Kiln Formed Glass
Zantium Studio - Barbara Coulam: Clerestory Glass
at Godfrey Hole
with Barbara Coulam
Home - Cathy - Frank
First let me say these pieces represent my first attempt at Kiln Formed Glass. The techniques use can be described as fusing and slumping. Fusing is where pieces of glass is stuck together by melting, the hotter the kiln the more they melt and the more they run. Slumping is where the glass is placed over or in some kind of former and is allowed to slum into or over it. The two techniques can be combined and generally even the simplest slumped piece involved fusing if more than one piece of glass is used.
The macro photograph above is of part of a pendant and shows some of the features of glass that makes it such an interesting medium. First the shiny bit on the left is a little dichroic glass which is a thin layer of metal fused with glass during manufacture that act like a coloured mirror with a very narrow colour band. It’s what makes lots of glass jewellery have lots of shiny colour. The fine lines are copper wire embedded between the layers of glass before they were fused. The black is black glass and if you look closely you can see the depth behind it that is the glass base plate the whole piece is built on top off. The bubbles in the glass are probably just air trapped between the bits of glass as they slumped and fused together. These bubbles add greatly to the interest of the final piece but are almost impossible to control, so they add a random element to be discovered every time the kiln is opened. Finally the outer glass surfaces are reflective and that just makes taking good photographs difficult. It’s so difficult a very good friend of mine, a professional photographer, always says “don’t take pictures of glass!”
The photograph above right is of the complete pendant and it is my favourite piece. One other factor I didn’t mention is that the this particular glass changes colour as it is fused and that added yet another unknown to the process. In the end it just works so well I love it!
The daffodil to the left is a window hanging and is made from two layers of clear glass with copper wire and coloured glass flakes trapped between. The style is intentionally very primitive in this medium less is defiantly more, the fussier you get the more likely you are to have a disaster. It looks wonderful when the sun shines through it but I think it would have been better if the wire was thinner as it is just a little too heavy.
The photograph to the right is of a small part of a mirror surround which works incredibly well but add mirror to glass and for me at least it is impossible to get a good picture so sorry only some detail but what detail. The flakes of opaque dark blue glass appear to float above a textured surface, the glass is in multiple thicknesses and coil of copper wire has again trapped many small bubbles the eye does not know where to settle, wonderful.
Finally, the plate below is made from two layers of glass trapping Ivy leaves and some copper wire. Again this is a somewhat random process the leaves oxidise and leave a shadow. However, it does not always work that way, the dark patches are where some air has been trapped with the leaf and the organic material has converted into carbon on the inside of the bubble. I don’t care this is my favourite piece it’s thick and chunky with uneven bits and bubbles but it sparkles and casts shadows that are wonderful and full of interest.
If I have raised your interest in any way and you are interested in learning more please feel free to contact Zantium Studio or Barbara Coulam of Clerestory Glass and enjoy yourself. I do hope you get as much fun out of glass as I have so far.
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