Co-Director, Washington Glass School
Erwin Timmers is co-founder and co-director of the Washington Glass School, where he teaches glass, lighting, sculpture, and metal work
Originally from Amsterdam, he moved to California where he graduated from Santa Monica College for Design Art and Architecture. In 1999 he came to the Washington DC area and since then his sculptural artwork has been on display in an increasing number of local and regional galleries. He has received numerous public art commissions and is also featured in various private collections.
Erwin is one of the area’s leading “green artists”. Recycling, waste and how they relate to society are recurring themes in his work. Erwin’s main medium is one of the least recycled materials; float glass or window glass, and he has had to develop new techniques to exploit the properties of this material. His approach to art is multifaceted, incorporating metalwork, innovative lighting and glass design.
How to Fuse Glass
Glass art expert Erwin Timmers demonstrates how to fuse glass. Create a variety of art glass projects using the process demonstrated with this fused glass bowl.
Erwin Timmers: Hello! My name is Erwin Timmers and we are here at the Washington Glass School in Mount Rainier, Maryland and today we are going to show you how to fuse a glass bowl. It's going to be a small bowl, we are going to start off with cutting the glass and then I am going to show you how to cut the various shapes of colored glass, laying onto the clear glass. Then I am going to show how you how important it is to clean it and place it all together in the kiln and then I'll show you various ways of how you can shape it into a bowl.
For this we are going to need first of all, some safety equipments. We have got eye glasses over there which are very important, that's one of the biggest risks of working with glass, that you get some glass in your eye. I always activate it, we have got our bandages, it's not really if you are going to get cut, it's when you get cut. And then for certain work with glass, we also use a respirator or a mouth mask because the glass dust is not something you want to be breathing.
Then for the tools, for cutting straight lines we have got rulers, usually with a cork back so it doesn't slide all over the glass, when you try to cut. Definitely of course we have got various different glass cutters, they are basically just to score, you are not actually cutting the glass at that point but we have got straight ones, curved ones, ones with oil reservoirs.
I have got various pliers, grozer pliers and these are running pliers to break the glass once it's been scored. We have got griding stone to grind sharp edges of the glass, either when it's just cut or when it comes out kiln and then some glue to be able to glue the pieces on to the glass so that you can move it about safely without everything falling off. And then our cleaning products, we actually just use Windex and sometimes alcohol to clean the glass, it's very important.
Most of these tools are actually available through stain glass stores or now a much a more popular also fusing glass stores but you can also get them online at various websites. Okay, working with glass is inherently kind of dangerous because there are always sharp edges and we don't recommend it for children under the years of, about 12 old years old, we don't teach classes to them. But for adults, there is always the risk of cutting yourself in or getting glass in your eye, which is the most dangerous thing that can happen.
We found that actually a lot of people expect the glass to just kind of fly up from a cut or something like that but that's usually not what happens. Usually you'll find there are little glass slivers and shards laying on the table and you accidentally rub it with your finger and then it sticks your finger. Next thing you know, you have an etch in your eye and you rub your eye. So that is the easiest way to get glass into your eyes. Wearing glasses, safety glasses, prevents both of those because you are not as easily rubbing your eye, if you have got these glasses on.
So before we get started, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I was originally born in Amsterdam but moved to California about 20 years ago, where I went to Art School of Santa Monica College for Design Art and Architecture and I started as a metal sculptor but I wanted to add glass to my work because I used to love the lighting and lights in my sculpture and glass was the perfect marriage and I started melting glass here in the Washington Glass School about seven years ago and it's almost taken over my career and the focus has become more glass now than it is on metal.
So we are up for what we do, let's get started fusing glass.