NOAgems Art Glass
Here at NOAgems we create Art Glass, which is glass made specifically to be beautiful and decorative rather than functional. Our first love is jewelry, but we also make and curate decorative objects such as tiles and plates, wall hangings, and window sun catchers.
Each object is handmade and unique. Our mantra is color and design, using the best materials, and making every piece an individual work of art. Often our designs come from the world around us – animals, sunsets, water, fire, and all the beauty we can find in everyday life and love.
We craft each item for your enjoyment using several types of glass and methods of art glass creation. We make a broad spectrum of colors, designs, and textures because we realize that everyone has individual taste and finds beauty objects that speak to them alone.
Most of all, at NOAgems we create things that make you, your life, and your world even more beautiful than they already are. Things that make you happy.
Dichroic glass is featured in much of our glasswork. Dichroic glass shines and shimmers. It reflects and absorbs light and it changes color as it moves around in the sunlight. It comes in many tones and textures and can be solid, powdered (frit), and foil.
Dichroic literally means “two colored.” It is derived from the Greek words “di” for two, and “chroma” for color. It was thus named because of its fantastic multicolored and reflective properties. When you look at this glass, it appears to have more than one color at the same time, especially when viewed with different lighting. This reflective phenomenon is known as thin-film physics, which is also why you see swirling rainbow patterns in a soap bubble, floating colors from oil on water and the dramatic colors of dragonfly wings.
Ancient examples of dichroic glass using only silver and gold have been found in Roman ruins, but modern dichroic glass was developed by NASA in the 1950’s and 1960’s. NASA developed a process to vaporize metals with electron beams in a vacuum chamber and then apply it directly to surfaces in an ultra-thin film.
The resulting dichroic glass coating is completely transparent to the human eye and is applied in layers to protect spacecraft technology and astronaut vision from harmful radiation of unfiltered sunlight in space. The complete process may require from 15 to 45 different layers totaling a width that is smaller than a human hair. From there artists adopted the process and adapted it to making the stunning material we use in most NOAgems Art Glass.
Dichroic glass can be fused with other glass in multiple firings. Due to variations in the firing process, individual results can never be exactly predicted, so each piece of fused dichroic glass is unique. Over 45 colors of dichroic coatings are available to be used alone or with other glass which allows almost endless combinations for art glass design.
Although all art glass is made from glass, individual pieces vary widely in how they are created. There are numerous techniques that use diverse types of glass and yield different results. At NOAgems we specialize in Fused Glass, but we currently use all of the following methods:
NOAgems Glass Working Methods
Glass fusing is simply the process of cutting glass into the pieces required for a design and stacking them together and arranging them into one layer of the desired finished item. There are two basic fusing stages: heating and cooling. Part of the artistry of fused glass comes from deciding how much and for what time these steps are to be controlled. Once the glass is ready for the kiln, the timing is set. Glass heated to 1300 degrees farenheit the object will have slightly rounded, smooth edges and a textured surface. Heated to 1500 degrees, the same top layer will sink into the bottom and there will be a smooth surface and rounded edges. The cooling process must be strictly controlled and done slowly or the glass will break because the heated molecules continue to move for a long time. The cooling process is called annealing and the amount of time will depend on the size and number of layers used. The finished object isn’t completed until it comes out of the kiln and only then do we get to see it so there is often at least a little surprise added by the kiln to our design.
Blowing glass is a popular way to create art glass. It involves gathering molten glass at the end of a long metal pipe. Air is blown into the glass and it is shaped into a variety of options. Blown glass can be created either by hand or by using molds, along with an assortment of tools. Its appearance also varies from translucent to opaque, and colors can be worked into a piece in a variety of ways.
Lampworking is a type of glasswork where a torch or lamp is primarily used to melt the glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practice no longer uses oil-fueled lamps.