Tag Archives: Sarah Gilbert

Experiments in the Hot Shop with Bryan Kekst Brown

By Greg Owen, Manager of Audience Engagement and Hot Shop Heroes

Last week metals and jewelry artist Bryan Kekst Brown came to Museum of Glass with some very interesting projects. We began the week creating tanks for electro-forming metal. This was the first time that electrodes have been attached to glass at Museum of Glass, as far as I know. It provided a special challenge for the Team’s gaffer, Gabe Feenan, as the electrodes are encased in borosilicate glass, while ours is soda-lime glass. At first they didn’t want to stick together nicely, but Gabe persevered and made it work.

Things started heating up when Bryan decided to pour liquid metal into a cup of liquid glass. He began by melting strips of copper in a small crucible with an oxy-propane torch.

At the same time, Gabe made a cup of clear glass, and the Team’s starter, Sarah Gilbert, used the gathering ball to pull some liquid glass from the furnace. In quick succession, Gabe broke the cup off and placed it on the table, Sarah dumped her gathers in, and then Bryan poured the liquid metal inside. It was very exciting!

Next, Bryan began melting ingots of silver in the same manner, and the Team repeated the process. It was very interesting to see how the metals behaved in a bath of liquid glass.

We found this so interesting because copper and silver are common colorants for metal. Copper is known to make ruby, green, and blue glasses. Once the piece cooled down, we were happy to see that there was a lovely cloud of copper blue, where the metal had slid by the glass, and a big pile of copper at the bottom of the cup.

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Silver is known to make yellow glass and shades of blue as well. The first attempt resulted in shattered glass around the silver, but the second attempt was successful, and left a wonderful bit of opaque blue as a record of what happened.

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I look forward to seeing Bryan’s experiments in the future. If you would like to see more of his work, check out his website http://www.bryankekstbrown.com/. He will be posting images from his residency over the next few weeks.

Greg Owen is the Manager of Audience Engagement and Hot Shop Heroes at Museum of Glass. Greg can be seen working the mic as the Hot Shop studio emcee, assisting Visiting Artists, and teaching soldiers how to blow glass during Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire classes. 

Making Treasure-trove

By Katie Phelps, Curatorial Assistant and Visiting Artist Coordinator

Our upcoming exhibition Into the Deep takes a look at glass artists who are inspired by the ocean. Glass is an incredible medium, and it allows artists to capture the effects of being underwater better than any other artistic medium.

Last November, artists Kelly O’Dell and Raven Skyriver collaborated on a series of barnacle-encrusted shells, which will be featured in the exhibition, in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop. The complex process is a great example how versatile the medium of glass can be.

The stripes on the clamshell begin as flattened pieces of cane (colored glass) which are heated until they are hot enough to stick together. Here, Nick Davis, MOG’s Hot Shop Tech, is squeezing the hot pieces of cane together so they form a flat panel.

The stripes on the clamshell begin as flattened pieces of cane (colored glass) which are heated until they are hot enough to stick together. Here, Nick Davis, MOG’s Hot Shop Tech, is squeezing the hot pieces of cane together so they form a flat panel.

Next, artist Raven Skyriver picks up the stripes of cane using a piece of hot, clear glass shaped like a plunger. The hot clear glass sticks to the flat panel of cane, and forms a half dome shape. The clear appendage will be used to shape the flat stripes of color into a bubble.

Next, artist Raven Skyriver picks up the stripes of cane using a piece of hot, clear glass shaped like a plunger. The hot clear glass sticks to the flat panel of cane, and forms a half dome shape. The clear appendage will be used to shape the flat stripes of color into a bubble.

After the flattened cane is picked up onto the plunger, Skyriver uses a pair of shears to trim away the excess glass along the edge of the circle created by the plunger, sealing it into a clear glass dome with a colorful, striped base.

After the flattened cane is picked up onto the plunger, Skyriver uses a pair of shears to trim away the excess glass along the edge of the circle created by the plunger, sealing it into a clear glass dome with a colorful, striped base.

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The newly-formed dome is heated in the glory hole, and then rolled across a steel table called a marver to create a smooth bubble that is half clear glass, and half colored cane stripes.

The newly-formed dome is heated in the glory hole, and then rolled across a steel table, called a marver,  to create a smooth bubble that is half clear glass, and half colored cane stripes.

In order to start making the clam shape, the colored stripes need to be removed from their clear glass holder. The stripe canes are pinched inward to form their own bubble, and then connected to another blowpipe, so that they can be separated from the clear glass, and blown into a clamshell shape.

In order to start making the clam shape, the colored stripes need to be removed from their clear glass holder. The stripe canes are pinched inward to form their own bubble, and then connected to another blowpipe, so that they can be separated from the clear glass, and blown into a clamshell shape.

Tah-dah! After about 45 minutes of adding more clear molten glass, inflating the bubble by breathing into the blowpipe, and carefully sculpting the shape with tools, the bubble is beginning to look more like a clamshell. You can see the stripes from the cane, which have stretched and curved as the glass has been shaped.

Tah-dah! After about 45 minutes of adding more clear molten glass, inflating the bubble by exhaling into the blowpipe, and carefully sculpting the shape with tools, the bubble is beginning to look more like a clamshell. You can see the stripes from the cane, which have stretched and curved as the glass has been shaped.

Hot Shop Team member Sarah Gilbert transfers the piece from the bench, where the artists are working, to the gloryhole for it to be heated back up to above 900 degrees Fahrenheit. This is important to keep the glass from cooling too quickly and cracking.

Hot Shop Team member Sarah Gilbert transfers the piece from the bench, where the artists are working, to the gloryhole for it to be heated back up to above 900 degrees Fahrenheit. This is important to keep the glass from cooling too quickly and cracking.

After the artists are satisfied with the shape of the clamshell, it is time to attach the barnacles. These fabulous acorn barnacles are also made of glass. They were created ahead of time by Kelly O’Dell, and in then placed in a furnace in the Hot Shop called the garage – named because pieces are heated to 900 degrees and “parked” at that temperature until they are ready to be used.

After the artists are satisfied with the shape of the clamshell, it is time to attach the barnacles. These fabulous acorn barnacles are also made of glass. They were created ahead of time by Kelly O’Dell, and in then placed in a furnace in the Hot Shop calls the garage – named because pieces are heated to 900 degrees and “parked” at that temperature until they are ready to be used.

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Just before the barnacles are placed on the clamshell, they are loaded onto a pastorale (a flat, metal tray) and heated in the gloryhole to make them the same temperature as the shell.

Kelly O’Dell attaches a heated barnacle to the clamshell using a pair of tweezers. A torch is being used to keep the rest of the glass at the same temperature. Kelly also has a torch which she is using to heat the bottom of the barnacle so the hot glass can stick to the surface of the clamshell.

Kelly O’Dell attaches a heated barnacle to the clamshell using a pair of tweezers. A torch is being used to keep the rest of the glass at the same temperature. Kelly also has a torch which she is using to heat the bottom of the barnacle so the hot glass can stick to the surface of the clamshell.

After the barnacles are applied the whole piece is heated back up in the gloryhole.

After the barnacles are applied, the whole piece is heated back up in the gloryhole.

Now that all of the barnacles have been placed on the shell, the piece is complete. Water is dripped onto the end of the piece, which causes a crack to form where the piece meets the punty (the metal rod it is connected to) and allows the piece to be broken off of the pipe.

Now that all of the barnacles have been placed on the shell, the piece is complete. Water is dripped onto the end of the piece, which causes a crack to form where the piece meets the punty (the metal rod it is connected to) and allows the piece to be broken off of the pipe.

Success! The finished piece is rushed to an annealer, so that it can be cooled slowly overnight to room temperature.

Success! The finished piece is rushed to an annealer, so that it can be cooled slowly overnight to room temperature.

Kelly O’Dell (American, born 1973) and Raven Skyriver (American, born 1982); Treasure-trove, 2016; Blown and sculpted glass; 12 x 16 x 13 inches (30.5 x 40.6 x 33 cm); Courtesy of the artists; Photo by Kp Studios.

After the piece is completely cooled, it is coldworked to add texture to the surface of the shell, and a mount is made. Photo credit: Kelly O’Dell (American, born 1973) and Raven Skyriver (American, born 1982); Treasure-trove, 2016; Blown and sculpted glass; 12 x 16 x 13 inches (30.5 x 40.6 x 33 cm); Courtesy of the artists; Photo by Kp Studios.

The finished piece, Treasure-trove, will be one of the many ocean-inspired pieces featured in Into the Deep. The exhibition opens September 24, 2016. Come check it out!

Thanks to Alex Grümmer for the awesome Hot Shop photos!

Katie Phelps is the Curatorial Assistant/Visiting Artist Coordinator at Museum of Glass. She is an alumnus of Whitman College (BA) and University of Washington (MA). In her life outside of the Museum she is outside as much as possible, wearing skis as often as she does hiking boots.   

Lino, Lino, Lino!

By Greg Owen, Manager of Audience Engagement and Hot Shop Heroes

Lino Tagliapietra is in town and Museum of Glass is hopping! Lino actually arrived last week and prepared for his residency by making parts. Lino, Jennifer Elek, Erich Woll, and our own Museum of Glass Hot Shop Team of Benjamin Cobb, Gabe Feenan, and Sarah Gilbert, worked together to pull hundreds of feet of cane, which will be used to create the expressive lines in Lino’s pieces this week.

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Then, they picked up bundles of cane and made it into various other canes and murrine. Some of the parts were made into long, narrow bubbles, which were then cut apart into smaller sections.

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All of these parts will be recombined over the next two weeks. First thing Wednesday morning, Lino laid out patterns of murrine onto a slab of ceramic kiln shelf.

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Murrine is the name for small tiles of glass, often with intricate patterns encased inside. Murrine is made by bundling canes together with wire, and then heating them up again and pulling them into more cane, sometimes with a square profile.

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Erich Woll is an expert at making these murrine, and he makes nearly all of the murrine that Lino uses.

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Once the murrine has been stretched out long and cooled, it is chopped into smaller sections and laid out on a kiln shelf (like the one in the photo above). The entire set up is then reheated and squeezed together. Jennifer Elek is responsible for blending all of those small parts together into a flat disk, which is then picked up on a clear, glass bubble.

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Once the piece gets picked up on a clear collar, it is formed into a round bubble and handed off to Lino to work his magic.

To see what Lino makes, tune into the Museum of Glass live feed from 9 am to 3:30 pm, Wednesday through Sunday during the next two weeks.

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Greg Owen is the Manager of Audience Engagement and Hot Shop Heroes at Museum of Glass. Greg can be seen working the mic as the Hot Shop studio emcee, assisting Visiting Artists, and teaching soldiers how to blow glass during Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire classes.