Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Glass and Torch Pics

Pics of some glass and my new torch!!!

My torch is awesome!!!!!!

My torch on the gas-saving pilot light stand (yeah, I need to paint it)

And some glass from Wednesday:

My first attempt at a kuttrolf - it gurgles very nicely. A bit funky, but a good start!

A cone beaker

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kuttrolf Attempt #1

I haven't posted in a bit partially because my camera is having issues, and I like to post with pictures. Sigh. So for now, now pretty pictures. Last week we got my Uber Torch of Doom up and running. It might not be medieval, but it sure is neat! Last week I experimented with glass sculpture (which ended up on the floor) and a vase (which also ended up on the floor). Today I had a much more successful and more medieval glass blowing session. I made a birka style funnel beaker in jade green with a cirillian lip wrap. I also took my first shot at making a kuttrolf, and I think it turned out pretty well. I did two tubes (basically just creasing the long neck down the center) which I twisted. It looks like they actually pinch the glass when doing four tubes, and I'm wondering if that's done with normal tweezers or what - I'll have to experiment with it next week. We shut the furnace down for the week in order to do some repairs and save the power bill, but will probably be blowing glass again next Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Early Finnish Glass Research

I've been researching glass in order to find something appropriate to trade to Helga, who has a Saami/Laplander persona. She said anything that was Finnish, 1500's or later would work. I couldn't find any mention of Finnish glass, and apparently the reason for this is that there wasn't any specifically Finnish glass that we are aware of before 1681. I found an article in the Journal of Glass Studies titled, "The Early Finnish Glass Industry," by Jacob Seela. Here is what he had to say about the earliest work there in a nutshell:

The first glasshouse was opened in 1681 by Gustaf Jung in Nystad (Uusikaupunki), a small town about forty miles north-west of the then capital, Abo (Turku). Four years later the glasshouse closed, and a devastating fire leveled the town the same year; the works never reopened. No glass was made in Finnland for the next seventy years.
-JoGS, vol XVI, pg 57

Well then. Apparently Jung had visited continental glass factories and worked at his father's glasshouse in Stockholm. His three Swedish blowers tried to imitate Venetian techniques. There were apparently glass objects in Finland before this due to trade, but they were rare imported goods. So, what would be most likely to be imported? I'm going to look into Swedish glass first. Otherwise I'll look at the big glass production areas in Europe. By the Renaissance the German glasshouses were starting to gain in popularity and they are certainly closer geographically. But Venetian glass had supremacy and cachet during the Renaissance, so perhaps doing something in a Venetian style would be most appropriate for an imported luxury good. I could go back into my book that has examples from the town records of Murano discussing the many places to which they exported glass...

Not All Medieval Glass

Well, as you might have figure out, this isn't all medieval glass despite what the title says. In truth, I'm using the blog as a place to record and share most of my arts and crafts related activities, and since I'm active as a modern glassblower and sculptor you get to be exposed to current work of all sorts. I would change my blog title, but I really like, "Medieval Glass." Maybe I'll simply expand it...
I took a class from Karen Willenbrink-Johnson at the Eugene Glass school during November and promptly came home and started making bird skulls. Here are two of the ones I made in December:

Monday, February 2, 2009

An article about my sculpture!

I just got my copy of the now bi-monthly Pacific Northwest Sculptors newsletter, "dimensions," and I am one of the featured artists!

Another Kuttrolf!

Kuttrolf from London, probably 15th century , V and A,from Medieval glass vessels found in England c AD 1200 - 1500 by Rachel Tyson.

I really like this one. Nice shape, and the trails are fun.