Guest artist Lisa Tahir will be at First City Art Center to offer students and patrons a one-weekend-only glass casting workshop.
A three day introductory workshop exploring the fundamentals of glass sand-casting, this is an exciting way to learn the process of pouring molten glass into open face sand molds. Day one covers production of sand models/templates used in the casting process. Day two and three concentrate on the actual casting of glass objects from which every student will make several forms.
The Process of Glass Casting – by Lisa Tahir
My process of glass casting begins with a huge furnace that burns at 2350 degrees Fahrenheit! The furnace holds about 600 lbs. of molten hot glass. We use recycled clear glass windshields and bottles at my studio. These broken up pieces are shoveled into the furnace and melt over the course of 24 hours into a molten consistency that pours much like the thickness of honey. The only difference is that it is 2350 degrees Fahrenheit, much unlike honey! I suit up in a thick leather jacket, long pants, face shield and Kevlar fireproof gloves and “scoop” molten glass out of the furnace into graphite, sand, or steel molds. The “scoop” I use is called a ladle and weighs about 40 lbs. Often I have to scoop 2 to 4 consecutive ladles into my molds to get the size of pieces that you see in the gallery. From there I drop the ladle and attend to the glass which is being contained in the molds and is slowly cooling. I have to use a torch that shots fire to keep certain edges warm as the center still holds the majority of the heat. This process can take up to several minutes depending upon the size of the piece. Once cooled adequately I attach the mass of glass to a 6 foot steel rod called a “punte” in Italian. This enables me to reheat the entire piece in a glory hole. The glory hole is a reheating chamber that burns at 2350 degrees Fahrenheit. I can then re-melt some areas I want to manipulate and re-shape. This process can go on for up to 2-3 hours depending on my desired result. I work with a team 1 to 4 assistants to help me with this process. It is hot and heavy work without any breaks. If the glass gets too cold it shatters before my eyes, if it gets to hot it drips uncontrollably onto the floor. At the end of the shaping process the piece is broken off of the punte with water and put into an annealing oven. This annealing oven cools the piece from 950 degrees Fahrenheit to room temperature over about 4 days. The piece has to cool slowly as it goes thru many chemical changes going from a liquid to a solid. It is an act and dance of balance. It has taken me 17 years to master this craft and process.
Learn More about artist Lisa Tahir! >