|From our small studio on the Isle of Wight we make our
colourful glass. We also sell most of our glass in the studio so we get
to meet the people who buy our glass. Now we are on the web and some of
our current work is available for purchase online. Each piece is signed
and dated, packed carefully and sent ASAP.
The furnace holds 300 lbs of molten glass in a tank at a temperature
of 1100 C . The glass is gathered from the furnace by dipping a heated
iron into the glass and turning the iron so that glass gathers on the
end of the iron. The clear glass is coloured by dabbing it into trays
of coloured glass powders and frits. The colour sticks to the surface
and by reheating the colour is fused to the surface. Sometimes more
clear glass is gathered over the colour to make a larger gather. The
gather is usually taken to the bench now and worked with various tools
including steel, paper and wood, shaping and blowing alternately until
the shape is achieved.
When you are happy with the shape you need to finish the top or neck,
the assistant gathers on another iron and this iron is stuck to the
base so that the piece can be released from the blowing iron. The top
is then reheated in the Glory Hole before the glass is pliable and can
be formed into a neck.
When the piece is finished it is still very hot over 500 C and has to
be cooled evenly in an oven overnight to ensure the glass is without
stress. Often there is cold working to be done, cutting, grinding, smoothing
and polishing. Each piece is unique one in a series of endless combinations
of colour and form.
Modern glass belongs to a tradition going back over 4000 years, Roman
glassmakers working 2000 years ago would recognise most of the tools
and techniques in use today. Glass has always been precious, highly
skilled work and prized by Kings and Governors. The modern movement
in Studio glass has provided a very collectible art form particularly
in America where it is the dominant art form. Sculptures, torsos, blown
vessels, goblets, jewel like colours.
Glass should be displayed in plenty of light to bring out all its qualities,
it reflects light, refracts it, it can capture the world around it in
its surfaces, distort and focus light. The shadows cast by glass are
a delight moving as they do with the light source, a whole room can
be drawn with patterns from a small glass piece. The pure and radiant
colours can be opaque or translucent, swirl inside the glass or sit
on the surface like a painting, the colours react with each other changing
patterns and tones even textures. Your eye can be stopped by the surface
or drawn into the depths of the glass, colour can vary from sharp techno
colour to the most subtle and organic forms, the glass can imitate a
rock, the sky a bird, fish, a bone a butterfly. It s potential is infinite
limited only by the skill and imagination of the maker. Glass has been
made for more than 4000 years and yet you can still feel you are only
scratching the surface. Swift difficult and demanding it showers the
maker and owner with rich rewards.