The making of glass is one of the most fascinating of the ancient arts. The transformation of glass seems almost magical, doesn’t it? It’s wonderful to examine a piece of glass art and be both mesmerized by its beauty, and curious about how it came into being.
There are many forms of glass work; one of these methods, called lampworking or flameworking, is described for us here by exhibitor Darlene Martin of Bijouxbead:
“The creation of my glass beads begins with glass rods that are melted in a 1700 degree natural gas and oxygen flame. The glass’ mineral content is what gives it colour (i.e., turquoise is glass infused with copper and pink is glass infused with gold). There is no paint or dye.
“After the glass bead has been formed with the torch, it is quickly moved to a digital kiln set at about 975 degrees. If it isn’t moved to a kiln, the pressure of the glass cooling more rapidly on the surface than in the interior will cause it to crack. This process of slowly bringing down the temperature in the kiln is called annealing. It is what gives the glass strength and structural integrity.
“Once the glass has returned to room temperature, it is removed from the stainless steel mandrel that it was built on and cleaned with a diamond bit reamer. Another diamond bit is then used to make sure the edges of the holes for stringing are even and not sharp. Polishing the glass is next, and during that process, it is thoroughly inspected for any cracks. The finished glass is then washed and dried and ready for assembly into jewellery pieces.”
We are lucky to have a wide variety of glass artists exhibiting at Artfest this summer. All of them have a unique way of working with the medium. Steven Woodruff and Claire Anderson team up to exhibit their blown glass. Claire has a flair for embellishing with intriguing silhouette illustrations on her work, while Steven is a master of traditional glass art and a technical expert. “My approach to making glass is to embrace the traditional techniques of glassblowing and other glass disciplines to create original objects inspired by the history of the media itself and of artistic theory. Glassblowing has taught me fundamental processes in creating objects of functionality, sculpture, art, and of fine craftsmanship.”
Glass artist Heather Wood blends tree symbolism with architectural style in stunning sculptures, wall art, large commissions and jewellery. Much of Heather’s work revolves around the image of the tree. Through various glass making techniques she explores trees as cultural symbols, which have acquired a variety of meaning over many centuries and in many places across the globe. Her studio is located in Elora, Ontario, where she works using a kiln to alter, fuse and slump glass. Using glass enamels she also paints and etches kiln-fired flat glass to create two and three-dimensional works. Heather’s commissions include the Ontario Arts Council, The Provincial Government of Ontario, Imax Corporation, the University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University and many other private and corporate commissions.
Over time, the creator of Glass By Jo, Jocelyne Brosseau, has mastered the demanding technical skills and precision required to make unique, fused glass artwork and jewellery. In her ‘Studio Cave’, she works with several kilns and with cold working equipment. Dynamic colour selection and graphic design define Jocelyne’s signature style. Look for contemporary home décor items, functional glassware, slumped wine bottles and jewellery.
Working in fused, lamp work and mosaic techniques, Liliano Botero of Destellos Glass studied and trained in Columbia and the United States before making her home in Canada in 2011.
We hope you’ll take the time to examine the work of our many talented glass artists and to ask them about their techniques. It’s a treat to have so many glass artists in sharing their work with us in Port Credit. Read more about the Port Credit artists in our Artfest Port Credit Showguide Magazine. Download here or pick one up at the local library, cafes, art stores or galleries.