All of my glass is hand blown in 24% lead crystal glass. I design the forms and decorate them by sandblasting a unique design into the surface.
I have been working with Jane Charles, one of the country’s leading studio glass makers for nearly 25 years, at her studio in the historic glassblowing district of Lemington in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Jane blows my bowls to my direction, incorporating thin layers of colour to produce ‘cased ‘glass. When making my one off pieces she has to put up with me interfering with the blowing process to add powdered colour or inclusions and so I can manipulate the glass to produce folds, bubbles or ripples within the form.
Once the pieces have been blown and carefully cooled they arrive at my workshop to be decorated.
I cover the ‘casing’, the coloured surface of the bowl, with a special tape which will resist the sandblasting. I hand draw the design directly onto this layer and then follow my drawing with a scalpel, taking care to just cut through the tape and not scratch the glass, forming a stencil.
By removing small parts of the stencil I can sandblast through the layer of coloured glass to the clear glass. Careful sandblasting can create subtle shades within the colour and by revealing and remasking individual parts of the pattern I can develop a delicate and intricate design across the surface of the bowl.