Gaia Glassworks

Glass is a medium that fills me with joy.  Its interplay with light, texture; its transparent and opaque qualities inspire me.  I am fascinated with layering colours and seeing the unexpected. When I create my window panels I incorporate a lot of negative or open space.  I do this so what can be seen through the glass becomes a part of the art itself.  And each time I hang them in a new location, they transform and the story changes.  

This seems to me a metaphor for the journey we are all on – that we can block out light and block out the world or we can choose to be in relationship and together create a world of beauty and light and love. 

Simply put, kiln forming means heating glass to very high temperatures in a kiln for the purpose of combining, shaping, or manipulating it. Fused glass, slumped glass and draped glass are all examples of kiln forming.  

Think of glass as a liquid that is frozen at room temperature. Heating the glass in a kiln melts the glass, allowing it to act like a liquid -- it sags, it flows, it blends, the surface softens and smoothes. As the glass cools, the shapes, patterns, colors and textures created by the flow are captured permanently within the glass. Colors blend to create new hues, and variations in depth enable the glass to reflect, bend, and carry light. The result is a spectacular display that gives each piece a unique character and brilliance. 

At 1250°, the pieces soften and drop down against one another. At 1400°, they adhere to one another, but edges and textures are still sharp. At 1500° the sections melt into one another, eventually forming a smooth surface.  The piece is then cooled quickly to just below 1000°, and held at that temperature for a period of time. This step, called annealing, reduces stresses within the glass and prevents flaws and cracks in the finished piece. The fused work is then cooled slowly to room temperature.

Cold working - by hand or by machine - is the last and important step to finishing a piece of glass.  Diamond hand pads for sanding off rough edges, a lap wheel to shape and polish, diamond drills, grinders, sandblasting etc. - all offer different techniques and possibilities.  Often, after the cold working is done, there is still one more fire to bring the surface of the glass back to a gloss.  It's a long process but testament to the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. 

Please click on the links above to go visit a gallery of my work.

 

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