I love to learn about fused glass whether it is through classes (see August Newsletter / Blogs), ebooks, or actual books. I also like trying new products therefore, I thought I would write a few book reviews on the various books I have in my library.
Please understand this is my personal point of view and is not intended to offend anyone. I am not paid to write these reviews. I just like to read and try new things and thought I would share my opinions and experiences with others.
“The Glass Artist’s Studio Handbook” by Cecillia Cohen includes information regarding Stain Glass, Flamework, and Fused glass. I am not a Stain Glass or Flamework artist so I guess it is a good basic handbook for Stain glass and Flamework/Lampwork artists, albeit the Glass Fusing information is exceedingly basic. I would not consider it the “definitive bible” as touted. In my opinion the main focus is Stain Glass and Flamework.
The book has four parts: “Setting up your Studio”, “Basic Techniques exploring glass”, “Melding Skills and Technique: Studio projects”, and “Glass Artist Gallery”.
Part 1 “Setting up your Studio”: studio layout contains generic information for a stain glass or flamework studio, however, other than the kiln and electrical requirements there is not a lot for fusers. The “Tools and Supplies” section contains good to know information about electrical requirements including kilns and controllers. The book also discussed torches, albeit I was surprised the author did not mention the top temperature for each torch (for Metalsmithing the high temperature of a torch is listed).
She also did not recommend a saw for a beginner fuser. I disagree completely; unless you just want to put two squares together, having a saw is very important for a fuser, as is a grinder. The author also did not mention kiln furniture i.e., dams, bricks, etc or the kiln shelf. Again not a lot of information for fusing glass is included.
Part 2 “Basic Techniques exploring glass” contains basic information on cutting and types of glass (albeit she did not go into depth about Glass for Fusing other than to say the glass needs to be the same COE). The Stained Glass section contained 28 pages (including 3 basic projects) regarding stain glass processes including copper foiling, soldering, wiring, etc. The Projects included step-by-step instructions including colorful pictures. However, it mentioned patina but did not explain what it meant or any types i.e., Liver of Sulfur, etc.
In contrast, the Fused Glass contained only 10 pages and two extremely basic fused glass projects. Again the book did not discuss kiln furniture, the 6mm rule (if not dammed, all glass likes to be 6mm), etc.
Regarding Lampworking / Flameworking, the book included great information on torch procedures and step-by-step instructions including great pictures (17 page and 5 types of flamework beads). I am not a lampwork artist however,I thought the instructions seemed pretty good.
Part 3 “Melding Skills and Technique: Studio projects”. There was only one fused glass project that was combined with stain glass (the fused glass portion was very basic). There were an additional three stain glass projects (one of which was a combination stain glass and lampwork). There were also three lampwork projects one of which utilized recycled bottles.
Part 4 “Glass Artist Gallery”: I enjoyed reading the comments from other glass artists of course the majority were lampwork, albeit I still enjoyed this section.
I am a Fused Glass Artist and feel “The Glass Artist’s Studio Handbook” may be a good book for a beginner flamework or stain glass artist, albeit I would not recommend it for Fused Glass Artists. I do agree with her statement “Most glass artists never feel they have enough room tools or glass”, so true for this fused glass artist. I can’t seem to get enough molds, frit, glass, tools, etc.