From mould-phobic to mould-enthusiast in 4 days

Well what can I say?? What a revelation it’s been this week – I spent a fantastic 4 days on a course at Creative Glass in Rochester, with the marvellous Marina Hanser (look up her work!!). The title of the course was ‘Hybrid Processes’ – it was a combination of techniques involving casting glass into hand built moulds and taking impressions using various every day objects and living entities… It was truly a revelation for me!

Now don’t get me wrong, I like to experiment, and I’m not averse to getting wet or making a huge mess, and I’m a magpie for tools and stuff. Plus, I’m all about process and I like nothing more than learning a new skill – but I have always shied away from mould-making and casting. Over the past few years however, I have noticed that the glass competitions I enter are always won by a piece of cast glass….. so I got to thinking that if you can’t beat ’em then you just have to bite the bullet and join ’em!

I was thrilled to discover therefore that I actually enjoyed the process of making my own unique moulds (just as well huh? the class wasn’t cheap!) The sad thing is that once your glass is cast (fired), you need to break the mould off the glass. This to me seems like such a waste, as they are not quick and simple to make and you will only ever be able to use it once. But maybe that’s the key to the allure of cast glass? Maybe knowing that there will only ever be one piece of glass like it IF it survives the casting, that it is therefore unique and individual – is this why judges love it, and people pay a lot of money for it? I think that is part of it, that, and the time and effort and electricity and materials and trial & error and mess and the need to wear a claustrophobic face mask and development of skills & knowledge and getting wet doing cold-working and the extortionate cost of cold-working equipment and praying to the kiln fairies and understanding the difference between a negative and a positive impression…… Yes I can appreciate the pedestal upon which casting is placed, now I’ve done some.

Here you can see a few pics of the process and how it comes out with still a lot of work needed to make it look like glass again! These two pieces were made in moulds taken of (top) scrunched up paper and (bottom) draped cloth – wonderful shapes and contours can be found in the simplest of familiar things x

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