In what was a derelict blacksmith's forge, now a family home and contemporary fused glass studio, Grace makes a range of hand-crafted glass, all of which, she hopes, will add something special to the home of whoever receives it.
Every piece, from the smallest Christmas decoration up, is made individually so no two pieces can ever be identical. Often when the glass is made, it will require one or more further firings, to add more details, or to ‘slump’ the glass into a mould, to make, for example, a bowl or a candle-holder.
Grace works exclusively with glass. Unlike stained glass, she does not use lead or copper to hold the pieces together, and it is not painted or glazed. It is purely glass, manipulated and melted to achieve the results that now form her popular range of homeware and giftware. Every piece is handmade by Grace in her studio on the hillside of Mullyash, high above Castleblayney, in County Monaghan.
What is fused glass? Also known as kiln-formed glass, fusing involves cutting, grinding and layering specialist sheet-glass when cold. It is placed in a kiln, which is like an oven. The glass is slowly heated to very high temperatures (up to about 800 degrees Celsius), when it melts and ‘fuses’ to itself, then carefully cooled down again for strength (known as annealling), before the door can be opened. This is a craft that requires patience, and a little belief in magic! The fusing process takes between 13 hours and 72 hours, depending on the size of the kiln.