I am drawn to the contemplative space created by the luminous and translucent qualities of cast glass. The process of glass casting is similar to bronze casting yet more technically rigorous, laborious, and error prone. I use a combination of 'cire perdue' and 'pate de verre' techniques to realize my work. The original is carved in clay or wax and a rubber mold is made to replicate the sculpture in wax. A refractory firing mold is formed around the wax, the wax is melted out of the mold and the mold is cooled. Glass frits and powders are placed in the mold, then fired in a kiln to melt and fuse the glass particles together. As glass melts in the mold it seems to become an amorphous being with a mind of its own, which makes working this way challenging yet rewarding and mysterious. After annealing and cooling, the mold is carefully removed. The finishing process involves removing imperfections, carving, polishing, and acid etching. Each piece emerges one of a kind, born from raw materials and the alchemy of fire. The final touch is the signature.
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'Cire perdue' translated means 'lost wax casting'. This process involves melting glass frit to join the particles in a somewhat seamless way. The transparency depends on the glass composition and how long the glass is kept at different temperatures.
'Pate de Verre' translated means 'paste of glass'. This process involves mixing glass powders and frits with a binder and pressing the paste into the mold with tools. The transparency depends on the size and color composition of the frits. The glass is typically held at fuse temperatures for a very short time to create a sugary effect.
'Hot Cast Glass'. This process involves pouring hot glass into a mold from a ladle or crucible. Prior to the pouring, the glass is held at high temperature in a furnace to eliminate air bubbles which then yields the same high transparency as blown glass.
Dimensions in U.S Standard
Types of glass used
glass: Bullseye Glass
crystal: New Zealand Gaffer
hot cast: Spruce Pine
Commercial Cast Glass
Due to the laborious process of this type of work, there are only three commercial glass makers of lost wax cast glass in the world; DAUM (www.us.daum.fr), Lalique (www.lalique.com) and Liulu (http://www.liuli.com/en-us/). While Daum and Liuli use the lost wax technique almost exclusively, Lalique employs the hot cast method for many of its larger and more numerous limited edition productions which allows for a much quicker production cycle. Daum was acquired in 2009 by Financiere Saint-Germain who had already acquired 49% of Lalique during the economic downturn. Along with other luxury goods, the company hopes to create a brand that constitutes "a new luxury group in living art". Liuli is a Taiwan/Chinese corporation likely having a different labor model than its European competitors. I include this information to further educate the viewer about cast glass and pricing compared to blown glass which is much easier and less laborious to produce.
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