We came, we fused, we laughed.

That pretty much sums up this year’s Fusathon which, when you think about it, means a pretty good time was had by all. Fusathons, for those of you who don’t know, are the Oregon Glass Guild‘s annual charitable fusing parties.

One Saturday each spring, Uroboros opens its glass factory to Portland chapter members for OUR Fusathon. We eat, joke, take factory tours, buy glass (at really nice prices)…but mostly we make plates and bowls, to be sold over the fourth of July at the Portland Blues Festival, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Oregon Food Bank.

Uroboros kindly precuts a bunch of clear glass blanks and sets out tons of glass–90 and 96–for us to play with. We bring our tools, and any stray components we might want to use up, and for the next four hours or so we create.

They fuse the blanks flat for us in their honkin’ great kilns, and later on we’ll pick up the flat pieces, coldwork the edges a bit and slump them into plate and bowl molds in member’s own kilns. (This year, Aquila Glass has graciously volunteered to do the slumping.)

There’s a competition for the best work (a Uroboros gift certificate), members clean out their studios and donate leftover work that will also be sold at the festival. But like I said, we mostly just make glass and have fun.

It’s a little daunting, being confronted with a bunch of bare glass and instructions to “make a plate.” I must admit I’m usually more interested in seeing what everyone else is doing than in actually working on my own creations, so I tend to do something with streaky glass–a treat, since I almost never use it in my own work–and then focus on taking pics of artists at work.

It’s been interesting to see members’ work evolve at Fusathon, year after year. These are “relax and have fun,” “try something new” pieces, but after a year or two you start noticing how clearly a top artist’s voice comes through, even then.

Even more fun is watching the quality of the work grow, year to year. There was definitely a strong mosaics influence this year, and quite a bit more adventuring.

Take a look at what we put into the kiln (apologies where the photos aren’t great–or the design is covered with a coating of clear frit. If you’d seen them BEFORE the frit, you mighta been impressed):

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