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Glass Separator Texture as a Design Element

Becky Johnson (standing, wearing the white shirt) with students.

For many years I’ve heard people ask, “How do you get rid of the brush strokes in glass separator?” The smallest imperfections in the shelf appear on the back of fused glass.

Sometimes, however, you can use that texture to enhance a piece. I hadn’t thought of this until I visited Creative Arts Center of Dallas last week. Becky Johnson, the glass teacher, showed me a bowl that had been slumped over an upside-down mold. The glass surface that was toward the mold was the side facing up in the finished piece.

For a change, design a fused piece so that the side of the glass toward the shelf will be the side that faces up when the piece is displayed. Coat the kiln shelf with a paint brush instead of the smooth-bristle Chinese haik brush.

For interesting surface lines, fire two or more layers of glass leaving a gap between butted base pieces. Or randomly overlap base pieces.

This simple technique produces surprising results.


Q. When I start my digital kiln, the alarm beeps.

A. The alarm sounds at the beginning of the firing because it has been set to a lower temperature than room temperature.

Q. If you stop/abort a firing to change a temperature and then resume firing, do you need to skip segments to get back to where you were before?

A. When you press Stop during a firing, reprogram the controller, and then press Start, the controller will go to the first segment that matches the temperature inside the kiln. For instance, if segment 3 starts at 1200 and ends at 1700, and the kiln temperature is 1600 when you press Start, the controller will go directly to segment 3.

Q. Is there anything that will prevent ceramic fiber particles from dropping onto the glass from the roof of the kiln?

A. To eliminate fiber dusting, vacuum the kiln. If that doesn't work, brush a coat of rigidizer onto the ceramic fiber firing chamber. You can order it from Paragon. A 4 ounce container is $10.00.


On Halloween, Paragon’s customer service representatives came to work in costumes. The plan was to come as either an angel or a devil. Most came as angels, complete with wings and halos. To see a group picture, go to and select About Us > Paragon People.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

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