Saturday, April 30, 2011

Finding the Courage to Create Soft Glass Sculpture

This spring I redoubled my pursuit of soft glass sculpture, convinced that cooler flame of my Hothead was holding me back.  So, I ordered a Carlisle Lucio torch through the Fire Lady website (who also offers a payment/layaway plan for torches for those who long to finally own that dream torch), and all the hardware, and waited with bated breath as Carlisle machine works built my new torch. 
But, while I awaited the arrival of my new baby so I could miraculously sculpt with 104 COE Italian glass, I finally tracked down what I was looking for all along… a solid DVD by a soft glass genius, teaching me some brilliant technique.
There are many DVD’s out there on sculpting with Boro, it seems that 33 COE Pyrex type glass is forgiving with temperature ups and downs.  But the expensive glass and pricey torches were hard to justify when I already have a small fortune tied up in a gorgeous palette of soft glass.  (Especially when there are artists out there performing large scale sculptural gymnastics with soda glass.)
So, for those who drool over the craftsmanship of those beautiful figures by Gianni Toso or Lucio Bubacco, or the brilliant insects and creatures by Vittorio Costantini or Wesley Fleming… or those who long to work off mandrel but can’t find teachers in your area, and Tink visits and ruins your fun…
Let me encourage you to try these DVDs available from ARTCO:

Lucio Bubacco:  The Anatomy of the Figure
The 3 DVD set runs 6 hours and 44 minutes, offering a unique look at Lucio behind the torch.  After all, even if you flew to Italy for his workshop, would you spend the whole class looking practically over his shoulder?  Well, you do in these DVDs.

So, Lucio treats us to a Medusa figure in the first DVD, with an insane number of little snakes with tiny, flicking tongues.  The ease with which he sculpts the human figure with minimal shaping and mastery of gravity assist is astounding.  His confident manner and humor will stir your courage to trust the flame, the glass, and his specialized annealing method. 
The next DVD repeats the miracle of flame annealing by creating a woman with a scorpion head, then a fantastical bird woman in high heels.  The third DVD creates a goblet with a large, red devil holding a delicate rose, and the session also shows Lucio working with an assistant to speed up the creation process. 

Lucio Bubacco:  Master Flameworking Series
A single DVD that runs 3 hours and 15 minutes, but offers a couple simpler figures to learn from, and some nice examples and discussion of some bridge work, and blending glass to create an intermediate glass for joining different COEs in goblets.  He creates an Eve Goblet, an Eve figure, a winged mythological creature woman, a spider with thread-thin legs, and one of his signature red devil figures.

I don’t regret getting both teachings because these DVDs inspire you to see soft glass in a new light and to work with its properties, coaxing it into new dimensions.  By the end of the lessons, I understood my limits weren’t so much set by my torch heat as they were set by my limited technique and understanding of my glass.

So, try them.  They’ll inspire untold bravery.  Even after over a year hiatus from the torch (writing takes up a lot of my free time), I fired up my trusty Hothead and created a 5 inch black dragon with orange accents, and then a (rather cool if I say so myself) 3+ inch grey spider alien.  (I went on from there to try a small ogre figure, but it cracked badly, so I’m still learning…)

When you get the DVDs and create something cooler than you’d ever hoped, post and let me know about it!  Enjoy!

About Us

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Texas, United States
Welcome to Hawley Studios!!

This is the place where imagination and fire collide! Wherever our imagination and creativity take us, that is where we go! The sky is the limit......

20 years together has caused this married couple to play with fire, hammer and grind metal, and design guns and knives! LOL!! Welcome to our world of marital bliss!!

Enter in to experience creations of glass, polymer, silver, metal... whatever we can get our hands on! :D

Hawley Studios is family owned. We specialize in lampworking, fusing, slumping, jewelry, metal work, custom knife making, and custom gunsmithing.

Proud Members of:

* Etsy Christian Artists Street Team (CAST)
* Creative Glass Guild of Esty (CGGE)
* Etsy Lampwork Etc. Street Team (LEST)
* Self Representing Artists- lampworking (SRA #H109)

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