Fused Glass from Tropics of Costa Rica

Posts tagged “fused glass art

Another fun glass fusing class

fused glass class samara costa rica

fused glass class samara costa rica

A variety of colorful and bright of colorful pieces made in this week’s class: a nite-lite, 2 plates, and a votive holder.   It’s fun to see how different personalities are manifested in light and color.

Make art while on vacation in Costa Rica

glass fusing class in samara costa rica

glass fusing class in samara costa ricaBeginning Glass Fusing classes are offered at Gecko Glass studio and are taught by Lavae Aldrich. The class includes:

  • Materials
  • Tools
  • Two kiln firings.

You’ll learn the basics of kiln-formed glass while making your piece of artwork, including:

  • glass cutting
  • design and layout
  • fusing
  • slumping

???????????????????????????????For a first project you’ll choose from molds to make a 6” x 6” plate, dish, votive holder, or a nite-lite. Classes focused on jewelry, stenciled powders, and metal inclusions are scheduled by request – just ask me in advance, if that’s what you’d rather do, to schedule a focused class.

Gecko Glass studio is just 1 ½ kilometers outside of central Sámara. It’s about 30 minute walk, mostly along the beach.

Fee: c10,000 ($20.00), 2 hour class. Students should allow at least 72 hours for firing (before you leave town).

a- advert 3Reservations are required: Call 8977-1576 or email lavae@casaelgecko.com


Limited US Shipping


Red Leaf Platter - 8" x 14" - $54.00

Red Leaf Platter – 8″ x 14″ – $54.00

I’m headed north in a few weeks from my home in Playa Samara, Costa Rica.  I’m going to the US, where shipping of my hand-made fused glass art work will be a lot easier and safer.  Some of my customers have been patiently waiting for my next trip to the land of UPS and Federal Express and will be rewarded with delivery in early July.  These pieces below are still available for purchase.  Let me know before 21 June 2014 by Facebook message or email if you’d like one of these beautiful works of hand-made glass art sent to your home.  Or call.

Striped plate, green & blue transparent - 6" x 6" plate - $22.00

Striped plate, green & blue transparent – 6″ x 6″ plate – $22.00


st- 2




Waterlilies - 6" x 6" plate - $26.00

Waterlilies – 6″ x 6″ plate – $26.00

Waterfish - 6" x 6" plate - $26.00

Waterfish – 6″ x 6″ plate – $26.00

Flores, cranberry on yellow - 8" x 8" plate - $18.00

Flores, cranberry on yellow – 8″ x 8″ plate – $18.00

Sea Green 2 - plate 8" x 8" - $32.00

Sea Green 2 – plate 8″ x 8″ – $32.00

Sea Green 1 - Plate 8" x 8" - $32.00

Sea Green 1 – Plate 8″ x 8″ – $32.00

I’ll quote you the additional shipping costs before you purchase.  I can accept credit cards or Paypal.

Fundidos – New jewelry at Samara Organics

fused glass jewelry samara costa rica

fused glass jewlry

I’ve just finished a new series of fused glass jewelry.

g- earrings 5

There are several different styles.

glass art

Earrings, pendants and bracelets.

art costa rica

Handmade in Samara.

fused glass art samara costa rica

On display and on sale at Samara Organics and Dragonfly Gallery in central Samara.  c4,000 ($8.00) each.

Jewelry/Bead Kiln for Sale

kiln for sale

kiln for sale

Here’s your opportunity to get into glass art for a small investment.   Learn a new art or  add to your existing studio.

AIM glass fusing electric kiln.  10” x 10” x 9” deep is perfect for fusing jewelry and small pieces or for annealing blown glass.  120 volt with a manual controller and a bead door.  Used.  priced to sell at $200.00.

fused glass kiln     fused glass in samara costa rica

10″ x 10″ is perfect for plates and bowls.

AIM kiln for sale  fused glass art samara costa rica

9″ deep allows you to slump into tall drop molds.

jewelry kiln

Manual controller.

fused glass kiln   annealing bead

With bead door for annealing beads and blown glass.

for sale Samara

kiln for sale samara

Digital thermo-coupler.

jewlery kiln for sale samara

120 volt electric elements

Email Jimmy for more information: jimmybennett3@yahoo.com

High season class schedule



Lavae Aldrich at Casa Gecko Glass is offering Glass Fusing classes Monday, Thursday or Saturday mornings at 10 am during high season.  c10,000 fee includes class, materials, tools, and two firings.  For a first project you can choose a plate, a votive holder, or a nite-lite.  Jewelry classes, stencil powder classes, and metal inclusion classes are scheduled by request – just ask me in advance.

2 hours class.  Students should allow at least 72 hours for firing (before you leave town).

Call 8977-1576 or email for a (required) reservation.

Sparkle Plenty


New fused glass earrings on display at Samara Organics Mercado and Café.


Handmade in Samara, Costa Rica.


Tropic of Christmas

fused glass christmas ornaments

fused glass christmas ornaments

Christmas Ornaments with a tropical twist.  For sale at Samara Organics Mercado and at Dragonfly Gallery.  Or contact me for an order.  I’ll be hanging mine on the potted Ficus tree.

Trinket Triumph

kiln opening

kiln opening

It’s always exciting to open the kiln after an all-night firing.  The results of our first jewelry class were successful.

Linda's pendants

Linda’s pendants

Linda’s pendants turned out well, with bits of dichroic sparkle.  Ready for a simple silk cord.

Becky's set plus

Becky’s set plus

Becky has a nice blue set with a pendant and earrings.  Here copper mesh earrings are swell.

Roberta's suite

Roberta’s suite

When Roberta picked up her pieces, she sat right down and fitted the findings so that she could wear her earrings and pendant on the plane home.

Queque anyone?

art costa rica

A new cake plate catches the light like jewels.

glass fusing samara costa rica

14″ diameter, dead flat, it sits on three feet.

Well, that was an idea

I recently posted a “schedule” for winter (invierno) classes.  Seemed like a good idea.  And those times are still available.  But if you can round up another student, we can find a time that’s convenient for all.  Remember to allow 3 days for kiln firing your art piece before you leave town.

art in samara costa rica

Class Schedule for Invierno (Tropical Winter)

fused glass art samara costa rica

June through September

Beginning Glass Fusing – Monday and Tuesday afternoons 1:30pm – 3:30 pm or by appointment.

Reservation required – 2656-1010.   4 students max, $20.00/ 10,000 colones.  No experience required.

art samara costa rica

Classes are offered at our studio in Playa Samara, Costa Rica.  You will make a piece of warm glass art, fused and slumped.  Allow 72 hours for firing.

fused glass art samara costa rica

Continued learning and project specific studio time is more than possible.  Call or write for more information.

costa rica house

Combine glass fusing with a tropical vacation.  We have accommodations for you and your family at Casa Mango and Casa Papaya.

Guest Artist at Casa Gecko Glass

Deanne Sabeck, artist based in Encinitas, California, stopped by the studio on Wednesday to give us a lesson in using frit – Roy says it should just be called “crushed glass” but we like to elevate the discourse by using fancy names for materials and techniques in glass fusing.

glass fusing toolsThe frit we used was made from scraps of System 96 sheet glass, using the frit crusher that Trevor fabricated for me from an old tank-less water heater and some scrap metal he had.  We graded the crushed glass into different sizes using a range of screens.  Then we painted designs with white glue onto clear base glass, sifted the frit to stick to the glue, and shook off the excess.

fused glass samara costa rica

The tac fuse program took the kiln to 1350F so that the finished pieces still had a lot of texture, from “raw sugar” to “crumbled cheese”.

glass fusing Samara Costa RicaI’m working with another technique that Deanne introduced to me: frit casting into paper dams.  Here, I’m experimenting with Bombay Sapphire (Gin) bottle glass, which Bonnie saves for me from her bar Lo Que Hay, here in Samara.

glass fusing in samara costa rica

Please, friends and neighbors, drink more gin!

Hot glass will find it’s own level

what to do in samara costa ricaSaturday’s Beginning Glass Fusing produced some lovely pieces by four first-timers.  It also produced some interesting lessons.

When melted and allowed to flow freely, glass “wants” to be 1/4″ thick.  With enough heat, the mass of molten glass will expand or contract until it is 1/4″ thick.  Each of these designs was laid up on a 6″ x 6″ piece of 1/8″ clear glass (System 96).  But some changes occurred in the kiln.

things to do in costa rica

A thin piece, like this single sheet of 1/8″ glass with a detailed design in the center

g- 5

shrunk in the kiln, pushing the glass to the center as it tried to get thicker.

glass fusing classes

This design has some very thick detailing in two corners, which expanded upon firing.

art in costa rica

The other corners, with two layers of glass, stayed pretty square.

g- 4c

With a continuous border of very thick glass,

glass fusing costa rica

this design expanded about 1/2″ but quite evenly and retained a fairly square shape.

made in costa rica

This design completely covered the base glass with a collage of 1/8″ thick glass.

fused glass costa rica

The result after firing is about the same size and shape as the original 6″ square.  A few thicker details in the center of the piece found room to settle before pushing the edges out.

Focus on Flowers

Just out of the oven this series of flowered plates.

glass fusing in the tropics

Guaria Orchid in cranberry on white. 8″ square plate. c 13,000

glass fusing playa samara beach things to do in samara fused glass art in samara costa rica fused glass art in costa rica

Flores – Set of four 8″ square plates. c13,000 each.

art in costa rica fused glass art in samara costa rica fused glass art in samara

Guaria Orchids – Set of three 6″ square plates.  c11,000 each.

Classes Resume

glass fusing classes playa samara be3ach cost rica

The relay switch arrived from Georgia and Steve installed it this morning.  So the kiln is again operational and hot.  Fusing classes resume Tuesday and Saturday mornings at 10 am at Casa Gecko Glass.  Call 2656-1010 or email lavae@casaelgecko.com for a reservation.  $20 or 10,000 colones.

Production of art works will resume between classes.

Dirty Power

glass fusing kiln playa samara beach costa ricaI don’t know how often most artists have to repair their kilns but I feel like I do it too often.  In Costa Rica, we have “dirty power” – the voltage fluctuates . . . a lot . . . and frequently.  Wind and rain can cause power outages.  Bird nests cause transformers to spontaneouly blow up.  But we even have unexplained power outages on windless, dry sunny days.  The power can be out for only a second or a few hours.  It can flicker ferociously.  Although the utility is pretty good about getting us back up and running quickly, these electrical surges are really hard on equipment and appliances.

So, suddenly this week, my glass fusing kiln is not getting hot.  This is after I changed an element just 6 months ago.  so I talked with the manufacturer –  Olympic Kilns – where Sarah walked me through some diagnostics to determine that I need a 12 volt relay switch.  I called the Vitrocolor in San Jose from whom I bought the kiln but they have no parts in stock.  They referred me to repairman who wanted $200.00 to come and inspect the kiln, more if he could repair it.  I suggested he just send me the part I need on the bus – that’s how we get most packages throughout the country – but he doesn’t have that part in stock.  There’s none anywhere in the country.  What then, you might ask, was he going to do to repair my kiln if he made the 4 hour trip out here to Playa Samara from San Jose?  I didn’t bother to ask.  Instead, I ordered the part directly from the manufacturer in the US – plus an extra to have on hand – and had it sent to my cousin in California who is coming to visit next month.  I should be back up and melting stuff within 3 weeks.

The students from Tuesday’s class won’t be taking their projects home with them when they leave Costa Rica.  I’ll try to mail them from within the US when I next visit in April – I just can’t risk sending them from here.  Alas, this is life in Costa Rica.  It seems like we’re always waiting for a part for some piece of equipment or other.  But on the whole, it’s still worth the hassle to live here.  You just have to embrace the Costa Rican motto, “Pura Vida” which translates as “pure life” but really means “What me worry?”  Until my kiln repair is complete, I’ll be spending more time at the beach.

This is a problem?


Another morning well spent

fused glass class samara costa rica

Four ladies filled the glass studio this morning with laughter and artistic inspiration.  And they filled the kiln, as well.  Can’t wait to see how these candle holders turn out.

fused glass class samara costa rica

Ready for the first firing.

fused glass art in samara costa rica

Fused once and ready for the second slump/drape firing.


Art Fair Saturday

Navidad english (2)

Patty and Bobbi and Barb melt stuff

glass fusing class in samara costa rica

beautiful results from Saturdays beginning glass fusing class.

GLASS FUSING CLASS IN SAMARA COSA RICAAnd the ladies who produced them.

Classes are offered at Casa Gecko Glass, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10am.  Reservations required – space is limited. 2656-1010.

New work for Crafts Fair

glass fusing samara costa rica

glass fusing samara costa ricaI’ve bee busy in the studio, preparing for the Samara Arts and Crafts Fair, Sat. 8 Dec. on the plaza (soccer field).  Here is a set of plates (6″ x 6″).  Great for dessert, sushi, or salad.

Samara Christmas Art Fair

christmas art fair playa samara beach costa rcaSamara Christmas Art Fair scheduled for 8 Dec. on the soccer field.  9am – 8pm.  All art will be made by local artists.  Artists should bring ther own table and shade.  Contact Nicole 2656-0897 or Connie 2656-0072.

How to replace kiln element

I’ve just had to replace the element in my kiln, after about 4 years use.  We ordered one from the manufacturer through our local distributor.  But, when we opened the package, the new kiln element didn’t look anything like the old one, which was about 3 meters long and  wrapped around the fire-box twice.  This was a short little piece of tightly coiled steel.  It wasn’t immediately obvious to us that we simply had to stretch the new element to the same length as the old one.

We laid the two out together on the floor and Steve and I holding firmly to each end, we gently pulled until the new one was as long as the old one.  Then we pressed it into the tracks in the fire-box and pinned it with the little metal staples.  The package included good instructions for wiring the element to the thermostat and voila!

Wakeup Call

fuse glass art playa smara costa ricaIf you work in an earthquake prone region, as I do here in Costa Rica, have you properly secured your glass art?  What about the shops where you market your work?  I lost three pieces of fused glass art at the Dragonfly Art Gallery in the 7.6 mag. earthquake of Sept. 5 here in Playa Samara, Costa Rica.  Three out of 16 is not bad, I suppose.  But with nearly daily aftershocks since then, I’m wondering if it will all eventually return to the sand from which it came?  I’d better “batten down the hatches”.

What’s the best way to secure glass work?  Wax, museum gel, chewing gum?