24 July 2008

studio: mold making

this week we worked on making our first prototypes of a vase with the following guidelines: no higher then 16cm (the same dimensions that companies report the best sales records - perfect gift size), commercially manufacturable, perfectly symmetrical, and could easily be shaped using a mold.

molds, which you use by blowing the glass bubble inside and rotating the pipe so that the glass takes the form, can be made of metal (aluminum), graphite, wood, and even plaster. the glass industry uses metal molds which can be heated and have a very long life span but since we'll make just a few we used plaster.

for the first prototype decided to pursue this apple core shape. the angles/corners are exaggerated but when the glass gets blown in the form it retains much softer curves. once i decided on the silhouette i made a stencil which would attache to a spinning wheel and carve the plaster to create the negative mold.

i will not hide the fact that the process took many attempts. you have very little time to sculpt on the wheel before the plaster sets + its common to have your from detach from the wheel as it spins (!)

the process gets super messy - and brought memories of this past year in the plaster room at Pratt

success - which also came with a lollipop from the technician

a coat of shillac on the negative in order to create the positive mold

the final plaster mold with drilled holes to allow the steam to escape when the glass is being blown inside
our mold teacher, Anders, showed us a cool trick to separate the two parts of the mold... you rest a sting before you pour the plaster along the parting line and just before the plaster sets you pull it up

so stay tuned for the results...

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this week we also started to think about colour... love this combination

i just put this little assortment in the kiln last night - testing to see the reaction of what these slats of coloured glass will do if they are vertically melted?!

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