I spend a lot of time drawing squiggles. I have pages and pages of them in my sketch books.

Fused Glass New Design

That's how I start designing.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking to create a new design - a long, narrow, wall hanger similar to my existing pieces. It was only when I tried to write down how I do this that I realised I had already set some constraints to shape how the design would look:

  • The finished piece would be around 5 cm wide and  25 - 35 cm long
  • The wires would be evenly spaced and not cross over
  • Which then steers the design towards something that's simple and open

Keeping an open design is partly for practical reasons as well as aesthetic. Running the wires close together tends to make bubbles where you don't want them and if the design gets too complicated it loses it's impact.

With these things in mind I started drawing.

A few pages in I drew something I could work with - it was less angular than previous designs and made me think of swirling undercurrents in the ocean. That then set the tone of the piece and I continued sketching. 

At some point everything came together to make a design I was happy with and I realised there were further constraints that I hadn't consciously registered - balance and asymmetry - that made certain combinations work better than others. And, ultimately, there was an element of just knowing when it looked right.

For me, designing is as much a part of the process as crafting the fused glass itself. It's like problem solving where the puzzle is always different and only I have the right answer. And, as is often the way, I stumbled on a couple of shapes and ideas that, although they didn't work for this design, have already given me a head start on my next :)


Next stage - Making the Fused Glass