Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Glass Act - my process explained...

"Greens and Amber" - SOLD

"Blues" - SOLD

"Greens and Amber" - SOLD

"Greens and Amber" SOLD

"Colbalt, Greens and Yellow" - SOLD

"Colbalt and Yellow" - SOLD

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".


PAFord Pastelist said...

David, As a collector of glass paperweights, I have got to say, out of all of mine the one you made and gave me is absolutely the most spectacular piece I've ever seen. There is not a day that goes by that I don't look at it and think "that is so absolutely gorgeous." And what is best...is my wonderful dusty friend made it for me! Thank you David for the perfect, most loving gift.

Cindy said...

Ahhh, these are gorgeous, David! Your swirls are beautiful...and you lucky guy, you made SO MANY paperweights! I well remember my own wonderful weekend glass making class that my husband gave me a gift certificate in Boston 6 years ago. What fun it is to be able to handle hot glass and pick the colors to mix...it felt extremely dangerous yet very exciting at the same time. Paula, you have a treasure!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Nice. I took a glass 'slumping' class and made a lovely sushi plate and a number of dichroic glass jewelry pieces. Fun. I also have seen the Chihuly 'glass ceiling' at the Naples Florida Museum of Art. Quite something.

iLLusionary said...

I think I will eventually buy one of these as soon as our finances are in better order becuase now that I have seen these and read the work that goes into making them I gotta have at least one. I am a big fan of the color red and would love to see more of your work using the color red. I saw the one you created on Myspace and loved it!

-Melissa aka iLLusionary aka Eye Of The Beholder

David Patterson said...

Thanks for the lovely comments everyone!