INFORMATION ABOUT MY GLASSWORK

~ WHAT IS LAMPWORKING? ~

Lampworking is a method of glass work which uses a very hot gas-fuelled torch to melt glass rods. The molten glass can be wound onto steel mandrels to create beads, which can then be decorated using a number of different techniques. Beads are not the only product of lampworking, however - intricate and beautiful sculptures can be created in this way (see here)

The secrets of beadmaking were jealously guarded by Venetian glassworkers in the 1300s, and passed down from generation to generation. Because of the secrecy which veiled the art, beads became more sought-after than gold, and were used as currency for trade by the explorers of the time! Eventually, the secrets filtered out, and techniques spread across Europe. Today, there are many artists around the world making glass beads, and in recent times, glass beadmaking is becoming more widely practised in the UK. There are many of us 'glassaholics' who are fascinated by glass, the way it behaves when molten, the reactions which happen between colours when mixed.

~ WHAT IS FUSED GLASS? ~
Fusing glass is the process of using a programmable kiln to melt pieces of specially-formulated art glass and fuse into one new, unified piece of glass. Colour patterns & designs developed by the artist are retained by carefully controlling the kiln firing schedule. Temperatures of up to 900 degrees centigrade are used to fuse different components. The temperature has to be carefully controlled so that the glass has enough time at the optimum temperature to unite the molecules. The glass then has to be ‘annealed’ which involves careful and slow lowering of the temperature to ensure strong molecule bonds, avoiding weaknesses in the finished pieces.

~ WHAT IS 'DICHROIC' GLASS? ~
Originally developed for the space industry, the amazing brilliance of Dichroic glass is achieved by vaporizing metallic oxides onto glass sheets in a controlled vacuum.  The main characteristic of Dichroic glass is that it has a transmitted colour and a completely different reflected colour. These two colours shift depending on angle of view. With its vibrant colours and the play of light, Dichroic glass is an exciting medium. A glass artist can ‘paint’ with glass, capturing the iridescence of a butterfly’s wing or a peacock’s feather.

 

~ WHY SHOULD GLASS BE ANNEALED? ~

All my beads and fused glass pieces are properly annealed in my digitally-controlled kiln. Annealing is the process of 'soaking' glass at a high temperature, and cooling in a gradual and controlled way. This makes the bonds within the glass very stable, resulting in very strong pieces, which with care, will last centuries!

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