As anyone who works with glass knows, the materials are expensive so almost nothing is discarded. In my studio, I've got plenty of glass storage for full sheets (which are simply Bullseye crates on their sides, screwed together), and my husband has built me racks for half sheets and roughly 10x10s, sorted by color. From there, I progress to plastic shoe box-type bins for smaller but still useable scraps. Once the bits are too small to bother with, I donate them to a fusing studio for students to use in jewelry or other projects.
While there's nothing like pulling a new full sheet of glass from the racks, there are times when the scraps begin to overtake their storage bins. That's the sign that I need to get even more creative and find a solution to regain some control over the growing piles.
While pot melts are a popular way to use scraps, I'm just not that enthralled with them. Random swirls or blobs of color (often muddied up due to poor color choices or chemical reactions) just don't inspire me. Although I have to say, having recently worked with Steve Immerman at Pilchuck and revisiting his website, I'm probably just completely intimidated by his awe-inspiring pot melt and strip construction pieces. If you haven't seen his work, you've got to check out his Clearwater Glass site (http://www.clearwaterglass.com/).
I'd much prefer to incorporate what I've always called Intentional Design. At this point in my glass work, I like and need for my designs to make some kind of sense to me. I'm just not a "let the pieces fall where they may" type of artist.
My garden stakes were born from the scrap bins. Obviously working small is an ideal way to use lots of little bits but now and then I'll pull a bin or two out and just push pieces around until something inspires me. Like I said before, there's nothing like pulling out a full sheet of glass—it feels like a bright new canvas—but it's also educational for me to challenge myself with the opportunity that a pile of disparate scraps present.
PS: If you haven't been to my website lately, its finally been updated!