I find myself constantly amazed with how chemistry works in glass. Gold chloride, manganese, cobalt, copper and iron oxides are all used to create specific colors in glass. Unfortunately most of my favorite colors are high in silver and gold compounds, which have become more and more expensive. Silver blue or a gold ruby color is just so beautiful! As a glassblower, my process is backwards – I think “color before form” which sometimes can be the kiss of death in glass. Different colors of glass have very different working temperatures – some colors are very soft and fluid when at working temperature and others can be stiff at the same temperature. That said, combining many colors with high silver and gold elements that don’t play together well are the theme for my featured artist show. I find that the results can be astounding. A metallic sheen can result on some of the colors. Many of the pieces remind me of different stones, like jasper, malachite or Lapis lazuli. Others look like visions from the Hubble Telescope of stars, dust and gasses in outer space.
In another group of pieces I was looking to reproduce the effect of colors in bird feathers. In many birds, reflecting, refracting or scattering the light wavelengths from the different layers in the feathers produces bright colors. I layered opaque and transparent colors and added a darker line for definition. Once all of the colors were in place I inserted the entire molten blob into an optic mold to give further definition to the lines and I finally blew and formed the piece.