Research

Glass Production

Each glass form is handmade and therefore totally unique. The drawn imagery is applied using highly skilled techniques which are labour intensive, time consuming and risky.

Graal Technique

Graal is a Swedish technique for applying drawn imagery to glass. It involves an initial glass gather which is shaped in order to receive a thin covering of coloured glass skilfully applied by the blower. After prolonged cooling, the ‘core’ is masked off and the drawn imagery applied to its surface. This is painstakingly cut out by hand, leaving areas of exposed glass.

Graal Artifact
Graal artefact h. 13 cm

The next stage involves sandblasting the exposed areas of coloured glass to remove it from the core. This results in two colour relief similar to cameo. The core is then cleaned and slowly reheated in a kiln to a working temperature. After reattachment to a blowing iron, the relief pattern is softened and flattened through intense heating. The form is then gathered over with a thicker protective layer of clear glass and given a final shaping.

Ariel Technique

Although derived from the graal process, Ariel is a far more difficult and risky process. It differs from graal in two respects. Firstly, the decoration is more deeply sandblasted to create suitable air cavities. Secondly, a highly skilled ‘outside casing’ technique is used to trap the air.

Ariel Artifact
Ariel vase h.15 cm

The mercurial air patterns are in constant danger of corruption through overworking or heating the form. Because of this, few attempt the process. Complex examples are very rare and highly prized.