Saturday, June 1, 2013

AAE Glass Features Artist Michelle Copeland of Thistle Glass


AAE Glass is happy to share glass art works from Michelle Copeland of Thistle Glass.  Michelle is a pro's pro and takes the time to develop her art by experimenting with ideas that are outside the box.  I will let Michelle tell you about her work below.  Thank you for sharing Michelle!

Hello, my name is Michelle Copeland and I am the artist/owner of When Tanya and Mark asked me to write a little about myself for their blog I was flattered and happy to have the opportunity to let such a large audience know who I am. I have been a glass artist for over twenty years now and have wandered all over the map as far as glass disciplines go. My journey began with stained glass, then fusion, lampworking, casting and eventually glass blowing. My love for light and color frequently leads me from one discipline to another and back again, and occasionally I blend glass techniques to create something completely out of the box.
This leads me to the latest development in my glassy journey! I have tons of stained glass on hand from the custom windows I have built over the years and have been dreaming of great ways to finally make good use of it, all while still keeping busy with my fused glass. It was at this point that I found AAE Glass, offering the curious “new to me” enamel decals. WOW, how very exciting is this? I had trouble believing their claim that the decals were strong and never wear or fade. Of course I had to test it out and I placed my first order. My test after fusing my first round was to scrape hard with an exacto blade, then I sand blasted, the decals were still thick enough to withstand this rudeness! I also left one in the hot sun for several days, and then did the underwater test for a few more days. Nothing went wrong yet, these decals were crazy-good quality! My daughters witnessed the decal abuse and exclaimed, “Mom! You are going to have to scrub the glass on cement to ruin those decals!” I took that as a hint and have been offering the decal glass to my clients ever since. Necessary side note here: I tested other decal brands and not only did they fade, they sandblast off right away. This means they are super thin, just so you know.
The next part of the decal journey was my test firings of decals onto stained glass. OK, really? The glass and decals came out perfect using the low fire schedule, and with the high fire schedule, the glass edges developed needles, which were easily ground off. After this succeeded on the first try, I cut and ground them into the desired shape and foiled them for stained glass mini windows!
Putting the decals to a whole new test now, (full-color, black, and white decals), I was pulling no punches here. I ground and foiled the decal glass, then flux, soldered (remember this is super hot and DID touch the decal!), washed, scrubbed with 0000 steel wool, cleaned with rubbing alcohol, applied black patina (which acts as an acid and did not stain the white tree decal), then applied polishing wax. Now, if that didn’t wreck the decals, nothing ever will! It’s a big plus to give the decals yet one more use. They make a gorgeous focal point to your stained glass pieces and you get to use the stained glass that’s so different from the fusible glass available on the market. So, mix it up, go for it, and make something beautiful!
My personal goal over the years has been to learn as many glass disciplines as possible so I could someday blend them. Being self taught, this took awhile, but I did it! One glass lesson in particular became very clear…. I am never done learning, as glass is infinite in its possibilities. I leave you with my happy thought for the day; YOU can do ANYTHING and anything is possible! All glass all ways, Michelle Copeland.


  1. Beautiful work, Michelle!!! I enjoyed reading your decal testing adventures!! :-)

  2. I agree Phyllis. It won't be long until Tanya is scraping her decal pendants on the sidewalk to see just how much abuse they can take! Thanks again Michelle.

  3. Impressive testing! Thanks for sharing your story and beautiful work.

  4. Thank you to everyone! If it weren't for Tanya and her amazing enamel decals, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to WANT to experiment to this degree. ;D

  5. Nice work, Michelle! I visited your website and love your fused bowls also. And Tanya, I took one of your Webinars and am in LOVE with the Picasso Process. Thank you so much for your willingness to share your ideas and techniques. It looks like some amazing things are happening in your Studio. Congratulations! Please check out my blog as well. I'd love to have some more followers!

  6. Beautiful work Bonnie! You are a great writer and the glass speaks for itself. I am following your blog now. If you are interested, we would be happy to feature your work and blog on this blog. Email Mark at for more info. Thank you for sharing.