Child Prodigy of the Fire Gods!
Today I met up with Alison who owns and runs the company Stained Glass Ltd., a subsidiary of the Amal Group, set up by her father in the 1970s. Her company name ironically refers to stained glass, because her father who had specialized in aluminum structures, had eventually broadened his repertoire to include stained glass windows / panels. But, around the turn of the 3rd millennium, Alison took over and her creativity and courage did not stop there.
The Fire Gods inspired her to create fused glass windows and decorative glass panels, for both the home and commercial outlets livening up the buildings with beautifully colored glass creations. Her beautiful and naughty smile during our discussion, reflects how she truly loves and enjoys her work. Alison is married to Richard and they have two children.
How it all started
Over the past 21 years Alison has put her creativity skills into action and has since acquired much experience both in design and the execution of work. She takes much time to understand her clients needs and after detailed and careful discussion with them, creates bespoke and dazzling works of art every time. 🌈
Glass fusion on a large scale
She prepares the large design pattern on transparent paper, cuts the different colored glass pieces, places them on a clear glass panel according to the design, glues them and then places them into the kiln to go through the firing process…and then holds her breath and 🙏. One never knows the result until they are ready to be lifted out of the kiln …….but the biggest satisfaction is to see the window or panel fitted in the building with sun rays reflecting through the glass and a happy client.
Glass fusing projects, transportations and installations
In 21 years of experience, she explains that there were only one or two minor mishaps, of glass cracking in the kiln, and no breakages during transportation, or whilst being installed. Her preference is to transport the finished project to the site of destination and explain to the aluminium installers or the woodworkers, details about the installation process. That is the level of her brilliance and dedication to her work.
Glass fusion on a small scale
Alison does not stop experimenting and also creates smaller objects as lamp shades, wall light covers, small panels, ashtrays, trinket trays and smaller objects. The techniques for fused glass are endless, using solid pieces, crushed glass, powders, metal wire, stringers and metal foil.
The Fire Gods 🔥
But communication with the Fire Gods during the firing process is definitely the most important of all. Understanding the controlled firing heat levels that goes from 0 degrees F to a maximum of 1500 degrees F; the process of glass fusion, and expansion and contraction of the glass during firing process is not an easy task and requires years of experience and understanding your kiln.
Courses in glass fusion
During a business discussion some two years ago Alison came to realized how glass fusing has become a widespread hobby, and how she can share her joys, passion and knowledge with like minded people. Glass fusion on a small scale can also serve as a good pastime.
In today’s stressful world, taking up a hobby is a good distraction and fused glass is a wonderful option, learning how to shine light through colored glass. So, Alison took on this challenge of organizing and teaching glass fusing courses. I was one of the first to join and followed course after course for some two years. The joys and laughter were endless, we gained knowledge of the joys of life from Alison and the friendly discussions among us students were priceless. Finally, also everyone went home with their special piece at the end of each course.
These courses are still on offer
Alison offers small group 6 session courses each running for one and a half hours. However, she also organizes one off group sessions for companies as part of their Team Building Sessions. Lessons consist of at glass decoration and functional pieces like dishes, bowls, plates, glass tiles, and jewelry. The next course enrollments will start on……..
You may e mail me for more information.
Attn. Alison Fenech Gasan