Glass Millefiori Vase
Scott Kempton mixes techniques with hot glass to create dynamic vases.
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Scott Kempton loves working with glass so much that he’s done just about everything you can do with it. His passion lies in creating beautiful art pieces by mixing techniques with hot glass. His recent work is on dynamic vases called circay millay, which combines making millefiori canes with blowing techniques.
Kempton begins by pre-making the millefiori canes, which is an involved process that requires some help from an assistant. He builds on different colored sections of hot glass until he has a pattern, and it is about the size of a coffee can. The process of making glass millefiori canes is very similar to doing it with polymer clay--but much, much hotter. Once the basic design is achieved, the cane is heated and pulled, which is when an extra pair of hands really comes in handy. This relatively small amount of glass can be pulled into a cane that is several feet long. The cane is then sliced into small pieces, which will in turn be incorporated into the vase later.
To begin the vase, Kempton goes to the furnace and picks up his first color of glass on the pipe, which will serve as the center during the process. Second and third layers of clear and colored glass are added respectively. At this point the molten glass is in a ball shape approximately three inches in diameter. Sections of dichroic glass are laid out in a hot box, and the molten ball is rolled over top to pick them up. Everything goes back into the furnace to re-heat and mesh the glass together. A small piece of a solid-colored glass cane is heated up and drizzled over the ball, creating a ribbon-like effect in the design. The slices of millefiori are now laid out in a pattern in the hot box, and again the molten glass is rolled over to pick them up. This is then carefully heated to make sure the millefioris are joining the glass well, without loosing their design.
Once all this is accomplished, one last layer of clear glass is added to smooth out the piece, and the blowing begins. This is a process of blowing on the pipe and rolling the glass until the piece is the right size. The vase is then knocked of, the lip is refined, and the piece is put in the annealer for cooling. When the vase is fully cooled, several days later, it is a remarkably bright and vivid piece with several elements to its final design.