Pressed Glass for Studio Practice: Reinventing Moulds and Methods for Molten Glass.
Hursty, Mark (2016) Pressed Glass for Studio Practice: Reinventing Moulds and Methods for Molten Glass. PhD thesis, University of Sunderland.
This research aims to revive and reinvent mould-pressed glass for creative practice. Pressed glass is an industrial process wherein molten glass is stamped by, onto, or into, a mould. Reinventing artistic ways to stamp and to mould intervenes pressing’s field-wide perception as mere mass-production. A praxis intervention for sculptural glass, this study examines and remedies disuse of pressing by intervening with how it is currently conceived and practiced. Creative practice and teaching are the intervening sources. They enable a multi-cultural exploration of practical mould-making and pressing glass that spans from East to West and from ancient until contemporary. Experimental reinventions of pressed glass processes are embodied in several modes of artwork resulting in new sculptural forms and precedents.
This study provides a methodology that art and design practitioners can use to improvise, rapid-tool, fabricate and contextualise pressed glass. Its disuse is remedied through problem finding and improvising solutions, which happens by inventing experimental moulds. Rapid tooling, CAD/CAM, and waterjet-cutting make the moulds, then molten glass is pressed into them to fabricate artworks. Horror vacui, the dictum that nature abhors a vacuum, is employed as a conceptual framework for the interpretation of both process and artwork. Horror vacui can be seen in the filling of mould voids, propagating multiples, and incorporating press-moulds themselves into sculptural glass objects and installations. These methods are demonstrated in three case study modes that include: a commission to prototype and manufacture miniature pressed ‘galaxies’, an exhibition of screens and vaulting inspired by Islamic architecture,and an exhibition of pressed glass puzzle boxes inspired by the Qing Dynasty.
The contribution to knowledge includes: a reinvention of pressed glass for contemporary creative use, an introduction of digital manufacturing for studio pressed glass moulds, establishing a canon of sculptural pressed glass techniques, a pedagogy for creative glass practitioners, and initiating pressing related efficiency gains within studio glass practices.
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