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Statue from glass or crystal

Making of statues from glass and crystal to order on author's technology with application ceramic moulds Bust Glass
April 19 2009

Dear readers, I am glad to possibility at least a little to tell to you about that surprisingly beautiful and expressive, but in the same measure and very whimsical material with which I work long time - about glass. Many there and then will smile - glasses, bottles, windowpanes - what whims - an accessible, cheap material. Really, for many centuries - after all glass is known already more than 6000 years - it has got amazing qualities - on cleanliness and riches of a palette comparable with the natural precious analogues, nevertheless it already is for a long time everywhere an accessible and inexpensive artificial mineral.

But tell to me why at a word-combination "a statue from glass" the visual memory has no any picture; why great sculptors, adequately having expressed itself in bronze, marble, plaster, has not left to us any creation in this sparkling, pure material? I will remind, I speak about a sculpture from glass which has volume, full-size, is visually maximum comparable to the real original. Only imagine the two-metre David made or cast from transparent as ice of crystal. And the mermaid of pink matte glass softly shone from within, among dark waves of the Copenhagen gulf - decorative qualities of glass are so great, in my opinion, that are not comparable to one other material.

And at all it the eternal, expressive, accessible enough material is practically deleted from "the sculptural ordinary". Once having asked this question, I wish to designate once again the purpose - creation full-size, realistic, at once the recognised sculptural image of the person or an animal from glass, - and that is important, in reasonable terms and under the real price; or all the same together - what is not present now anywhere.

Clearly having defined the purpose, to begin with we will try to find big "a glass block" for the future statue. Here we learn, that glass is the melted stone, huge temperatures have transformed it into the intense, pure and transparent crystal and as is not present in the nature of blocks of a topaz or amethyst, there is no concept - "the glass block". Internal pressure are so great what to receive a crystal in diameter in half-metre it is already impossible expensively and difficultly - the crystal is simply broken off from within at the slightest concussion or difference of temperatures. And processing if it is used, only diamond or an infernal mix of strong acids - here to you an ordinary, cheap material.

So, having defined on this road "full" deadlock, we will recollect the big number everywhere known synthetic glues, at exact conformity of fragments allowing to have the necessary size without any appreciable refraction. Glues of last generation which are used under the influence of the Uf-irradiation, are simply excellent - at all not refracting light, they give chemically strong, eternal pasting and full effect of one file - glass can break everywhere, only not in a glue place. Recollect automobile windshields. Accordingly, "having dismembered" a statue on fragments (I apologise for casual associations), having made and having stuck together them, we receive an integral sculpture of the necessary size.

Having solved thus this problem, we will pass to actually fragments. It is natural, that processing of the cooled glass - diamond and acid - is so labour-consuming and is expensive, it is necessary to reduce processing to a minimum, having reduced number of fragments and as much as possible having provided their geometry necessary to us. Thus, we pass to hot, in the fused kind, to glass formation.

Here at once it is necessary to notice, that at this stage in balance of a duet the sculptor-technologist the sharp inclination is towards the second component, but we try to find technology satisfying us under the price and quality. The most accessible - maintaining in a flame still a soft piece of glass, the master moulds a sculpture practically manually, creating amazing things on beauty. Best this technics is fulfilled, perhaps, at Italians - in Murano. But, unfortunately, this technics is not necessary to us - neither on the size, nor on accuracy, yes perhaps, and the price. Even looking at plaster analogue of the necessary fragment, any master "approximately" cannot make an exact relief, the size, corners, both other, and other.

Other way, superiority in which belongs to France (well-known firms Lalique and Daum) - cast the fused glass in ceramic forms, a method of the lost wax. By the way, and casting of the biggest whole sculpture "Horn of plenty" in height in 1 metre is made at factory Daum. The sizes, accuracy of transfer of details and quality of moulding (sagging, Fr. - moller) at these firms are magnificent. However, and the price for similar products is rigidly adhered to their size - without the account of art value each centimetre over 40 sharply lifts the cost price to gold weight - complexity of technology, time of execution and power consumption of process - depending on the size affect, the product is in the furnace about several weeks, and the cost price is very great. How the full-size two-metre statue will expensively cost? Not thinking of it, we pass by next way of hot formation - glass blowing in moulds.

Process such - the master a long metal tube a beret from the furnace a clod of the fused viscous glass, blows in a tube, simultaneously rolling out on a board a fiery sphere. Having seized the necessary moment, the master quickly puts a live, breathing flesh of a sphere in the form, very much increases pressure of air inside, "prints" soft glass in an internal surface of the form. At the moment of contact with mould the temperature has flown down sharply falls with 800*С on 200*-300*С more low, giving surplus to a form material - usually it is pig-iron or bronze. Long, labour-consuming and expensive process of manufacturing of forms of metal can be facilitated essentially, having replaced metal on ceramics, as successfully working plural (400-500 cycles) a heatstroke in this range of temperatures.

One minute for crystallisation, then mould quickly opens, and the master takes out practically ready product. Now to break off a product from a tube and - in slowly, (days) the cooling down furnace for full crystallisation and removal of internal pressure.

Let's investigate the cooled down product attentively. The product weight so both the size, and a thickness of a wall of the former sphere are limited only by force of hands and lungs of the master which blows, that allows to receive accordingly kgs of 15 weights and a thickness of a wall of glass 1-3 sm.s. At the size somewhere in third of torso of full size. That is the statue "is dismembered" on a small amount precisely enough formed and suitable for additional processing, strong and concerning inexpensive fragments in manufacturing. So, the number of fragments for the person should be roughly no more than 20 pieces, that at the price of glass factories usually has the reasonable sum of money.

These are pluses. Minuses - the statue will represent finally hollow, modular, so, and fragile enough design. But the problem is solved if to fill in in a statue absolutely transparent composit plastic of type of acryle. Protected outside glass and not subject to any mechanical and atmospheric influences, plastic will forever give designs a kind of an integral file and general mechanical durability comparable to marble. The following - if each prospective fragment had the sphere form, sharply outstanding elements - for example, the dissolved fingers of hands it is necessary to carry out or a separate fragment each finger, or to receive all brush moulding. However, this restriction needs to be considered even at construction of a composition of a sculpture. For example, the figurine of the girl from colourless crystal (on a photo) the general height 85 see also in weight in 9 kg. Consists of 2 stuck together parts - bottom in 46 see also top in 39 see

From other parts the greatest complexity is represented by making, of course, a head fragment. Paraphrasing known expression, we speak - having a head, we have all. The basic requirement to the form in which the print - high speed from which the form should open and be closed is blown - delay has result or running off of a sphere from a tube, or to glass overcooling. Most reliably the form from two parts as if palms covering a sphere during time blowing, but detailed elaboration of such print is low - all from two sides on a tangent, on an exit of a print from the form. The remake of a head of David needed the form from simultaneously converging 6 on all line of a socket and as displayed parts that has given quite comprehensible similarity with the original. The thickness of a wall received a print allows to process precisely a product diamond to the copy status.

So, even with the account of all subtleties of difficult, labour-consuming technological process, finally it is necessary to recognise and advantages. On a combination of terms, costs and qualities of details of a sculpture process is quite comparable to moulding of metal or work in a stone. Accordingly, here we with confidence recognise, that the purpose put by us in the beginning of article, quite and is really achievable. Unfortunately, despite of everything, in general work with glass and furthermore similar scale, assumes considerable material inputs - that is and be executed can only to order. And here first of all it is necessary to face an ordinary sight at glass or as usual and cheap, or absolutely not sculptural mineral. It would be desirable to hope, that this article though will a little change the standard relation and will help glass to take a worthy place among other "primordially sculptural materials as possibilities of glass factories allow today use of variety of ways of additional dressing of glass. This chemical destruction of a smooth surface by ammonium salts (still this process is satining), irisation, a list oxides precious metals, inclusion in weight of transparent glass of the smallest spangles and vials. And it not considering the basic advantage of glass - the broadest scale and cleanliness of colour jeweller glasses (at the price of practically equal usual). Therefore probably the offer to make a sculptural portrait, say, Audrey Hepburn of smoky velvety crystal for demonstration of a necklace, earrings and diadems frightens of too obvious self-value of similar"dummy"in relation to presented jewelry.

But if to speak about possibilities of application of this technology, at once it would be desirable to use the most advantageous for glass of a combination with light and fluid, mobile water. It can be, for example, the shone crystal nymph as the central part of a composition of a fountain. Or a statue - a light column in an interior, at least as a bas-relief - for example, a plafond-statue in the form of a caryatid. Or really relief stained-glass window. And the sculptural portrait (bust) executed in such live and graceful material as crystal, is perceived easier and fresh, (in my opinion), than marble or bronze. In a word, glass just should have these free, empty while "niches".

Article is translated from Russian by the electronic translator.

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