Tuesday, January 15, 2008
A Glass Act - my process explained...
In November of 2007, I discovered the wonderful world of Glass Art. I guess living so close to Dale Chihuly's Glass Museum has had a big influence on me. After visiting the museum, and watching the glass artists at work in the "hot box", I decided that someday I'd love to try working with glass myself. My wife gave me a wonderful gift - a certificate to "The glass blowing experience" at the Tacoma Glassblowing Studios in Tacoma, Washington.
First of all, I need to give credit to glass artist Shane Nutter for his assistance in my recent creations. The whole process is a transformation of a formless glowing glob into a beautiful piece of glass art. Below is the 2 man process that is used to create my glass art:
Using a long bar call a puntil, you pick up a small amount of molten glass from the main furnace. You then cool the bar, then heat the glass back up in what's called the "glory hole", a 2000 degree furnace. Then you pick up three different colors of glass chips that I've laid out on a tray - rotating the bar for each different color.
Then it's back to the glory hole to melt the picked up colors into the molten glass, setting them into the form. I remove it from the glory hole and take it over to a bench where you roll the bar, while grabbing the end of the glass with pliers and twist the heck out of the piece. That's how I get the colors to have a swirling effect. But that's only the first part of my technique...
I heat it up again in the glory hole to get it back to a molten state, take it back over to the bench and begin to make about ten different cuts into the molten glass with large shears, while at the same time turning the rod in different positions. You then pick up the final layer of clear glass in the furnace, and do the final forming into the shape I want. The final things you do is form the bottom, let the piece cool some, and tap the bar to seperate the piece from the bar. After heating up the bottom of the piece with a small blow torch, it's then stamped with my initials and year on the bottom. It's then annealed over night in an oven. The glass sculptures range in height from 4" to 6".