Design & Composition

The design for any piece begins by considering the form and style of work, choosing the colors, determining their relationship to each other, the pattern (if there is one) and the placement of colors within the pattern.  This is all thought out long before any cane or murrine are made.

About color: There are myriad ways color can be incorporated into glass.  Specialized suppliers create concentrated colored glass which 99% of glassblowers use to color their work.  This colored glass can be purchased in a range of forms--from solid rods to small chips (like rice) or even powder.  The colored glass can be rolled in with a hot gather of clear glass, overlayed, wrapped, threaded, etc. around a bubble.  I purchase color mostly in rods roughly 20" long and 2" in diameter.

Days before any highly patterned work is ever blown, I select the colors and design for the murrine I'll make (see Making Murrine).  This becomes the blueprint for what the patterns and colors for finished work.

After the murrine is made, cut and washed, I have a lot of patterned glass to work with.  I generally work on designing a few pieces at once.

Cane (rods of colored glass) are a key design element for both murrine and the final work.  See how it's made in Making Cane.

After selecting the murrine for each piece, I essentially create a mosaic from the cane and murrine on a ceramic kiln shelf.  While designing this mosaic, I carefully consider what patterns I want on each part of the form, where the top and bottom of the piece will be, take note of what kind of optics will be ideal given the density of the colors involved, how the pattern will look in for any given form and a number of other variables.  This style of glassmaking is very intentional as I have a vision of what the piece will look like as I compose this design.  This all happens a few days before the work is blown.

Before a day of blowing glass I have a number of completed mosaics on ceramic kiln shelves, ready to be blown. 

Next -> Blowing Process.