How We Make Our Products

Our customers love when we tell them how these products are made when they are in our shop. They are amazed by the intricacies and details. How every piece is cut to fit exactly with precision. How the kiln melts the pieces together. How we layer the details of copper wire, crushed pieces and other secrets to create layers and texture in the final product. Hopefully this will give you a sense of how each piece comes into being and how much we love what we do ❤️

The Thrill of the Snap

The basic unit of our glass art starts as a large sheet of glass which come in a huge selection of colours. We use a glass cutter like you would use a glass cutter to cut window glass – just a toughened steel wheel on the end of a stick. To cut the glass, it’s actually not cutting, really. It’s more like scratching. So we scratch the glass and then break it using a pair of pliers. And that’s really the characteristics of the glass that we exploit when we’re making the pieces to create our designs.

As you gently apply pressure with the pliers along the cut, it is the sound of that snap when the glass breaks that really got us both hooked on creating these pieces.

Large sheets of coloured glass fused glass Connemara Blue Clifden Co. Galway

Creating a design fused glass Connemara Blue Clifden Co. Galway

Creating the Design

We need to have an idea of the design that we’re going to be making. And the first part of that design process is thinking, obviously. Now I like to think using a Sharpie pen and a piece of glass of this size, if it’s going to be a project this big. And what I normally do is to start drawing on the glass just to see what lines please me. Then I transfer that design into a ‘cartoon’ on paper. I then use this as a cutting guide for the finished product.

Piece by Piece, Row by Row

In order to build a project, we take the pieces of glass that have been cut separately and build it up like a jigsaw puzzle. And then while we’re constructing it, they’re held together using pieces of sellotape. The difficult part about some of projects is getting the edges of the glass so that they match together exactly. Wavy lines of one colour have to match the wavy lines on the previous piece. As you can imagine, it has to be marked out very carefully. We mark with a pen and take it to one side and then cut the glass. Each piece must fit together exactly, leaving no gaps, which is great fun when you are cutting curves in glass!

Connemara Blue Clifden for Glass Fused Artisan Giftware Handmade in Ireland Irish gifts design in progress
Connemara Blue Clifden for Glass Fused Artisan Giftware Handmade in Ireland Irish gifts the kiln

Melting Away

Once all the pieces of glass for the project have been fitted together to complete the intended piece, the finished art goes into our kiln, and is fired at a very high temperature, as high as 805 degrees.

Some of our designs feature inclusions, like a barbed wire effect that is made from copper wire trapped between the two layers (between a coloured layer and the clear glass base layer underneath). We create the barbed wire ourselves with copper wire, twisted and then cut into shape.

Connemara Blue Clifden for Glass Fused Artisan Giftware Handmade in Ireland Irish gifts 1
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Our workshop lies directly behind our shop in Clifden

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Large sheets of coloured glass is where each design begins

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Yes, even more sheets of glass....

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We create smaller pieces with sanded edges

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However, there are plenty of sharp edges in the process to avoid (but not always, OUCH)

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Coloured powders are used to create even more colours.

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These compounds can also create cool effects like bubbles.

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We use lots of different ways to create textured effects.

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And lots of tools also.

Connemara Blue Clifden for Glass Fused Artisan Giftware Handmade in Ireland Irish gifts design in progress
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Creating our designs, piece by piece, layer by layer.

Creating a design fused glass Connemara Blue Clifden Co. Galway
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But we love what we do and hope you do too.

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