This week I started electro-forming some of my glass pate de verre pieces. Initially, I used the process just to join pieces of ceramic and glass together, strengthening the underside of the glass and making it wearable. However, with my first initial pieces, I felt the additional copper added more to the aesthetic and to truly make the piece stronger, there would need to be a large amount of copper, potentially drawing attention away from the glass.
Because of these circumstances, I decided to look back on the purpose of my pieces and focus on how this aesthetic could be applied to a current market. I am now re-assessing my designs so they fit the market of Haute couture glass pieces, which have a relation to jewellery in order to portray glass as precious, treating it as you would a diamond or a gold ring. To follow this concept, I intend to look at traditional jewellery pieces/styles and reinterpret them into my glass-work. This will give the final pieces a historical and contemporary context.
Finally! This week I was successful in producing the drop out forms. Although there were still some casualties, I am really happy with the final products. These miniature vessels really epitomise what can be achieved with molten glass and some of the visual effects are stunning. From all of these experiments, I have learned a lot about the firing process and it feels good to have resolved this area of work. The next stage of development will be trickier as I feel this particular form is a bit of a dead end: I need to expand my visual research and find new ways to apply this process.
One particular experiment I was very excited about was combining pate de Verre with porcelain. I felt the delicacy of the glass displayed on a white surface could be very successful and allow me to explore sculpture and wearable forms further. During the firing process, the glass moved, which created some unexpected pieces. However, these ‘new’ forms took my designs from something contrived and turned them into much more intriguing pieces. There is still an issue with adhering the glass to the ceramic, but I plan to remedy that with electro-forming and I look forward to developing these pieces.
So far this week, I have had a mixture of results. On Monday, I received my first successful batch of Pate de Verre pieces which are beautiful and really epitomise what I want to achieve with this medium. The process of Pate De Verre involves firing small fragments of glass to 691 C so that they start to soften and stick together without losing their shape. It is efficient and I feel this process could be very successful with my designs. I also attempted another drop-out firing, unfortunately two pieces melted faster than the rest so I was unable to achieve a successful form for each piece. Although the result was unsatisfactory, I have learnt a lot more about melting temperature of different coloured glass and will continue to experiment. 🙂
This week has been very busy as I have attempted several new processes that I could potentially use for my final piece. I continued to work with my drop out firings and I have perfected the process to avoid cracks on the glass: this required using bat wash on the ceramic pieces and making sure the glass did not over lap the ceramic surface. Although technically successful, visually the pieces were dull. Apart from one, this particular piece (unfortunately broken) melted faster than the others and became a long stemmed sculpture. I am really excited about this piece as there is so much energy and beauty in it’s fluid shape. Even broken, I can see the stem as part of a jewellery piece. With my next firing, I plan to melt all my pieces to that level, possibly joining several up.
Another process I practised was Freeze & Fuse. This is a new technique which uses glass powder mixed with water, which is frozen in a flexible mould. Once frozen it can then be removed and fired to a low fusing temperature. This produces a three-dimensional form that retains a lot of detail and glassy shine. Although the pieces in the gallery are quite garish in colour, this process shows a lot of potential as it is efficient, detailed and could be used in conjunction with other techniques such as Pate de Verre or casting.
For my next batch of test pieces, I wanted to continue my experiments with molten forms and transparency. I fused several samples and with a few of them, I created layers of colour and experimented with sandblasting to create variations in texture and colour and light. (first two images) I was very impressed with the contrast between the shine of fused glass against a sandblasted surface and I feel this particular composition has potential to go far.
One particular process I was drawn to were ‘Drop out’ firings, which involve slumping sheets of glass through a hole to make a three-dimensional form, such as a vase. When thinking about jewellery pieces, I thought this would be a very intriguing piece and give my work a sense of elevation. I also incorporated ceramic as the base hole for the slump. This process is currently being refined as the firing must be watched and depending on the area or type of kiln and amount of glass, the slumping can vary between each piece.
With the upcoming start of my final year at Loughborough University, I decided to experiment with some processes in order to inform my first university project. There are several qualities of glass that I wanted to focus on such as transparency, emitting light and it’s form when molten.
For my first batch of experiments I focused on fusing, using fibre blanket for texture and shapes, colours and other materials to explore these qualities further. For my first two pieces I used black and clear to create a section that could transmit light and in addition, I used Bicarbonate of soda in one of the piece’s clear segment to alter the surface and three dimensional qualities of the glass.
I feel these two pieces have potential but will need a lot more development before they will be successful.
With other pieces I experimented with fibre blanket, which can be used to create patterns or shapes in glass. With two pieces I used it to create internal cavities and with the third I slumped a sheet of glass over it. I was very impressed with red sample which had a space large enough to insert other materials and/or objects. This also successfully demonstrates the qualities of glass.
Another area I experimented within was encasing wire in glass. The result was brilliant as the tin coating on the copper wire burnt away leaving a reddish/pink colour and the wire was still flexible and strong enough to be bent and shaped, which could be turned into jewellery: making the experiment ideal for my current project.