When I make glass for practical use, such as plates, platters, spoon rests, bowls, vases, and candle holders, I use very high quality glass acquired from the most highly regarded glass companies. I cut these glass sheets up and put the pieces back together, mixing different colors, and making patterns.
At this point, I have only an idea of how the finished piece will look. Next, I fuse the glass on top of another layer of glass in one of my kilns at home at a very high temperature and at a very slow rate. Fusing, also known as firing, can take anywhere from 8 to 28 plus hours, depending upon the size and weight of the piece being fused. The resulting flat piece can be refired again, if desired, to create a different texture. Sometimes I do a third, fourth or even fifth firing, depending upon what I am trying to design and outcome of the previous firing. The firings are sometimes unpredictable, which is part of what I love about my work.
Slumping, is usually the final step to create a useful piece out of the flat piece of art glass. This is done by setting the flat piece on top of a ceramic or stainless steel mold. The art glass is then heated one more time very slowly, but at a lower temperature than the previous firings. This gives the glass its final shape that allows you to use it around your house for your everyday living. All my pieces are food safe, but should be hand washed to preserve the appearance of the glass.
Decorative pieces are basically made the same way as my glass for practical use. However, they are most often only fired to a flat state (so the last step, the slumping process, is omitted). In order to display them or hang them on a wall, I set them in a stand or drill holes to attach a chain, beaded string, or cord.