In the past 2-3 years, mixed media art incorporating paint, glass and epoxy resin, has become mainstream and sought after. Why? Anyone can do it! I'm not knocking resin art, it's super popular and can be profitable if you intend on selling your art or teaching. If you're a newbie starting out, you'll love the creative ease of glass and resin art. There's a learning curve that comes with mixing and applying 2-part epoxy, but everything else is pretty easy and completely up to your imagination!
As an artist who has used mainly glass and resin in my mixed media art, I am always looking for glass to repurpose. There are many sources that will happily give your their discards, while others won't, and the reason/s why.
Did you know that you can find glass to use in your art ANYWHERE?
Handblown Glass can be sourced from glass blowers who are willing to sell or give away their scraps, or pot melts, the glass that's left over after a project or is simply discarded. These are truly beautiful "diamonds in the rough" and can be few and far between.
Glass blowers often sell their scraps on Etsy and EBay, and will sometimes give away their scraps provided you pick it up! It's hit and miss, and you never know what treasures you'll find from week to week. Also, look for Blenko cullet resources, often available for sale online.
Thrift and Consignment Stores often carry a treasure trove of mostly second hand glass pieces that can be repurposed in a multitude of ways. Have you seen those repurposed antique glassware resined on antique windows? Just go to your local thrift or consignment stores and look for glass to salvage! When I'm looking for wine or martini glasses to cut and use in my art, the first place I look are local thrift stores. The older glass is often easier cut because they are made of heavier lead glass. Some glass is a solid color, like handblown glass, others are painted or tinted. You can look at the bottom of a vase to tell whether the glass has been painted. If the bottom is clear and the rest of the piece is red, the glass, then it's been painted on the surface.
Have you ever looked as "glass on glass" mosaic art as a substitute for stained glass art? I love the freedom of layering glass to achieve the appearance of stained glass without the difficulty.
Tempered Glass and Fire Glass make beautiful additions to art. A broken shower door or car window yields beautiful aqua-tinted glass (often referred to as SOLEX glass. Go to a salvage yard for car windows, they will sell it to you, but you may have to remove it yourself. Avoid laminated windshields. Tempered glass (also referred to as "float glass") can also be fused! Auto glass retailers won't give you their busted windshields because it's a liability issue.
Discarded glass is fair game, but always first check with the owners to see if you can remove anything from their trash or recycling containers. For empty wine and liquor bottles, post an ad in your local FB groups!
Plate Glass (also called annealed glass) is perfect for cutting in strips to make cross pieces. You can buy sheets in various sizes from places like The Glass Doctor and hardware stores (they will cut glass to your specifications).
If you have a tile saw you'll be able to cut plate glass (typically 1/4" for saw cutting, but you can cut thinner widths by scoring and using running pliers). This glass won't shatter when broken, since it's gone through the annealing process. But, if in doubt, cover it with a sheet and nip the corner to make sure it's not tempered. If it shatters into a million pieces, it's tempered! Make sure you are wearing gloves and goggles!
Stained Glass make beautiful additions to art. It's widely used for church windows, sun catchers, and in many other decorative ways. Stained glass is not suitable for fusing, and has a different COE (coefficient of expansion). If you're getting into glass fusing, always make sure you know which glass is compatible. Most common types of glass for fusing, are COE 90 and COE 96 glass. I find this glass somewhat easier to score than stained glass. Glass compatibility is a huge factor in glass fusing.
Fused Glass is a great addition to mixed media art. If you have a kiln, you have an excellent resource available! Fusing glass is another whole blog post!
Have any questions? Please comment or email me at email@example.com
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Theresa & Mike