Glass and shadow

Small Object Making class: start at the beginning:

My glass project is finally coming together! I am feeling so much more relaxed about getting everything finished in time, it was all hanging over my head and feeling stressful. At last the experiments have paid off and I’ve found a design I’m really happy with. I’ve gone from tense to very relaxed overnight. 🙂 I went to Bunnings and bought sandpaper and wire. The orange papers are for wood, the black ones are wet and dry papers suitable for glass.

I did a lot of experimenting with my Dremel too, there was no way to get hold of a cement mixer cheaply (you can use it to make sea glass) but I needed a way to work the glass faster than the hours of work with wet fingers that the sandpaper takes. The dremel has a grinding attachment that works great after some fiddling with it. The key is to keep the speed fairly low so it doesn’t chip into the glass, and wear lots of safety protection! Glass dust is nasty.

I also tried out my two diamond tips for the dremel, they are supposed to work on glass for cutting, engraving and such. I had a number of different end designs in mind, some of them involved hanging the glass and I wanted to try and drill holes in it. You can see etchings and one hole in this broken glass:

Unfortunately, this was hard on my diamond tip, it actually stripped the tip completely rendering it useless. 😦 They’re quite expensive so I was pretty disappointed. All part of the process unfortunately. I loved the effect of carving this purple glass, the purple is in a layer on one side, so engraving it is very effective.

This was my final design however – using the curved smoky glass shards from a light fitting to represent a broken city. The shards are ground smooth and then have little windows etched onto them.

Here they are roughly assembled. The final project will obviously be properly finished, not just tacked on with blue tack, but this is the design. I experimented shining various light sources through it and the effect is fantastic (although difficult to capture on camera). With the right light in a dim room, the buildings are projected as huge shadows onto a wall, with the little dark figure walking through the broken city. It’s beautiful and evocative and I’m stoked. You can see a little of the shadow cast here because of the flash:

So the next stage is to look at incorporating different light sources – their distance from the glass is important because it brings the shadow into focus when you get it right, then choosing an appropriate base and fixing everything to it. I’m thinking of carving the figure (far right) out of wood to replace my little cardboard person too. The inspiration was a few lines of a poem from my 2002 journal:


I catch the midnight ferry
and sail from the broken heart of this city
Far out of town I stand by a broken wall
and warm my hands at the dying of the sun.


To see the next post in this series

4 thoughts on “Glass and shadow

  1. Gawler is the last sunday of each month except of course december. it is held at the Prince Albert Hotel in the main street and goes from 2 to 4 pm. it is fabulous. and yes I have just been invited to perform at the Broken Hill festivities so I might go, once I work out how to get there: they \are providing one night's free accomodation but no air fare

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  2. Thanks John, yes I find the same, going back through old journals you find little jewels waiting, coals in ash. I do love poetry readings actually, some of work I think is better heard than read. Friendly St is generally just too long for me, like chocolate and wine you can have too much of a good thing. I prefer shorter events where I can savour everything. I haven't come to Gawler but I'd love to – when are they held? There's a Poets at the Pub being held in Broken Hill again in Feb, the last one was wonderful so I'm hoping to get there again. 🙂

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  3. it's a dark but beautiful poem: a haunting fragment.

    it is so good you journal your poetry; I journal mine and frequently enough I go back and find abandoned poems which I bring to life: 'the Bell' was such a one and so too was 'Certificate', a popular poem which you'll find if you scroll down.

    have you ever read your poems at Gawler or Friendly Street? Gawler is fantastic and very friendly; anyone new is warmly embraced

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