Fused Glass & Marble Custom Penguin Sculpture

In this project the client supplied an animated gif; he wanted a small sculpture that exactly replicated the image.

Initially he advertised for "stained glass"; since my experience has taught me that a piece of this size (6"h x 5.5"w) would work far better if created with "fused glass", I offered that option, along with some sample photos.

He liked the fused very much and thought it would work out better; the next step was providing him a scale drawing of the finished piece. Being "ever creative", I perched my paper drawing atop a piece of raw white marble to simulate an "ice floe" (the client had not asked for a base, though this was always intended to be a sculptural piece).

The ice flow was a "hit", so I got busy cutting the glass for the penguin. While the piece looks quite simple, I am never satisfied with "ordinary"... I wanted the scarf to appear OVER the body.. . not as part of the two dimensional plane.

Because of this I needed to cut three separate "scarf" pieces to build in this dimension; seventeen pieces of glass in total comprise the penguin.

The firing schedule had to be very carefully controlled, as glass over 1/4" in thickness wants to spread out as it heats up, distorting the shape. My 20 years experience as a fuser guided me in a perfect firing.

I painted a metal U-bolt black and adhered it to the back of the penguin, letting the "legs" extend 3/4" below the body. After carefully marking the marble, I drilled two holes into which the "legs" would fit... so good, that no permanent adhesive is even needed.

Designing the stand this way also allowed for easier shipping with less chance of breakage.

Fused glass allows for much finer detail than stained glass, as well as added dimension. This piece demonstrates three separate thicknesses - the wings are the thinnest, so that they appear slightly behind the body.. then the main section of the body... and lastly, the scarf on top of the body, and the eyes and beak on top of the head.

The body itself is 5/16" thick; this gives the piece a nice weight, and lends to a "long and happy life".

View Shipping & Maker Policies

Made in Pahrump, NV

By Karla Ely Glass

All of our products are handmade
by expert makers.

  • Rich Hoftiezer

    Rich Hoftiezer's review

    • Jan 31st 2014

    I started with an idea; Karla turned it into a work of art. I cannot adequately express how pleased I am with the end result. The quality is unsurpassed, and the workmanship is flawless. Her professionalism, imagination and skills made this a thoroughly enjoyable and learning experience. From concept to completion, Karla kept me apprised of every facet of the project, providing frequent communication, explanations of the processes and pictures of the piece.

    If you would like to see an idea come to life, ask to see her Creation Story of what became affectionately known as "Mr Penguin".

    With my deepest thanks and admiration,

    Rich H

More Projects by Karla Ely

Other projects you might like