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How to Select with Glass Accessories for Your Home Decorating Needs

I've come to love glass accessories, whether they are candle holders, vases, figurines, sculptures or bowls. I think it's important in your decorating to have at least one really great, artistic glass piece.

There is a mystery to glass, perhaps because it catches light and glows from within. It can be an explosion of visual and tactile possibilities. And I found a whole new appreciation for pottery, in general, after taking a class in pottery making. It's much, much harder to achieve than you would think.

Most interior designers incorporate studio glass objets d'art into their designs. So do I. But before you run out to buy some, educate yourself a bit and find artists whose work touches you.

There are different types, sizes and techniques of art glass, so here are a few basic things you should know before you make your selections.

  • Stained or Art Glass - Stained glass art first showed up primarily in religious and public buildings, especially in French and German churches. However, now stained glass is making it's way into the home. After WWII, abstract and expressionist artists began to explore stained glass, developed new technologies and developed a growing interest in art glass. Think about bringing in beveled glass to your entry way or turning your bathroom windows into stained glass art. You can also incorporate the art form on to tables, walls and cabinets, as well as hanging panels in your windows.
  • Crackle Glass - Invented in the 16th Century, crackle glass is produced by briefly submerging very hot glass into cold water during the glass-forming process. When you reheat the glass, you can expand it by blowing into the blowpipe. the cracks grow larger as a result. The most unique pieces are made using either transparent or opaque glass.

  • Fused Glass - Another old technique is to fuse melted glass together during the firing portion in the kiln after heating it to a high temperature. It's a difficult method that requires constant experimentation. The colors and textures of the glass come from the various minerals and chemicals added at the time the glass is manufactured. Compatible metal pieces, enamels, paints and other substances enhance individual art objects.

  • Dichroic Glass (Two Color) - Depending on the viewing angle, this type of glass shows different colors. It has been coated with thin layers of different metals to a thickness of one-millionth of an inch. The metals are evaporated and vacuum-deposited on the glass to such a fine degree that certain wavelengths of light will pass through the glass and others will be reflected.

  • Studio Glass - With studio glass, the artist melts the glass, forms it, colors it and anneals it. Glassblowing was invented 2000 years ago, but it wasn't until the 1960s that individual craftspeople, working alone instead of in a factory, began to blow glass, starting the Studio Glass Movement.

  • Hand-Blown Glass - When you dip the blowpipe into a pot of molten glass, inside a high-temperature furnace, you get hand-blown glass. The pipe and glass are removed from the furnace and by blowing through the pipe, the ball of molten glass is expanded into a thick bubble. Additional glass is added to the bubble along with color. The bubble of hot glass is then formed. During the shaping process, the piece is frequently returned to the furnace to keep it soft and pliable. Halfway through the process the piece is transferred to an iron rod that allows it to be opened up to form the mouth of a vase or bowl. When the artist is happy with the shape, it is carefully broken off the punty and placed into a temperature-controlled oven (annealer). There it is slowly cooled down to room temperature. When finished the piece is inspected by the artist and signed.

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GLASS DECORATING ACCESSORIES - STAINED GLASS - CRACKLE GLASS - FUSED GLASS - DICHROIC GLASS - STUDIO GLASS - HAND-BLOWN GLASS