Sunday, October 23, 2016


So this past week I had the opportunity to study at Arrowmont and take a workshop with Dean Allison on casting glass. Deans work focuses on the figure, so we explored mold making and took molds of various body parts (hands, feet, elbows), in addition to the technical aspect of creating an invested mold for casting glass. I think it's important to constantly expand my knowledge (if you don't already know this), so I have more techniques at hand to grow and evolve my work. Naturally working with enamel, glass fused to metal, led me to the next thing, casting glass, which also shares similar aspects with lost wax casting of jewelry (I like finding aspects of various forms of making that overlap).

Before the workshop started, I wanted to prepare a couple of waxes, so I could have an idea of how something smaller sized would come out/translate into my work. I used jewelers wax to create the pieces below.
So these are pretty small. Like around 1.25" to that tiny one on the end. 


First we learned about using silicone to create molds (low right is making the silicone mold of my foot, upper right is the reenforcing cast in plaster, and the right is the wax that was created from the mold)

That wax was used to create this invested mold, and the wax was then removed, so glass can be cast in its place

Glass fit that I used for my first casting
(Mostly) finished foot on the left, the wax model before casting on the right

Filled for casting! These were my color samples. I cast multiples of a bottle opener to do color testing. No surprise, I'm not a fan of working with color or transparent colors. 
These were my favorites - I'm glad I did this so I have a starting point for incorporating glass into my current work.

Not totally related - but look at these beautiful enameling kilns!! (I'm teaching enameling Fall next year at Arrowmont)

Investment mold of my small waxes - wax removed and ready to cast glass

Here are the pieces after cold working! I had to do a little reshaping. I learn a lot from these samples. 

Ideas of where, ideally, I'd like to take these pieces. Some things I'd like to try include learning to enamel on glass, using gold and silver foils in the glass, and exploring how to use/translate my images to the glass.  I love how elegant glass is. Took obnoxiously detailed notes, so when I finally get set up for it I'll be totally ready to go.

I really enjoyed that the glass studio is right next the jewelry studio! Stacey Lane was teaching lost wax casting, assisted by the lovely Anna Johnson, and it was really neat to see how Stacey approaches working with wax and what her students were creating. There was a studio stroll night that was pretty cool, where we could see what everyone was working on in the various studios and slides almost every night to learn about everyones work. I also treated myself to a pair of Maia Leppo earrings, the resident artist in metals there.

The class was great - we covered a ton of info including info on creating our own investment, firing schedules, and how to problem solve a lot of situations when making work. It was exciting to see everyone working in their own aesthetics while learning the technique. It was a fun group of people! Dean is teaching an 8 week intensive at Penland this Spring, check it out if you're interested in learning more about glass!

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