Sue Palmer-Simmons

Fused glass artisan

My background is in designing and making jewellery, but when I started to explore adding fused glass I was hooked and now work in glass exclusively. What particularly excites me is combining science and art to produce beautiful and unique pieces of glass. The science part is selecting reactive glass and silver or copper foil that together produce a chemical reaction that adds to the overall design. The arty bit is visualising attractive colour combinations and patterns. Every piece is different and I love the sense of anticipation when I open the kiln: is the resulting glass what I expected or have I created something new?

There are always new techniques and methods to be learnt, another aspect I find fascinating and exciting. Each piece is made in my studio in the South Downs National Park and I regularly exhibit at shows across the UK.

Top Quality Materials

To ensure that all my products are of the highest quality, I only use Bullseye Glass, which is made in Portland, Oregon. I am able to access over 250 glass styles and colours in sheets, powder, stringers, rods and frit. 

 

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Glass Fusing

The first stage of creating a fused glass piece is deciding its overall size and shape, then selecting the materials that will produce the reactions I am trying to achieve. After combining them, the piece is heated in my kiln at temperatures from 795oC to 805oC – a typical full fuse can take up to 12 hours. There are many variations to these firing schedules and methods that I use to influence the design of the piece.

It is then left to cool to room temperature, which can add up to a further 10 – 12 hours to the process. Patience is a virtue! Once cooled, the glass is cold-worked and either heated again to a full fuse or slumped at a lower temperature over a mould to produce the desired shape.

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