Glass Casting Revealed

After a long wait, last week we were finally able to crack open our glass castings. The plaster-silica molds baked into a hard shell around the glass which we had to chisel away at carefully.

Chiseling our glass castings
Cleaning my glass piece
Glass without cup/inclusions at top

After getting as much of the plaster-silica off as possible, I was able to cut the cup off and start grinding the piece and dremeling out any inclusions.

In the picture above, small white and orange specs can be seen at the top of the piece. These are inclusions which occur when foreign objects contaminates the glass during the casting process. This is probably from dust or parts of the mold. Fortunately these are near the surface of my piece so I was able to dremel them out.

Dremel station

Whenever cutting or grinding glass it is very important to keep the glass and the tool wet. This helps cut the glass and prevents harmful dust from floating into the air and being inhaled. In order to dremel our pieces, our sculpture technician set up this ingenious drip system to work under.

Piece without inclusions

After dremeling out the inclusions and rounding out the flat surface from where I cut off the cup, there were multiple directions I could have gone to finish this piece. Many people were hoping that the glass would come out clear, but this does not happen with glass casting. The surface can be treated to give it a glossy look, but it will never be totally clear unless the surface is severely stripped back. I decided to sandblast the surface to give the surface more texture and make the piece slightly more opaque.

Since the glass was still slightly clear, I wanted it to rest on a dark surface in order to bring out the depth in the eye. I cut a piece of deep purple stained glass which I felt complemented the ghostly white of the eye and added an additional textural component to contrasted the matte surface of the sandblasted glass.

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