Ideas are developed over periods of time, usually resulting in a range of related pieces, which have grown out of an initial concept. Potential shapes and forms are explored through charcoal drawings on paper, and questions about volume, scale, colour and how the piece may respond to light are considered at this stage. The character/atmosphere of the piece is then established through modelmaking, usually in clay or plaster, before the process of translating into glass begins.

Once the models are made, moulds are taken either in plaster or sometimes directly in refractory mould mix. If plaster master moulds are made, melted wax is applied to the surface to produce a model, which can be ‘lost'. The resulting hollow wax is carefully set up on a base of clay or wax, ready for investment in refractory mould mix. The mould mix consists of specific ingredients, which can withstand the temperature and duration of the kiln firing, which for larger pieces can be several weeks.

When the mould is set, the wax is steamed out, leaving a clean cavity, into which glass can be cast. The mould is dried, and then placed in the kiln and loaded with glass. The kiln firing is carefully controlled both during heating and cooling to result in a good melt, and to reduce the likelihood of stress or tension in the cast glass.

After removing the refractory mould from the cooled cast glass, cleaning and cold finishing processes begin. Some forms are minimally worked, whereas others are worked extensively, dependent on the desired character of each piece. Cold working can involve cutting, grinding, polishing, and sand blasting techniques, as well as working by hand with abrasives or diamond tools. These processes can be used as surface treatments or to radically change the cast form. Either way, a close relationship is maintained with the piece, and a high level of control over the final translucency or transparency of the glass.

 

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