Here's my thoughts on the market future:
We ship a lot of finished product into the states. Although our US customers are unhappy the way our prices steadily increase as the US dollar steadily declines, they still order. We ship all over the states, but orders into Alaska are huge with the cruise ship traffic.
I don't know about the glass blowing industry in Ontario, but here on the wetcoast, it's going through a major transformation. Many of the large shops are closing and being replaced by small individual studio operations - often using small electric crucible furnaces. We've supplied about 20 in the last year to Canadian glassblowers or casters. Why spend $20,000 on a huge gas furnace when you can do the job with a $1,000 electric?
I think kilnformed glass is replacing stained glass for many reasons:
1. It takes considerably less time to acquire enough basic skill to produce reasonably decent looking projects.
2. Materials cost is much lower than for stained glass. Although fuse compatible glass costs more then regular art glass, the lack of waste factor and lack of any other significant costs (lead, solder, etc) produce a lower total project cost.
3. Fusing provides a huge expansion of design options.
4. Kilnforming is considerably less work. Our records show that a finished fused panel takes about 30% the time of a finished stained glass panel.
5. Kilnforming is more profitable. We can get the same price for a cabinet door panel as for a stained glass panel - and it only costs half as much labour and materials to produce.
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