Sunday, 8 July 2007


When I'm setting up a new painting I always try to make a model of the ideas I have in mind. Most of the time these models are rather simple shapes made from clay, foam or card board. While working on my bamboo painting I decided to take it a bit further and create a sculpture based on the same design. For the bamboo shoots I wanted to use brightly coloured glass 'growing' out of a bronze base.
Fortunately one of the world's top glass factories is located in New Zealand and they have an exciting range of casting materials. Unfortunately glass is quite a difficult material to work with. It has taken me months of testing to figure out the whole process and get the desired effect. I start with making a ceramic 'mother' model from which I take plaster moulds. Next I fill these moulds with glass frit which are heated to 800°C in my wee little kiln. This melts the small bits of glass into one big piece of crystal. After cooling I remove the mould material and finish the rough castings by polishing and partly sandblasting them. Each sculpture will require about 70 individual pieces so there's quite a bit of manual labour involved.
The pictures show some of the different colours and finishes and the way they reflect incoming light. Imagine dozens of those bright shiny crystals! For now I have to finish the bronze base of the sculpture though...

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