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Crackle Glass Pyramid Bowls

Paul Willsea and Carol O'Brien create fine glass objects in their workshop.

Paul Willsea and Carol O'Brien are a husband-and-wife team who create fine glass works in their workshop alongside a flourishing trout stream. Here, they craft striking classic contemporary bowls and vases by actually fusing blown glass and cast glass together. Their stunning works take form in funnel shapes, metric shapes, and infinity symbols. Many have a rippled appearance, crackle effects, and silver or gold stems or bases. They are utterly delightlful!

Although glassworking is an ancient art, what makes Paul and Carol’s techniques so unique is how they are interpreted, applied and combined. To make a crackle pyramid bowl, they must first cast a glass pyramid for the foot of the bowl and then apply silver or gold leaf. It is then put in the oven to maintain its heat. In the meantime, clear glass is gathered on a blow pipe and a bubble is started by blowing into the pipe. Glass color is picked up and then dropped onto the bubble. It is shaped and moved around so that the density is what they are trying to achieve.

It becomes very intense at this point, as the piece of glass is constantly spinning, being reheated and shaped. To get the glass to do what they want, they have to constantly work with its thickness and be in sync with the heat. As more clear glass is gathered over the color, it continues to be shaped, cooled, and reheated some more. More air is then blown into the bubble, and the bubble is rolled in fritted glass (small chunks), which adds even more color. It is then dipped in water, which creates a crackled effect on the outside of the bowl. Even more air is then blown in to expand the bubble. A crease must then be put into the glass so that it will come off the pipe. Then the pyramid is picked up on a solid rod, and the bubble and the base are brought together and joined as one. The bubble is broken off the pipe, transferring it to the base and solid rod. From here the bubble is opened up and shaped into a beautiful bowl. Inspired by architecture, nature, the effects of time, and the glass itself, Paul and Carol create elegant and refined works of art.

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