Monday, 30 March 2009

More fun than sand castles!

On Saturday, I went to a glass blowing studio for a one day workshop in sand-casting. I did it about a year ago, and have been itching to have another go since.

Sand casting is where you use "green" sand (even though its sort of orange colour!), which is a special sand that holds its form, used for casting metals, and in this case glass (it would make pretty impressive sand castles too).

By pressing objects into a box of this sand, the impressions then create molds for pouring molten glass into. We used lead crystal, usually used for glass blowing, which is heated to 1200 C, so its glowing yellow.

The lead crystal gives beautiful clarity, you can add colour, but I decided to work will all clear this time.

The piece on the right relates to the work I am doing at University at the moment - I am looking at patterns that repeat in the inner body and the outer world, the microcosm and the macrocosm.

As part of the developing visual studies work, these cell-like patterns have emerged, and the pieces I have been working on connect to testing methods - so this was an idea to make a giant "petri dish".

Its about 8 inches across and 1 inch thick - the pattern and texture you can see are on the back of the piece, and the lead crystal is so clear that it shines through - it doesn't show up properly as I was too impatient to wait until morning to photograph it in daylight! I made four other pieces too, but I think this one is the best (some of the others have a lot of bubbles, and surface trails, which on their own are lovely, but not quite the effect I wanted for my project).

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