Glass on Fire
There is still some mystery shrouding the intentional making of glass by humans. It could have been as early as 3000 BCE that some “woman” decided she liked some bit of naturally or accidentally formed glass and began to experiment with fire and sand. I say “woman” because I happen to be one, and one who happens to also love glass and fire! Its all about the smooth and shiny, transparent color and sparkle of glass that mesmerizes people, especially women. I don’t claim to know if there is any scientific evidence that points to a special relationship between women and glass but anecdotally, I can testify that this is certainly true for me. Therefore, I generalize. I like to categorize men who have been so struck and taken by the sensuous nature of glass as being “unique” and “enlightened” and thus, welcome to the club.
How many ways do I love glass? Let me count the ways… It all began when I planned to become a potter but was introduced to a stained glass artist named Elizabeth Grafton, and saw her large installations of dalle de verre windows! I could not take my eyes off of that color, texture and sparkle! The glass addiction began to work on me and transformed the potter into a stained glass artist. The only thing I missed in this new artistic emergence was firing the kiln and letting Vulcan do his handiwork. There is a real thrill in opening a kiln and discovering the offspring of glass and fire, Vulcan’s children.
A few years ago, my studio acquired a large kiln with the intention of using the kiln for glass painting. Then I decided to experiment with the properties of mixing glass and heat to see what would happen. Like that first “woman” from so many millennia ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I started with a pot melt, which was a failure and I ended up with ugly crumbled bits of glass and globs that resembled green vomit. I tossed it. But…It had melted! Later, with better research under my belt, I tried again. The very controlled firing of a glowing red hot kiln containing some cut bits of dichroic glass yielded success! From the belly of the kiln, still warm from volcanic ecstasy, came the treasure. Cabochons! Fully fused, brightly colored, smooth and sparkling, they were born, one by one, admired and petted, into the light! It was so delightful to discover the fire of Vulcan still inside them. Glass on fire!