Batley Grammar School- secondary


Science Topic: Matter & Changes of State

Participants: Year 7

Artist: Jackie Harrowsmith

Cummins Buddy: Matt Olivero

As part of our fantastic project we will be exploring a range of glass fusing techniques, getting to grips with the different states of glass, moving glass from a solid to liquid and with various fusing temperatures, bending and casting glass. We will experiment with glass frit, stringers and confetti and use metal inclusions to create some amazing reactions. We will even grow our own bubbles in glass! To help shape our visual ideas we will be looking at the work of artists who have explored water as a theme. Our final exhibition will be a series of fused glass panels that reflect our water theme and exciting experimental journey through fused glass!

Session 1

What great fun we’ve had!

In our first workshop we discovered that glass changes state from solid to liquid when heat is applied. We also discussed how air can become trapped between the layers of glass, forming bubbles during the fusing process. We created inclusions in glass by trapping different metals such as copper and aluminium between layers, these changed colour when fused together in the kiln. Copper oxide was mixed from a solid to a liquid and used to help us create a mass of aqua bubbles in glass – we are hoping these will resemble bubbles in water. To explore the movement of water we completed two experiments, bubble painting and marbling. We discussed how oil on the surface of water is repelled and when moved it swirls into magical patterns. We took a print of this and will use it as inspiration for our designs.



WOW! Our glass is amazing!

Our tests from workshop 1 are back and they are awesome!

The copper oxide has turned aqua and bubbly all over.

Everything is sparkly and you can see different layers

The mica is like glitter and my copper has turned blue




Session 2

Another experimental workshop!

We’ve been using fibre paper of different thicknesses to layer up into a relief design. When we fuse glass over the relief it will take on the exact form of the built up layers. This is called kiln carving. We had to take care not to build our layers more than 4mm deep as our glass is only 6mm thick. Using different glass frits, confetti and stringer to develop our designs took a lot of concentration and was quite uncomfortable!  Jackie and Matt took us through the Health and Safety rules of handling the different types of glass, wearing a mask and goggles to protect ourselves from breathing in glass dust and preventing tiny particles reaching our eyes.

Jackie demonstrated how to bend glass stringers using the heat of a candle. We will be having a try at this in our science lesson.


Session 3

At last we are ready to begin our final collaborative piece! 

We discussed water design ideas with Jackie and looked at ways of including the most successful parts of our glass experiments. After careful consideration and design planning we created a large glass tile using kiln carving, frits, stringer, confetti, copper oxide and metal inclusions. Our designs have been influenced by the work of artists such as Maggie Hambling, David Hockney and Hokusai and we also used our bubble paintings and marbling samples for pattern ideas. Matt and Jackie have helped us to understand the importance of health and safety when working with glass and to emphasise this we watched some video footage of glass blowing at Dale Chihuly’s studio. The film also demonstrated the changes of state that occur with glass when it is exposed to intense heat. Jackie explained the similarities and differences between kiln formed glass and glass blowing and how our individual pieces will come together to create two large abstract design panels. We can’t wait to see the results after they have been fired in the kiln!