Make a Feathered Glass Sculpture

Discover a unique take on glass feathering — encasing the colors inside (instead of outside) a glass sculpture.

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Glass artist Michael Rozell of Columbus, Ohio, demonstrates how to give glass feathering, a traditional Roman technique, a modern spin – he encases the pulls of color inside his glass sculptures. Basic glassblowing techniques, knowledge and tools are necessary for this project.

Materials Needed:

  • clear glass
  • dichroic glass
  • blowpipe
  • wet cherry block
  • punty rods
  • annealing oven
  • glory hole furnace
  • jacks
  • wet newspaper
  • marver table
  • large tweezers
  • Kevlar gloves
  • high-grade insulation (Fiberfrax)
  • face shield
  • heavy piece of wood
  • metal flat-wheel grinding machine
  • diamond-embedded magnetic pads
  • cerium (silvery metallic element)
  • water

Steps:

1. Gather 2150 degree F glass onto a blowpipe. Shape the glass with a wet cherry wood block. Repeat for consecutive gathers (Image 1).

2. Blow a small bubble and then apply preheated dichroic glass. Roll the hot bubble over it as it sits on a metal hot plate heated by a blowtorch (Image 2).

3. Heat this in a glory hole (a ceramic-and-metal barrel heated to 2000 degrees F) and blow out large and thin. When reheated, the bubble will collapse on itself, crumpling like paper. As this cools, gather more glass over the surface. All of the ridges and dimples of the crumpled bubble will trap dramatic air bubbles.

4. Add a jack line by squeezing down on the glass where it meets the blowpipe with a jack tool. (A jack tool is roughly 9-inches long, with two flat blades that align opposite each other.) Squeeze the glass between these blades to create a waist (jack line).

5. On a separate metal rod called a punty, gather a small amount of glass and attach to the bottom of the first piece. The blowpipe and punty form a straight line with the glass between them.

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