top of page
  • racheljcraig

Glass for beginners: Part 1 (A brief overview of the main types of glass art)

If you are thinking of seeing if you would like a hobby or profession in glass (or buying a gift voucher for a course for yourself or a friend) then what types of glass art are there?

There are other areas of glass art but hopefully this gives a good taster for options.

i've also listed out some of the main aspects of each of these types of glass artwork so that you know what skills a course might typically cover.

Fused glass courses (might also be called warm glass / kiln formed glass) produces 2D or 3D glass artwork

  • These typically cover skills in cutting sheet glass and the use of glass powders/frits/stringers within projects). The sheet glass needs to be fusible glass (and also glass that is specifically designed to be compatible for fusing together in a kiln) and a good course will cover that and explain key types (and the potential pitfalls of using glass that isn’t compatible with other glass)

  • 3D/Textured pieces can be achieved using different types of firing schedules (full fuse, contour/soft fuse, tack fuse) and slumping moulds

  • Kiln firing programmes to understand the temperature ranges that glass needs to go through while heating up, fusing/casting, and cooling down (annealing)

  • More advanced fusing courses will typically topics such as inclusions, reactive glasses, enamel paint on glass, decal transfer designs, and kiln carving using fibre paper for example.

  • Kiln formed glass courses may also cover glass casting (solid glass pieces formed in a mould) but often this is a specialised subset of kiln formed glass courses as mould making is a core skill too)

Stained glass artwork; typically produces 2D artwork

  • Beginners’ courses usually focus on a project piece on a prepared pattern so that most of the teaching time can concentrate on glass cutting, lead cane work, soldering, cementing and polishing skills. More advanced courses will cover designing and planning your own design.

  • Copper foiling is a technique often used to make stained glass light catchers or small decorative hangings for the house or garden

  • Enamel painting courses specifically for glass will give a range of techniques for decorating glass before firing the enamel paint to set it

Glass blowing / hot glass courses (produces 3D artwork)

  • This type of glasswork creates 3 dimensional glass forms (such as vases, baubles, paperweights, drinking tumblers, sculpural work etc). Glass blowing takes place in a 'hot-shop' where you receive teaching in gathering molten glass on the end of a metal blowpipe, blowing and shaping the glass and using furnaces, kilns and annealers (which gradually cool the glass via programmes specifically to avoid stressing the glass and causing weakness/breakages).

Lamp working /flame working is the art of making glass objects/ornaments/beads using smaller handheld tools, a flame torch and a miniature bench kiln which has a bead door for easy access to head the rods of glass.

All of these skills can be combined in various ways but artists tend to predominantly work in 1 or 2 areas.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page