Making a Fused Daisy Plate

I often make daisy plates and thought I would take photos at each step of the way.  These plates make me feel happy when I’m making them – they just look so nice and bright. This plate is 30cm square and the plate has a slight curve to it.

Making a plate is a two step process.  First you fuse your design into one piece.  The piece is then washed and placed onto a mould to slump into shape.  Fusing and slumping require different temperatures. To try to fuse and slump at the same time will distort the pattern.

When glass is heated, it likes to be 6mm thick.  If the glass isn’t 6mm thick, it pulls slightly at the edges. As most fusing glass is 3mm thick, many glass artists insist that you need two full layers of glass in order to make anything.  I disagree and use the pulling effect to my advantage.  Where the glass has pulled in (gaps between the green squares), you can see a slight scalloped edge which I find quite pretty.

To start, I cut a 30cm piece of clear glass.  I like to work directly on my kiln shelf and then carry the shelf to the kiln.  I find that if I make the piece directly onto my workbench, when I carry the piece to the kiln, sometimes pieces can get knocked distorting the pattern.  I also use thinfire paper, which stops the glass sticking to the kiln shelf and gives a nice smooth finish to the back of the plate.

My next step is making a border.  I sometimes use small squares, triangles or even circles depending on the look I’m after. Next I start cutting petals.  After cutting the petals, I’ll spend a little time grinding off any sharp edges or obvious bumps.  The centre of each daisy is made from little circles that I have made in the kiln previously when there has been spare space on the kiln shelf.

Now it’s time to fill in the background.  In this plate, I cut leaves out of the same transparent green glass as the border and place them in random directions. All those little leaves are very time consuming.

Often I will just grab some frit and sprinkle that on the background of my daisy plates.  Frit is tiny pieces of glass.  You can grind your own glass or buy it ready ground in jars.  I usually grab a few different colours and mix it up in a zip lock bag before sprinkling it on my design.  It’s much quicker to do than cutting leaves.

Once I’m happy with my design, it goes into the kiln to be fused into one piece. I also use the left over kiln space for smaller items, such as earrings or dots for future daisies.

Everything is washed and my design is placed back in the kiln for slumping into shape.  Now it’s ready to find a new home.

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