SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2007

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Elementary Studio Lesson Getting Started with Heather White Before firing and after, Katrina, grade five. T he metamorphosis of glass when heated is a magical process to students, yet teachers are often reluctant to try it in class. The biggest challenge in working with glass in the classroom is to simplify procedures just enough to ensure student success while maintaining strict safety practices so no students are injured. Project concepts and safety precautions should be tailored to the age and experience of the student. Safety First Even elementary students can work with glass as long as modifications have been implemented to prevent them from getting cut. There are several methods one can use to round the sharp edges of glass. One way is to place clean, colored glass gems, and tumbled glass can also be bottles inside a cloth bag and then purchased at craft stores. use a hammer to break the glass These glass gems can be used for into small pieces. mosaic and jewelry projects. You Coat the can make trivets, kiln shelves tiles, and picture Even elementary students with Hotline can work with glass as long frames by using shelf primer or white glue to fasas modifications have been ten the gems to kiln wash. Fire implemented to prevent the glass chips pieces of window to approxiglass. When the them from getting cut. mately 1350°F glue has dried, or around cone 016 to cone 015. grout around the glass gems. MaskCeramic kiln wash may stick to the ing tape can be applied around the back of the fired glass, but it can edge of the window glass to prevent be sanded off. The glass pieces will cuts. become rounded glass gems that can be used for a variety of projects. Fusing Glass Another way to provide safe glass This is a relatively easy process pieces is to tumble glass chunks in that requires stacking two or three a rock tumbler. Beach glass, glass layers of glass on top of fiber paper placed on a kiln shelf. Fiber paper can be purchased at stores that sell fusing glass, or use kiln wash to keep the glass from sticking. In order to minimize airborne particles, use water to spray down the kiln shelf and glass before removing the shelf from the kiln. Use a damp paper towel to wipe off any remaining fiber paper residue and rinse under running tap water. I provide cut pieces of glass in plastic containers. Students then select and stack the pieces for their glass composition. A colleague of mine suggested that the teacher make a diagram on paper of a kiln shelf. Each student writes where they have placed their glass piece on the shelf. This helps to prevent confusion over unsigned work. I usually fuse glass at cone 014. Students cutting and assembling the glass.

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