If you love glass, the hardest moment in casting is when you whisper an apology to a pristine, bubble-free billet and then whack it with a sledgehammer. I make extra-big reservoirs just to avoid having to do it, so that the billets can fit intact into the mold. (Can you say “obsessed?”)
I always hope that what comes out of those molds justifies the slaughtering of all that gorgeous glass. Sometimes it does, sometimes…not. I just got the first photos of this batch, and I can happily state that at least SOME of those billets did not die in vain.
This is Riverflow (left). It’s roughly 24 inches long, about 5 inches tall, and maxes out at maybe 3.5 inches thick. It was cast directly from the clay model (and yeah, digging the clay out of the mold was a MAJOR pain in the glass). The top surface is optically polished, the sides are sandblasted and then hand-sanded back to a soft sheen.
It’s supposed to make you think of living, moving rivers, and it’s composed of just about every color of blue, green and purple that Gaffer makes in casting crystal. It weighs a bloody ton (but that lazy S shape turns out to be ideal for slinging over one shoulder and carrying in a fireman’s lift).
True to form, I couldn’t bear to break up those lovely Gaffer cabochons, so I rejiggered the mold reservoir and balanced them precariously on their edges at the top. I was a little worried about flow–would the colors move smoothly into a gradient fill?–but the Gaffer came through like a champ.
Also true to form, Riverflow contains 24 abstracted human forms and faces. They’re WAY less detailed than I usually make them because they were too distracting in the original model. That also means they’re less distinct, and no one’s so far found more than two. In fact, even though I made the bloody thing I can only find 18.
Sea Ripple (right) comes from Bullseye’s Green Tea glass, probably my third favorite (after Rhubarb and Burnt Scarlet Striker). This piece is smaller and thinner than others in this series (the BE blues and greens proved too dark for the thicker sculptures, so the transparent pieces needed to be kept pretty shallow to maximize light transmission).
There is a figure in this one (well, actually, it’s a hand), but nothing else, and it’s so impossible that I doubt anyone will ever find it. I just know it’s there, in my continuing and personal version of a “Where’s Waldo?” game.
Sea Ripple emerged from the mold with an absolutely perfect surface, no coldworking needed at all on the front. I asked Dan Woodward to optically polish the back and sides for maximum light transmission. I’m pretty happy with the way it came out. In fact, I’m playing with the idea of making a LOT of these, for one of the swankiest bathroom tile jobs in Portland…
Currents Breaking (left) turned out to be the weightiest of the three. it’s in Uroboros Cilantro, the lighter aquamarine, Electric Blue and an “uncat,” a product run of a warmish blue that didn’t meet Uro’s color standard but more than met mine. The piece is 32 pounds (if I’d done it in Gaffer lead crystal it would have weighed about 48 pounds, one good argument for soda-lime). It’s roughly 18 inches tall with a 10×10 footprint.
I was pleasantly surprised at the way the colors blended, and (now that I’m apparently hooked on blues and greens) will be trying this combo again. This is the one piece I didn’t cast myself. Hugh McKay, of Cast Glass Forms, took my finished wax, invested it, and fired it. I supervised the stack order of the billets (controlling what color goes where and how they mix), but Hugh pretty much did the rest, and returned a cleaned and lightly coldworked sculpture.
Wow. I could get used to that. Now all I have to do is figure out how to afford it.
(I can also say that having a pro like Paul Foster photograph your glass pays off, bigtime, and these photos prove it, but you’ve already heard that song.)
BTW… I was so late delivering my pieces to the gallery that we skipped photography; I later arranged with the gallery to remove a couple of pieces on Monday, when they were closed, and have them photographed then.
What’s interesting is that I bypassed my beloved pate de verre entirely and selected only the transparent stuff. Maybe that’s just the novelty of seeing through my glass for a change…or maybe this is the next step for me. Dunno yet, but it’s food for thought.