Saturday, March 14, 2009
Cast Glass Panels
This is the fifth project my wife, Catharine, and I have worked on together. She is a glass artist, by way of a couple of decades hand-building porcelain sculpture. She has been casting glass panels for my doors and I haven't been this excited about anything in a long time. Catharine starts out making an exact replica of the panels in clay. The pieces are thick and chunky and contain designs in relief. A panel can range from 3/8" thick to 1" or more. From these original pieces she makes a plaster mold into which she can arrange glass powders of different color and opacity and then adds larger chunks of casting glass to fill out the background. They get fired and annealed and any final adjustments in size can be made by grinding and polishing. The end result is a panel that does not resemble anything else. It doesn't look like stained or leaded glass. There is a frosted quality to the surface and a marvelous optical quality. The edges of the raised areas refract light beautifully.