Some of the processes I use to create bowls involve making design elements prior to creating the final design of the bowl.
I pull murrini, twisted cane, and ribbons in my vitrograph kiln. The vitrograph kiln is a small dimension kiln with a hole in the bottom. I stack glass in a clay pot; the arrangement of the glass in the pot is dependent on which outcome I am trying to achieve. When the glass has reached 1500-1700 degrees F., the glass flows out of the bottom of the pot in the configuration I have determined by the way I stack the glass.
Another way of making design elements is by creating pattern bars and flow bars in my regular kiln. I can stack glass in a precise formation to make pattern bars. I can also set up steel rods, stack the glass on top of the rods, heat to melting temperatures, and let the glass flow through the rods, creating internal patterns in the resulting “brick’ of glass. For both pattern bars and flow bars I take the cooled off “bricks” of glass and saw them into wafers with a tile saw to reveal the internal pattern and make useful sizes of glass that I lay up into the bowl designs.
The bowls are initially designed as flat circles of glass. The first firing fuses the design elements to a clear blank of glass. The next firing slumps the flat design into a bowl shape, either using a specific mold or slumping through a ring mold. I often sandbast the flat bowl designs to clean up the surface before the slump firing.
When the bowl comes out of the kiln and cools completely, I do the next stage of finishing, which is called coldworking. For some pieces I saw the rim off the bowl, then sand and polish the rim. I also sand and polish the rim in bowls that I do not saw.
I enjoy showing people the multiple processes that go into making my work when they visit my studio. Glass fusing is a much slower process than glass blowing but I think the results can be exciting and visually complex. The bowls and platters range in price from $250 to $2000 and up.