Following my two day 1:1 studio course I did in 2013 with the wonderful artist David Mitchell in Cambridge I have been super keen to continue working with glass. As Cambridge isn’t exactly next door, I needed to find a college, studio or individual that would help me learn more, guide me (a little bit) and help me fire and coldwork pieces in their kiln and studio. Of course I was happy to pay but I couldn’t find anyone or anywhere! Many many hours of searching, stalking artists, posting on art forums and generally making a nuisance of myself and two year’s later, I found somewhere that I can go to make more glass ‘stuff’. I didn’t exactly sit and wait for it though. I invested in some glass, glass cutting boards, goggles and cutters and practiced cutting pieces of glass in my shed.
It has been a frustrating two years and I thought I’d end up with a shed full of cut pieces of glass and yet nothing finished…
.. until now!
Richmond Adult Community College have added a new art wing to their College in Richmond. They were apparently previously in a Nissan hut in Twickenham but clearly at that time without much awareness about publicising their classes as I didn’t find them in my many many page searches of Google!
So I’ve signed up to three courses and already started two of them.
Cast a Glass Vessel (short course) – Learn how to make a model in wax to be cast in glass
• To create a refractory mould for glass casting
• Using wax to creating textures and patterns
• You will gain basic techniques in finishing your cast glass
This is a piece that I’ve made so far.
I quite love the way it is “just a vessel”. It doesn’t have a purpose nor does it stand up or be level (deliberately!). I adore the mottling of purples with a slight hint of blue within. It’s far from perfect but I did it! I think it’s done but I may just put a hole in the bottom and fit it with a small light… I’m thinking about it.
Next up is a larger vessel that I’ve already created in wax and have a couple of weeks to finish the carving, then cast it in plaster and then into glass. I’ve several ideas floating around in my head for a design and I’m excited to see what I finally decide to do.
Studio Glass (16 week course) – A practical introduction to kiln formed studio glass, covering the ancient techniques of fusing, slumping, open-mould and lost wax casting. You will be set short projects and encouraged to adopt an experimental approach. You will be taught through demonstration, group and individual instruction and you will learn from hands on experience. You will discover the potential of the medium through looking at both contemporary and historical works
The story so far:
Top left – practice cuts in glass to get circles, straight lines and shapes.
Top right – after first firing to fuse the glass together
Bottom – We created ‘cut-out’ shapes and prepared them for a ‘drop’ in the next firing. This picture was taken as we ‘collectively’ chose it was time to stop the firing process and cool down the kiln pieces. Hopefully we stopped it in time so that none of the pieces continued for the glass to melt and drop further. Also it’s quite an art (thank heavens for Sally, our technician) to bring the glass down in temperature in such a way that it doesn’t crack. Next week we’ll see the pieces out of the kiln and having returned to their final colour. Fingers crossed. I think I’d like to finish my piece by finishing off the edges and then mounting it onto a melted glass piece stand. We’ll see!
Glass Casting (short course) – A practical and intense introduction to casting glass using the lost wax and open casting process. You will be taught how to model wax, make refractory moulds and prepare your glass for casting in the kiln. You will be set a short project and encouraged to adopt an experimental approach. You will be taught through demonstration, group and individual instruction and you will learn from hands on experience. You will discover the potential of the medium through looking at both contemporary and historical works.
Not started yet!
I’m so enjoying working with glass. Once again I realise that I can be totally absorbed by this medium. It’s unpredictability as to how it will fuse, slump or drop gives me a sense of excitement and thrill as to what it will become when the pieces I’ve chosen and placed take on a new form. Honestly I can’t believe how quickly each class session flies by.