Intricate surfaces – colour and texture with kiln-formed glass with Alex Powell

Ref: SWE08813



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About this course

Explore the magic of creating texture and low relief designs in glass. Make a range of colourful decorative nuggets as you are introduced to glass cutting, slumping, kiln processes and fusing with confetti, frits and inclusions.

Course Description

This weekend course introduces beginners to the exciting possibilities of 'warm glass' - using fusing and slumping techniques to form glass in the kiln. With a focus on colour and texture, you will be fusing glass on a small scale (up to 25cm square), making use of decorative elements such as frits, stringers and metal inclusions. You will learn how to create different textural effects in the glass through fusing at different levels in the kiln. You will also be introduced to slumping which can give glass its form. You will be experimenting with slumping into impressions in loose plaster to create low-level relief in the glass surface, and you will have access to some simple commercial moulds to slump the glass into a three dimensional curve.

The fundamental technique you learn on the course is glass cutting. For those with little or no experience of glass, you use glass scoring and breaking tools to cut straight lines, gentle curves, circles and strips. Those that already know how to cut glass may pick up tips to develop a better technique.

A large selection of materials is then provided for you to work with, which includes glass sheet, powdered glass frit, stringers and noodles, and metal inclusions such as copper sheet, mesh and wire. You work towards one or two main glass pieces and you have an allotted space in three kiln firings in which to make the glass elements for your projects. Teaching is a combination of methods: showing a wide range of samples to illustrate possibilities, demonstrations of techniques and group evaluation of the glass coming out of the kiln.

During the weekend, you become acquainted with the glass kiln, understanding what happens to glass in the kiln during a firing cycle, learning about glass compatibility and how to load and unload a kiln. You learn how to fuse or slump at different levels inside the kiln to achieve different effects in the glass. Technical information is available in handouts which cover kiln processes and chart the firing cycle for simple kiln-forming.

By the end of the weekend you will have created a range of small glass tiles as samples, and used a selection of these to make one or two colourful panels in fused glass. These panels could be designed to hang at a window or they can be slumped to make a shallow bowl. You will have learnt how to use a range of tools and equipment correctly and you will be confident in handling glass. You will have acquired new skills in cutting and assembling glass for making durable kiln-formed glass pieces and you will know whether you want to develop your ideas in glass with further study.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The cost of 2kg of glass, glass products and inclusions, kiln paper and plaster, and is in addition to any items you may purchase individually. This course is based around the use of Spectrum System 96 glass.

What students need to bring

  • Apron
  • Enclosed toe footwear (essential)
  • Camera
  • The tutor brings a selection of items to make impressions into loose plaster, but you could also bring your own objects if you wish to experiment. Appropriate objects would need to be fairly small (the impressionable area being no larger than 8cm square) with a simple texture or relief surface. Examples could include: a flower head (particularly with defined petals, i.e. a daisy), a fork, a piece of bubble wrap, a wooden stamp with an interesting pattern, a leaf with defined veins, etc.

Available to buy

  • Sketch book
  • A selection of drawing materials, e.g. pencils, pens, charcoal, Conté, crayons etc.
  • Scissors, tape
  • Paint brushes

Please note: pieces from the last firing can be collected from the College from the following morning onwards, as they are too heavy to post. Your work can be stored for collection for up to six months.


Alex Powell

Alex Powell studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute and Glass at Central Saint Martins. She takes commissions for architectural pieces and sells through exhibitions.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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