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.
Fusing Glass - Cleaning and Securing the Glass
Glass art expert Erwin Timmers demonstrates how to fuse glass and clean and secure the glass.
Erwin Timmers: Hello! I am Erwin Timmers and we are here at the Washington Glass School and in this segment I am going to show you how to place your colored glass on your clear base glass, the importance of cleaning it and the importance of the thickness of the glass. First of all I will start with cleaning, we usually just use Windex, sometimes we also use alcohol kind of depending on how gross your glass is, some of the glass that I recycle get to be very gross. But it is very important because any kind of fingerprints, if you handle the glass like this and you are pressing on it, if you are working with it then all of a sudden, your fingerprint will just stay in the glass forever. It will burn in and you would not be able to clean it off afterwards.
So I will start with cleaning the base glass, if you remember in the first segment there was a little piece of paper that got stuck on there. I usually cleaned that off either with Windex or with alcohol or acetone, anything that is needed to get that off. Here we go in this one. Cleaning is one of the tedious aspects of this, in my windows that I use, i spend so much time cleaning it, that it is not fun anymore. Here we go, it does not need a lot, it just needs to get -- and the sharpie marks that I used just to marks the scores they can just stay on, they won't come off with Windex, but that is okay, that does not really matter because they burn off in the kiln.
After you clean it, I usually try the handle of the glass by holding it on the side, so you do not create more fingerprints. Here we go and I will see if it all sort of lined up. Okay, so now what I usually do is line it up dry if you will, till it is the exact design that I want. I have kind of chosen the stylize 2 with the various red colors since it's Kiara's second birthday and she like reds and purple and pinks. So, I choose this one. Now, in order to be able to move this glass now and not have all the pieces fall off constantly, what I usually do is stick it down with some glue and there is various ways to do it. We actually just mainly use thinned Elmer's Glue because it is readily available, cheap and it is use. We thin it with some water because if you have too much of it can also leave a stain.
Oh and I forgot to mention one of the big things that will leave a stain is blood. If you have cut yourself and you have a drop of blood anywhere on your glass that will leave a very nasty stain, so make sure that that gets cleaned up. What I do is I just touch the glass on the side and the glue will wick under the glass. So, you just have a drop of glue here and you will see that the glass just sucks up all the glue and you just need a little bit here and there and then you let it dry. It takes about 15 minutes to dry so, I usually have other projects that I am doing in the mean time. There we go and we let it sit like this.
Now, I wanted to talk a little bit about the thickness of the glass, my cut is six inch square in the beginning. I have cut a second one just to add a little bit of thickness to the glass. If you make your glass bowl too thin, you will find out it is prone to creating bubbles and it also -- the glass itself when it is melting it wants to be about quarter inch thick, so that is what you always try it for. If you have glass that is much thicker, you get something that you know bulb out like this. You can see the difference here, this is quarter inch that I am doing here to.
This is one layer of glass if I had not added the second layer of base glass, you have all the edges pull in and probably create bubbles. If you put more layers on, you will get it all the flow at look at the difference in size between these two. This is all just glass flowed out in the kiln. Okay, so I am going to let this glue dry for about 15 min and when we come back we are going to talk about the kiln shelves, the kiln preparation and what you all need to do to place the glass in the kiln.