A small glass cabinet in the Humboldt and District Museum and Gallery is the showcase for glass artist Elaina Adams’ newest exhibit.
Adams is more widely known for her stained glass work, such as the panes she made which are now installed in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Muenster. However, the pieces in this exhibit are examples of fused glass, made into bowls, plates, small bits of jewellery and the like.
Fused glass uses a different technique from stained glass, which bonds pieces of coloured glass together with leading.
“Fusing (glass) is the process of combining different layers of glass and then heating them in a kiln,” said Adams.
The pieces on display are all quite individual, and they reveal the artist’s acute sense of mixing colours and textures when she is working with glass.
Each item begins as pieces of cut glass stacked on top of each other before it is fired in a kiln at a temperature of about 1475º F.
“That allows it to become liquid so that the pieces of glass will actually bond together,” explained Adams, “so that the two layers will become one layer and the glass will sink into each other.”
The fun part comes, she says, when colours take on a different hue from the firing, or a different texture emerges from what she expected.
“What I really like about doing fused work,” the artist said, “is the surprise when you see the result of the pieces after they have been fired.”
Adams’ experience in working with glass and her understanding of how it may react during different firing processes or temperatures allows her to exert quite a bit of control over the work she produces. However, as for any artist, there is a thrill in not knowing quite what the end result will be.
Adams’ pieces will be on exhibit at the museum until October 29.