Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Electric Sheep Shears make a Great Glass Tool

If you're into DIY projects or have a real curiosity about how things are made you will be fascinated to know that these pieces pictured have been made using a pair of elecrified sheep shears! The "Olana" series that resulted by our collaboration with Wayne Husted. Here is how the pieces were made:

Once the 'bubble', a very large heavy one in this case, is formed into a melon shape it is 'puntied" up on a finishing rod. The piece is returned to the heat and instead of trimming the lip as you would to get a regular lip, two deep cuts are made with the electric shears at 180 degrees. This motion is sort of pit bull-like as the glass is much colder closer to its base near the attachment of the finishing rod.
Grrrrrrhhhh!!! The electric shears go at the glass down the side of the emerging vessel! Unbalanced now, the whole thing is returned to the heat and the edges where it is cut (about 1/2 inch thick now) get fire polished. To complete this piece the glass maker has to wrestle the hot moving unbalanced form onto center and gently expand the shape.
What results is this: as the vessel emerges from the heat every time the rotation of the pipe expands the form a little. Like the making of a platter, the last step is an extra long heating and vigorous spinning. Olanas are an especially challenging series to make. Nourot Glass has no other kind of work that is so asymetrical and organic in shape. The soft "butterflied" form is sensuous and great to feel all around with your hands. They also function well for serving when the center vein is flat and not too dimensional. Nourot says Olana is a 'soft" form although the Olana is thick and heavy; more so than a tall "LS" vase by Micheal Nourot, for instance. The Olana Series is made in "Scarlet Nova", Cobalt, and California Gold among other patterns. It could actually be done in any colors, but the "Scarlet Nova without any opaque inner layer is the most stunning.

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