

2. Discussion: What do you know about glass fusing? Do you know any artists who use glass as their medium? Have you ever seen artwork by any of these artists?

3. Introduce world famous glass artist, Dale Chihuly. Talk about how he is a current, living artist, who has studied glass making all over the world. Show the beginning of Chihuly: River of Glass, a DVD about glass artist Dale Chihuly. Ask students to take notes during the film, writing down twenty things learned from watching Dale create and talk about his work.

Day 2:
Review Day 1. Show Chihuly: River of Glass. Students continue to takes notes.

Day 3:
Demonstrate beginning process of glass fusing. Discuss safety. Show tools. Stress the importance of wearing goggles and using tools correctly. (Most pieces of glass will be cut ahead of time; students will not be required to do this. If a student does need some glass cutting done, an adult should do it, while both parties wear goggles.) Show process of putting glass pieces together to create a pendant. Choose one 1” square piece of colored glass for the bottom of the pendant, choose some smaller pieces of glass to create a design for the pendant. Mix and match pieces until you come up with a design scheme that you are pleased with. Glue pieces in place with a minimal amount of white Weld Bond glue. Use toothpick to apply glue.

“A dab will do ya.” For final glass layer, add one 1” clear piece on top to seal pendant. Glue in place. Gluing is crucial so that glass pieces do not slide while putting into kiln. Do not “over stack” glass pieces. If you pile your glass too high, or more than about three layers deep, the pendant will be too thick and may melt into a blob, rather than a nice square shaped pendant.

I encourage students to take the time to play around with different colors and different shapes of glass to see what the best combinations might be. I stress the importance of how artists need to take time to plan their work.

Day 4:
Continue creating pendants.

Day 5:
All pendants are complete and ready for firing process. (Teacher takes care of firing process, or has local glass studio complete this process.)
Students cannot write their names on their pendants, as permanent marker will burn off in the firing process. The best idea is to make a “map” of student work on a large piece of paper. Draw enough boxes on the paper to allow one student’s name in each box. Each student may put their pendants safely onto the box labeled with their name. Teacher must be careful to place pendants back into the correct box after firing to ensure that each student receives their own pendant, and not someone else’s.

Discuss firing process and temperature of kiln. Glass kilns reach a temperature of around 1500 degrees. For younger children, you may want to talk about how a pizza is cooked at about 425 degrees, far too “cool” to fire glass, etc.

Day 6:
After pendants are fired, students receive their own glasswork back. Bales are glued onto the back with Weld Bond to enable glass piece to become a pendant. Glue must dry for at least 24 hours.

Discussion Questions:
What did you learn about glass fusing that you did not know before? What did you learn about glass artists Ron Benson, Dan Neff, Bob Husby, Jim Sage, Dale Chihuly, etc.? Which glass technique was your favorite? Why? What did you find easy to accomplish within your artwork? What did you find difficult? What would you do different next time?

Resources:

http://shannonsstainedglassery.com/
http://www.duluthartinstitute.org/

Follow‐up activities:

  • Ask local glass artist to visit classroom to talk about their work.
  • Have older students do independent research projects about glass artists.
  • Find additional online videos showing glasswork being created; show to students.
  • Use Oulu Glass Gallery (WI) as a resource.
  • Students spend more time investigating how glass comes from sand, how glass stands the test of time (if you bury it, it will still be there hundreds of years from now), scientific research, etc.

National Standards for Visual Arts:

Content Standard #1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Achievement Standard:
Students know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes. Students describe how different materials, techniques, and processes cause different responses. Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories. Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.

Content Standard #2: Using knowledge of structures and functions
Achievement Standard:
Students know the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas. Students describe how different expressive features and organizational principles cause different responses. Students use visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas.

Content Standard #3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Achievement Standard:
Students explore and understand prospective content for works of art. Students select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

Content Standard #4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Achievement Standard:
Students know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationships to various cultures. Students identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places. Students demonstrate how history, culture, and the visual arts can influence each other in making and studying works of art.

Content Standard #5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
Achievement Standard:
Students understand there are various purposes for creating works of visual art.
Students describe how people's experiences influence the development of specific artworks. Students understand there are different responses to specific artworks.

Content Standard #6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Achievement Standard:
Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines. Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum.

Funding for this program is provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Click here for more information or visit the Minnesota Legacy website.

Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment