Rabu, 25 Juli 2012

Art Deco Glass - What Should I Look for? The Unique Colors, Shapes, Textures, and Artistic Elements

In Parts I and II of "Art Deco Pottery -- A User's Guide to Types and Style", I introduced the 3 different types of pottery and what aesthetic effects to expect when searching for your new favorite art deco piece.

I'd now like to focus on another favorite medium of art deco vases, GLASS. Here's what to search for when shopping:


    Ambers, Topaz, Blues, Greens (earthy colors). Red, or "Ruby" glass shows up often. Cobalt blue glass is the most sought-after. I've seen a lot of "smoked glass" as well -- a really nice effect!


    Like with art deco pottery, glass vases include geometric, angular, uniform, mathematical, graduated, and concentric designs. I always think of modern and simple, not over-designed. In other words, each art deco vase contains only one or two artistic themes that are repeated or reflected throughout the piece, and these themes never conflict -- only compliment each other.
    Polished and smoother, high gloss glass is the most popular. However, "crackled" glass looks to be a desired texture as well (see more info below).


    Molded Glass -- artisans take fired glass (in its liquid or gel-like state) and mold it using special glassmaking tools, by blowing the glass to create shape, and then place the molded glass in water for cooling and setting. With different levels and sources of heat, several pieces can be fused together, creating patterns and textures. Some art deco artisans even "pinched" glass to make interior ridges.
    Acid Etching -- a process used by famous makers such as Lalique, Tiffany, and Daum (among others). Acid etching involves introducing a particular type of acid to a surface (metal, glass, etc) to cause a "reaction". This reaction affects everything it touches, so artists usually covered the parts they wanted to remain in the original color with a wax pattern. This creates different color and texture effects and leaves a design on the surface of the material.
    Glass "Crackling" -- an effect created by heating and reheating glass, then rolling it in small chunks of "fritted glass" and finally immersing the entire piece in water to cool. When completed, the vase appears to have thousands of tiny cracks, almost like a cobweb.

Art deco vases accentuate a smart, clean, modern decor and bring life to spaces large and small. Whether glass or pottery, metal or gold (yes, gold!), the individuality of each vase keeps my search going strong. I'm excited to continue my exploration!

I'd love to hear about and see your latest finds. Feel free to share!

I look forward to sharing my next post with you, when we'll learn how to clean these wonderful works of art without damaging or scratching your prized piece.

Diva Fiore, a budding opera singer from Texas, discovered a special affinity for all things Art Deco -- and specifically, Art Deco Vases -- after acquiring a beautiful glass vase from her beloved grandmother. Diva Fiore aims to explore the drama and significance of these artisan pieces as she begins to expand her own personal collection, and invites you to share in the stories and the search!

Kamis, 12 Juli 2012

Transform Your Glassware Into Personalised Works of Art With Glass Etching Stencils!

Do you ever look at your glassware and wish you could make it different, more individual, more YOU? Well, with the huge range of exciting glass etching stencils available you can, and what's more, it's a cinch and takes less than 30 minutes! You can even design your own stencils and create different textures if you're feeling ultra artistic!

So - what do you have to do to create these permanent, unique works of glass art?

1. Gather your materials together.

You need:
glass etching creme,
latex/vinyl gloves,
sponge/foam brush,
squeegee (desirable but not essential),
glass etching stencils,
paper towels,
safety glasses,
washing up liquid,
craft knife,
plastic carrier bag,
measuring tape and masking tape.

2. Clean your glass and place the stencil.

Thoroughly clean and dry your glass - either with detergent and water or window cleaner. Carefully remove the backing paper from the stencil and apply it - adhesive side down - to the glass. If your glassware is a vessel rather than flat sheet glass, you need to stop it from rolling around first - sticking it down with masking tape should suffice. Rub the stencil on with a squeegee or your thumb, and carefully peel off the backing, making sure that each piece of the stencil remains firmly on the glass. Mask the glass outside the stencil with masking tape to protect it - you don't want smears on your masterpiece!

3. Etch your glass.

This is your dressing up moment - put on your safety goggles and disposable gloves, shake the etching creme and apply a very thick coating to the exposed glass with the foam brush. It's important that it's an even thickness, and that you've covered all the corners and edges. Leave for 15 minutes, but stay around! The etching creme is a caustic substance and is dangerous to leave unattended.

4. Clean up.

Wipe the excess etching creme off with paper towels, making sure you have a plastic bag to tie them into before throwing them away. Wash the glass in warm water and washing up liquid. It's now safe to undress! Off with the goggles and gloves.

5. Remove the stencil.

Peel the stencil off the glass. It will come off in little pieces - you may need the craft knife to help you. Be warned; it's not reusable, so don't try to rescue the bits.

6. Dry 'n' admire!

Wash the glass for the final time - don't panic if your artwork disappears - dry it thoroughly and it will reappear for you to admire. It really is as simple as that.

Milly Frances is a self-confessed stained glass addict and glass etching fan. Discover more glass etching stencil techniques and subscribe to her FREE newsletter at:  You'll even receive 5 Glass Painting Tips into the bargain!

Senin, 02 Juli 2012

Art of Glass

Many groundbreaking discoveries came about by chance! In 1928, bacteriologist Alexander Fleming found a mould had contaminated one of his experiments. To his surprise, the mould turned out to be an antibacterial agent...and so, penicillin was born. Another remarkable creation is the multifaceted and challenging media of glass. By melting combinations of soda and sand, our ancestors found, upon letting the mixture cool, that its composition had changed into a transparent 'glassy' mass.

Trial-and-error resulted in one of the largest industries to date. The creation of glass continually evolved with additions of limestone, lead oxide and boric acid. Metals like cobalt, copper, manganese, gold and silver would change the consistency, clarity, colour weight and strength of glass.

The Venetians were the first to become world leaders in the manufacture of glass. The Crusades and the conquest of Constantinople in 1204 opened the way for extensive trade practices throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and in various Islamic territories. The result was an exchange of cultures - which allowed the Venetians to adopt the practices of the glass producers in these once foreign lands.

More than Conquerors

However, the Venetians were the ones that took the art of glassmaking to another level by adding minerals and pebbles to the glass silica. 'Oxides' were also added to the silica, creating a splendid multi-coloured array of glassware. The Venetians also received accolades for perfecting clear glass known as "cristallo." Nowhere was the art of glass more evident than on the islands of Murano.

Murano is a group of islands lying on the edge of the Adriatic Sea in the lagoon of Venice, about 3,000 meters north of the larger group of islands comprising the city of Venice. This was the glass centre of the Venetian industry, and glassmakers had the same status as "royalty," and had privileges denied to ordinary citizens; but in exchange for such titles and privileges, the government virtually imprisoned them in an attempt to protect the secrets of the glass trade. If one of these artisans tried to leave the island to practice their craft elsewhere, they were condemned to death for committing treason.

The Republic of Venice put this mandate into effect in order to isolate the master glassblowers, in order to keep control and monopolize the industry of glassmaking. There was a period in Venetian history when the glasshouses supposedly caught fire and the Venetian authorities moved all the glasshouses to the island of Murano. Whether the fires were rumour or fact; by moving all production to Murano, the Venetians not only protected Venice from the hazards of fire, but also insured government regulation and State protection, ensuring no competition from abroad. As a result, Murano glassmaking became the leading source for fine glass in Europe and a major source of trading income for the Republic of Venice.

The glass pieces of this period were ornate and considered luxury items. Through this ostentation, a strain of utilitarian design developed and mirrors started to appear which provided a high revenue turnover. Artisans competed amongst themselves, constantly developing more complex and intricate glassmaking techniques and continually pushing the boundaries of thought, images, use, and opinion.

Unlike any other material, glass envelopes the mystical qualities of color, hue, and light. Old world artisans have introduced us to glass that delights our senses with endless colour schemes, light refractions, and artistic designs.

The age-old tradition of innovation in glassmaking is still evident at Pilkington Glass. As well as being leaders in their field, they have kept their fingers on the pulse of technology with their product - Pilkington Activ™- the world’s first self-cleaning glass. Long described as an impossible dream, it uses natural light and rainwater to keep windows clearer and perfect looking – The art of glass is alive and well!