I love working with molten glass. It is a fascinating material. I was first
introduced to glass being used as an art form during the early 1980's at the School
of American Craftsman, Rochester
Institute of Technology. The art of glass blowing intrigues me because it is a
combination of science, art, and a sport, all of which I have a passion for.
The science of glass making includes the chemistry of the glass. Each color is
made with metal oxides, that when combined with a recipe of other compounds and
are melted together at 2200 degrees F they yield colored glass. Every color has
its own distinct properties. The cooling and heating rate vary according the
elements that they are comprised of.
The properties of physics that are involved to create blown glass include
centrifugal force and gravity which are used to twirl and shape the molten
glass. It is fun to play with the glass in a hot state. It is interesting to me
that even at room temperature glass always remains a liquid.
Glass blowing is like a sport where it is necessary to practice and acquire
skills to be able to complete your goal. The idea of creating vase or bowl with
multilayers of colorful glass that will be carved with wildlife nature scenes,
starts with choosing the palette. The next step is to cut the color bars into
wafers and heat them in an oven to 750 degrees F. They are then picked up at
the end of a 4 foot blow pipe. The glass is layered with molten 2100 degree F
clear glass and is balanced, swung, twirled, and rolled to shape into the
desired form. Once the piece is blown into its final shape, it is placed into
an oven that is 950 degrees F. It is then cooled gradually to room temperature
over 40 hours. The piece is then masked with a rubber material, that serves as
a canvas. I often draw animals in their natural settings, such as deer in the
woods, herons fishing on a stream, or an eagle flying over a body of water. The
design is then carved out with an exacto knife and then sandblasted. The
sandblasting removes layers of glass revealing the underlying color to form
foregrounds and backgrounds in the scenes.
I learned the technique of carving glass with a sandblaster at Mass. College of
Art, where I earned my Bachelor in Fine Arts. I was excited about this new
technique because I could incorporate my roots of drawing and painting with my
new love of glass blowing.
I have a collection of blown glass vases, bowls, paper weights, and sculptures
available at our Cazenovia Artisans Gallery.
When I returned to RIT, fusing blown glass to yield colorful jewelry became a
point of interest for me. Today I still create post and hanging glass earrings
that I complete with sterling silver. Barrettes, pins, and pendants are all
part of my jewelry line that can also be found at Cazenovia Artisans.
2013 - Merit award winner at the Memorial
Clothesline Festival, Rochester NY
2013 - Granted a third year as a Roycroft Artisan
Name: Shauna Walsh
Name of Business: Windwood Glass
Phone: 315-655-2225 (Cazenovia Artisans' phone)
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