FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Need any help? Take a look at the FAQs below.
What is fused glass? How is it different from blown glass?
Fused glass is taking two or more pieces of glass and fusing them together by heating them in an electric kiln.
In contrast, glass blowing is taking molten glass, which has been heated in a furnace and shaping it by way of a blow pipe.
We do not have a furnace burning in our garden 24/7, contrary to popular belief! Our kiln is a more prosaic electric plug-in kiln. This is just as well because Rich and I are incredibly clumsy and not to be trusted around an open-fire furnace!
What is slumped glass?
In very basic terms, glass slumping is taking the previously fused glass and heating it enough for it to ‘slump’ into the shape of a mould.
Where do you get your glass materials from?
All glass can be fused, however, not all glass is compatible. It is this compatibility which is crucial. When glass is heated, it expands and when it’s cooled, it contracts. In glass fusing, the two (or more) glass sheets need to expand and contract at the same rate. If they don’t, the piece will crack, either in the kiln, or even many months later whilst doing nothing other than looking pretty on a shelf.
Because of this, fusers’ glass needs to be compatible – this is known as the co-efficiency of expansion. This means when it’s produced in a factory, it has to be tested and guaranteed for compatibility. There would be no fun in glass fusing if we constantly had pieces cracking on us, and certainly no fun for the customer who has paid out good money for a lovely piece of glass.
This is a long-winded way of saying we have to buy from factories who guarantee their glass is compatible. Such factories are based in America. We use Bullseye glass in all our glass making, which guarantees their glasses are compatible with each other, and we buy this from our UK glass suppliers.
I have cats/boisterous dogs/energetic children/pet mice/snakes/live with an trapeze artist….(complete as appropriate). Is your glassware too fragile to be in my house?
It depends. Fused glass as a rule is quite strong. Once, we were exhibiting at an outdoor event and it was very windy. A particularly strong gust blew one of our plates off the stand and onto the tarmacked floor. Here’s the thing: it didn’t break. Now, we don’t recommend that you routinely go around hurling our glass pieces onto your patio to test for this, but it is nonetheless a good example of how strong fused glass can be.
That said, it is glass and as such, glass can break if enough force is thrown at it. Treat it as you would treat anything precious to you!
Will your glass item collect dust?
If you don’t dust, yes. If dust doesn’t bother you, who cares?!
I want to buy a piece of glass. How can I be sure you will get it to me safely?
Our glass is packaged extremely well. We use packaging techniques which ensure items will get through a bumpy ride via the postal system. We use bubble wrap (biodegradable), paper and sturdy boxes and so far, have not had a breakage. It is also prettily wrapped with brand coloured shredded paper, and tissue paper.
Our fused glass lilies however, will not stand being sent in the post. They are fairly strong but as the centre of gravity is not at their base, sending these through a postal or delivery system, would be foolhardy. For that reason, our lilies are collection only, and this is stated on our product page.
I want to buy a piece as a gift. Can you send it directly to them?
Yes, of course. And if it is a gift, we will ensure that no paperwork is sent with the item which gives away cost details. In addition, we will provide a little card to tell the recipient who the gift is from. When you buy from the website, you just need to put your address in the billing information, and the recipients address in the shipping information. We will do the rest.
Do you make jewellery?
We make very few pieces of jewellery now, which are our layered dichroic glass donut pendants, and we only make about 2-3 of those a year – they are very exclusive! When one becomes available, we post it on social media. Our dichroic donut pendants sell very quickly so they seldom make it on to the website. However, we are nice people here at Black Cat HQ and if you are particularly enamoured with them, we can make one to your colour specification.
The reason we don’t make jewellery now is due to expense. Firstly, dichroic glass, whilst pretty, is very expensive and we don’t want to keep making further advances on our mortgage… Secondly, standard findings for fused glass are very difficult to come by. Findings have to be able to support a cabochon of about 8mm thick and the only place I have found suitable findings is in the USA. Shipping over findings for pendants and the cost of dichroic glass meant that such items were just not viable. There are limits to what people will pay for glass pendant in a silver-plate setting and those limits just didn’t cover our costs.
However, all is not lost. We have joined forces with Chris Lewis Jewellery Designs. We now make glass cabochons, in both decorative and dichroic glass, which we pass on to Chris. She then takes these cabochons and turns them into pendants/rings or whatever else you would like. All you need to do, is choose the glass cabochon you would like and Chris does the rest. You can choose one of the cabochons we have already made, or you can ask us to make you a stone in a particular shape and/or colour. This means you have an exquisite piece of commissioned jewellery made by a fine jeweller – a real treat. See here for further details.
Do you do Gift Vouchers?
Yes. If you would like a gift voucher, please email us on email@example.com. We can provide you with an e-voucher, or can send a physical voucher in a gift box to your intended recipient.
An item I want is out of stock – will you be making any more?
It could be that we have decided not to replace an out of stock item. However, all you need to do is message us and ask. If it’s possible, we will do our best to remake it for you.
How do I commission a piece?
Just click here, to see our commission page.
How do I care for my glass piece?
Easy! Just wipe it down with a soft cloth. We use just water and a microfibre cloth, but a general household cleaner would be fine, too.