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Liberty Way, Sunderland, SR6 0GL

Open Daily 10:00 - 17:00 Call: 0191 515 5555

BOOK BY PHONE: 0191 568 9700

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Julie Denton

‘Inside the mask’ The development of techniques to integrate flameworked inclusions into and onto the sandcast glass form for artists.

Denton, Julie Ann (Started 2011) ‘Inside the mask’ The development of techniques to integrate flameworked inclusions into and onto the sandcast glass form for artists. PhD study, University of Sunderland.



This research aims to develop and enhance techniques developed to encapsulate complex flameworked glass components within the interior and on the surface of sandcast glass objects. This investigation contributes to new knowledge by generating methods for the benefit of the studio glass artist with applications in architectural glass such as nonfunctional architectural features.

There are a series of problems commonly associated with the encapsulation process at every stage of making. These complications will initially be identified through historical examples and archetypes, establishing recognised practices of circumvention. Due to a low volume of academic or practical literature on the subject other disciplines such a paperweight making are analysed and techniques transposed for the use of sandcasting.

Problems associated with differences between viscosity and coefficient of expansion of inclusions and encapsulation glass are discussed, evaluated and tested. These problems occur both at the beginning of the process and post-annealing. Methods to overcome or avoid these problems are proposed and tested. European furnaces have been employed to further the scope of these investigations.

Existing paperweight methods to counteract undesirable encapsulation effects between delicate flameworked elements and the effects of heat, dirt and the flow of molten glass will be examined and discussed. These methods will be tested and successful techniques will be transposed for use in sandcasting. Latterly, functional techniques will be adapted, improved and changed to address the problems specifically associated with the use of inclusions in sandcasting for large scale work. The aim is to visually preserve detailed elements within a solid volume of glass.

The research examines methods of encapsulation and proposes a taxonomy to define and extend them to aid in the discussion of the artworks and to pinpoint the contribution to new knowledge. The suspended inclusion is encapsulated in-between layers of the molten glass substrate. The transitional inclusion intersects the surface and thus acts as an inclusion performing within the interior and as a protrusion which projects into the external space of the sandcast. The partitional inclusion is a separate object which slots into place once the sandcast is made, this circumvents the necessity to find a compatible glass and allows for detailed inclusions on the surface without the danger of breakage The practical limits of the suspended, transitional and partitional inclusion will be defined, tested, regularly reflected upon and reassessed to delineate the effectiveness of the practical methodological approach.

The transitional inclusion is the main contribution to new knowledge. Its use of flameworked elements placed cold into the sand mould prior to casting provide the opportunity to create detailed, complex and precisely placed inclusions in sand moulds of any size. Complexity and precision has previously been made difficult by the requirement to combine heated inclusions during the hot pouring process.  This new technique negates the probability of misplacement, breakage and distortion of delicate flameworked elements used in previous methods, because the components are stabilised in the preheated sand mould surface pre-casting. This technique will allow for an increase in scale from paperweight range of volume, to monumental sculpture only possible through sandcasting. The research tests the practical ranges to which a flameworked transitional inclusion can protrude beyond the surface of a cast before breaking or becoming impractical, and once impractical the partitional inclusion can be utilized.

Whilst researching and developing these technical processes, the candidate has developed a new series of artworks at each key stage of the practical tests. The work created during this period, reflect a timeline of development directly related to the techniques used. Artworks were developed which utilise the conceptual opportunities presented by relative placement of inclusions and their potential to generate narrative and articulate the conceptual territory only available to the glass artist.



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