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Turning Ashes into Glass Artwork

Glass with cremains mixed into the ash is a lovely way to remember a loved one but how does it actually happen?  For hot glass, it's somewhat akin to making a candle (except with 1800 degree molten glowing glass!) 

The first step is laying cremains onto a steel table in a pattern, such as lines or hashes.  Crushed colored glass, also known as Frit, is laid down as well.   Then, using a long hollow tube a 'Gather' of glass is collected from the furnace.  It's rolled over the cremains and/or frit and then given a little bit of time to cool enough so it is no longer viscous.  At this time certain tools may be used to impart additional physical designs onto the molten element.

The above steps (from laying down the cremains to imparting physical designs) is repeated a few more times, with each layer of new glass fusing to the old one.  Once completed, the artist will then break the memorial from the long tube and place the glasswork into an annealer to slowly bring the temperature of the glass down over 24 hours to minimize cracking and glass stress.

Once the glass is cool enough to handhold, the artist will generally use an industrial sander with diamond grit to smooth down any rough spots left from where the memorial was joined to the pipe.  Once smooth and polished, the memorial is ready to ship.

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