I dearly miss those hot and sultry summers with five minute rainstorms in the afternoon that turn the streets into steaming ribbons of asphalt and bring rainbows all over the city. I especially love the bright colors of pastel madras clothing that, to me, are summers in New Orleans, where I was born. When I started working on cane pieces this winter, these memories were my biggest inspirations in my work. Patterns of lines in different colors are most easily produced by a complicated ancient Italian technique called cane work.
Cane refers to rods of glass with color that can be simple, containing a single color on the inside (core cane) or complex with strands of one or several colors in pattern. Veil cane is where you have a color on the outside over a clear core, or at times a core of another color. Pulling cane takes a lot of time, especially if you want different types of cane in many different colors.
My partner, Dana, and I spent a good bit of time this year pulling a lot of cane in many different colors. We would take a large a “gather” of colored or clear glass, heat it and shape it a number of times. For veil cane, we first make a “cup” of color, then stuffing it with a mass of clear glass. With a metal rod at each end, we would stretch the glass to a length of 30 to 50 feet. Once it is cooled, it is broken into pieces anywhere from 5 to 8 inches long. These pieces are carefully laid out on a kiln shelf and heated in the reheating furnace until fused, then rolled up on the end of a pipe. Finally we begin to blow glass! It is a long process but the outcome is amazing. With many colors and types of cane, the possibilities are endless, which you an see in the show Colorful!
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