Recalling his application to join the local craft guild, Roger remembers someone telling him, "Don't be surprised if you don't get in the first time". When he presented to the 9 person panel, they had never seen anything like his work, and Roger was pleased to get the official designation of Craftsman.
The Craftsman's Guild requires tri-annual interviews "mainly to make sure you haven't regressed. I think I have improved. I figured out a way to make the petals on the flowers sit up, so you get a true three-dimensional flower. I decided I wanted to figure out how to make it do that... finally figured it out. Thought it looked great."
Roger explains the difference between three types of glass work:
"Before fused glass art, I did woodworking for 25 years. We made everything, bookcases, furniture, cabinets, fern stands, shelves. I quit doing woodwork when my wife's father, who was a carpenter too, turned 80 and didn't want to do it anymore. Life was busy, and I just decided something had to go. I still have my stuff out there, so I make the frames, for instance, although time-wise I can buy them easier than I can make 'em."
"We went to Alaska on a cruise, saw a little bit of fused glass up there. A couple years later we went to New England and saw a lot of it there, then even more in Canada. So that's what got me into it. Never had a class or anything. Decided I had to do it, then I just started doing it. I had taken a class on stained glass years earlier, but I didn't like it. You use pretty much the same tools as fused glass, but stained glass is more tedious, you really cannot have any gap when you go to fire."
"Color is my style. I like to make the colors pop. It seems to make people very happy."
"I like doing the flowers. I like everything I make, but leaning toward flowers now, and have enjoyed working to get the petals to stand up more. I like working toward new techniques, getting the glass to do something it hasn't before. I like the end result. The flowers are not hard to do, but the smaller you go the harder they are to do."
"I have a blue holder to hold the real small pieces to the grinder. You're so close to the grinder, though, that the holder gets damaged or the piece of glass goes flying across the room. It is fun to do. I want to do a magnolia, to make the petals stand up. We've done some magnolias, but they're flat and will look better if I can get them to stand up."
"They call it cold working, the process of getting everything together and ready. Then the fusing process. It takes 12 hours for the kiln to power up and get to the right temperature. It warms to a level, such as 960 degrees, and stays there an hour, then up to the next temp. Same with cooling down. It's got to get back down to 100 degrees before you open the kiln. It will crack if you take it out too early, the air temperature gets it, below 100 is better. You don't have to run heat in the workshop in the winter time because the kiln warms the whole room."
"It's not cheap. Glass is expensive. The price of red and pink glass is based off the gold market, because gold goes into the glass-making process. The price of kilns.... there are smaller ones, but the larger you get with the Delphi kilns... it ain't cheap. If you buy molds that are made specifically for glass, those are expensive. We work with a local company to make custom molds, their kiln goes up to 2300 degrees, and of course they can stack items in their kiln, which you can't do with glass."
"We've been doing this a long time, and you just never know how it might go. Some shows we sell out, some shows you might not sell much. A lot of people have never seen this before, and customers just love it."
View his fused glass items for sale