“You COMB glass? HOW do you do THAT?”
Since we get asked that a lot, we thought it would be fun to share the glass combing process.
All of the pictures in this post were taken during the creation of our “Hot & Cold #4” sculpture.
Glass Preparation: After specially preparing a Stainless Steel form, strips of glass are cut from large sheets of glass and are placed on edge inside the form.
Into the Kiln: Once the form has been filled with glass strips, it is placed in a kiln. After the kiln temperature reaches about 1670° F (and after we have put on our safety gear), customized Stainless Steel rakes are used to move the molten glass around in various patterns.
With the kiln open, the glass temperature drops quickly. The glass hardens and can no longer be combed. There is only about 25-30 seconds each time the kiln is opened before the glass gets too cool/hard to comb. The process here is open kiln, comb, close kiln, reheat glass to about 1670° F and repeat this process until the combing pattern has been completed.
After Combing: The combed glass piece then slowly cools in the kiln for approximately 15-24 hours. After that, it is taken out of the Stainless Steel form, the edges are smoothed using bespoke grinders, saws and tools.
Back Into the Kiln: After the edges of the piece have been smoothed, it goes back into the kiln for about 24 hours to add a high gloss polish and further smooth out the edges.
Time: It takes about three days for a glass combing like this one to go from sheet glass to completed piece. The end product is always colorful and unique!
The “Hot & Cold #4” combed glass sculpture featured in this post is currently available at Gallery North.