Pâte de Verre
Pâte de verre is a very old kiln-fired glass technique. The name is French for ‘paste of glass’, which refers to the way glass is introduced into the piece. I begin by sculpting a clay model of the form I wish to make, then shaping a plaster/silica mold around the model. After the clay is removed, glass powder is sifted onto the interior of the mold to create a design, after which the paste, frit (crushed glass) mixed with water and gum Arabic, is applied over the powder to the walls of the mold. The piece is fired in a kiln to permanently fuse the glass together. After the piece is cool I remove the mold to reveal the form of the glass. I continue shaping and forming my pieces by sawing, drilling, and polishing. I sometimes make needle-felted elements to incorporate into the final piece adding a contrasting texture to my work. Needle-felting is the interweaving of raw wool using a barbed needle.
What results from the powder, frit and felt is a vessel that is solid but porous, smooth on the outside and sugary on the inside, and varies from opaque to translucent depending on how you look at it.