Part skill, part luck and pure magic June 07 2015
Do you have childhood memories of lying on your back studying the clouds – discovering animals and angels and cars and flowers and all sorts of mythical creatures.
My screen melts remind me of such times. The colours, the shapes, the swirls reveal birds, fish, angels, people, animals, flowers – delights only you and your imagination can find.
Here is how the magic happens.
I start by arranging carefully chosen pieces of coloured glass on a high-temperature screen.
Next I place the screen full of glass above the kiln shelf on posts and rods.
I program the kiln to fire the glass using a schedule of varying temperatures and times, in order to liquify the glass enough to drip through the screen. The result is a rich puddle of mixed colour on the kiln shelf below. Magic happens. Colours blend. Shapes emerge.
When the kiln cools, the puddle is solid, and ready to be cleaned.
The glass puddle is trimmed to fit the mold in which it will be slumped. At this point I may add more glass.
The piece is then fired to round out all the edges. I may fuse a third time to get the finish I want. Each time I add more glass or make any other change, the piece spends another 24 hours in the kiln.
Once the glass looks perfect, the flat piece is set on a mold, making sure it is level in the kiln, and fired one last time, slumping and taking on the shape of the mold.
I say one last time - but sometimes I am dissatisfied with the slumped result. Back into the kiln it goes, to be rendered flat once again. I make more changes in the design and repeat the entire process until I am satisfied. A single piece can be in the kiln anywhere from 3 to 7 or 8 days.
The most exciting part of the whole process for me is examining the finished piece from every angle, the hidden scenes and pictures now revealed.
In addition to all the other things I see in this piece, I see peacock feathers. I am partial to peacock feathers because my grandmother often told stories about a pet peacock she had as a girl growing up.
I love these screen melt pieces because they are part skill, part luck and pure magic.
You can see my peacock feather bowl here.
Check out other Glass by Charis pieces here.
You can see my paintings here.
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