When starting out with making fused glass items, it is often easy to forget about the basics. I am sure this applies to many a craft. How many chefs out there have burn-marks for (almost) every day of the year? And how many painters have ruined countless items of clothing because 'who needs aprons?', right?
1. Glass is sharp
Obviously. Everyone knows glass is sharp. When cutting art glass in the workshop, my bench always gets covered with teensy bits of almost invisible glass. As this can have detrimental effects on cutting the next piece, it is vitally important that these pieces are regularly swept up.
And yes, the Connemara Blue Workshop has no less than 6 dustpan-and-brushes to do exactly that. Why then, is it so easy to forget this, and just wipe the bench with the back of your hand, as though the glass shards were nothing more than a couple of rogue breadcrumbs?
2. Fingerprints are evil
Before a piece of glass gets put into the kiln, it has to be meticulously cleaned. I learned the hard way that fingerprints, once they've been put through a firing schedule, cannot be removed.
Your carefully made glass masterpiece now has your prints on it. Forever.
This can be easily remedied by wearing latex gloves while cleaning and transporting the glass. But who thinks of that when they're feeling creative. It just feels sooo much better if you can properly feel the glass you are making.
3. Temperature is everything
The temperature schedule of the kiln will dictate the final look of your glass piece. Careful micro-adjustments can have significant effects on the finished product. If you use too high a temperature for too long, you may end up with a melted puddle in the bottom of your kiln.
Go too low, and you may end up with lumps and bumps where you hadn't intended any.
Checking and double-checking your kiln settings before every firing can greatly reduce any unfortunate accidents when it comes to temperature.