The possibilities for glass as an art medium (like the well-known art of glass blowing) allow makers to create an endless variety of work that capitalizes on the unique properties of glass, and can be as varied as the artists themselves. Kiln-glass (also called compatible glass) is a special type of glass, manufactured under controlled conditions to have the same coefficient of expansion (coe) to avoid stress and cracking as the fused glass is brought up to very high heat and then cooled back down to room temperature.
Glass kilns are usually programmed to regulate the rate at which very high temperatures are reached and held for the intended results. The kiln then anneals (allows to cool slowly) the glass as it returns to a more solid state. Glass is, in fact, neither a liquid nor a solid – it is an amorphous solid: somewhere between those two states of matter. When glass is heated in the kiln, it becomes almost honey-like with an increasingly lower viscosity that causes the glass to present as soft and sticky. The molten glass (at 1,400 to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit) fuses and becomes one with other pieces of compatible glass. At lower temperatures (1,100 to 1,300 degrees), it can be shaped and slumped into molds.
Much of miro's work involves multiple firings, using a variety of techniques to achieve specific results. he works with a range of compatible glass materials, ranging from flat sheet to frit (finely ground glass), coarse to fine powders and glass enamels. His glass studio consists of several kilns, a large workspace for storage and assembly of glass, molds and tools, a wet room for grinding, polishing, cutting, and shaping, and space for sandblasting and framing. His studio also includes a showroom to display his work, which ranges from fine art to functional decor.
"What goes into the kiln is not what comes out. working with kiln-heated glass is somewhere between alchemical transmutation and a quantum experience (of infinite possibilities) until the kiln is opened. Each step in the process determines the next. Though I may have a general idea of what I wish to achieve, the work has a voice of its own as well. It is that conversation with the process and the element of the unknown that has drawn me as an artist to work with kiln formed glass. My latest works have been inspired by contemporary and traditional Japanese arts and culture."
- Michael "jojo" Miro, artist