Growing up I often heard from teachers that Kim participates enthusiastically in class but doesn't often follow directions.....
well, I've never been good at following rules so is it any wonder that I grew up and play with fire for a living?
I'm a Flameworker
Traditionally known as a Lampworker, which is Glassblowing that requires a torch to melt glass rods so they can be shaped and manipulated.
I use a specific type of scientific glass known as Borosilicate
This is commonly referred to as hard glass (the strongest and hardest glass made), is used to guarantee durability. Boro, also known by the brand name Pyrex, cools very quickly making it less resistant to thermal shock than any other type of glass. Because of this unique melting property small sections can be worked on without the entire piece needing to be heated, making it a dream to sculpt with. Additionally, it allows me to create varying sizes of work that remain lightweight and wearable.
Various hand tools, gravity and the fluid motion of spinning the glass is used to form the desired shape. In addition, 24k gold and .999 fine silver get vaporized in the flame and produce colours ranging from pink, blue, green to white that get swirled into unique abstract 3D smokey patterns that are always one of a kind creations.
Glass is a technical medium to work with and the Flameworker blends creativity, science and chemistry together in making Art.
For example, many of the colours I work with change in the flame and produce a range of textures and hues from a single rod. These striking colours are extremely versatile but take careful attention, knowledge, and years of practice to produce certain effects. Otherwise, the colours in the end product will look dull, burnt out, or full of unintended air bubbles.
The companies who make the coloured glass are part of a highly trained, specialized team who can spend years perfecting a colour. What that means to the artist is that each batch of glass is different with slight variations of tint, quality and workability. As well as us glass artists don't always have access to a colour we want, which could take months if not years to be restocked....uggh....
A kiln is used to anneal completed glass projects. Annealing is the process of keeping the glass hot enough so that the molecules can “straighten out” after being mixed together in the torch and bring down the temperature in a slow controlled manner ensuring longevity and a high-quality finished product.
From idea to project
Figuring out how to turn an idea into a project is an exciting yet intimidating process. My art is inspired from the natural world and I'm often trying to reflect a mood or a feeling within each piece of wearable art I create. Drawing is a great tool to work out shapes, explore colours side by side and get a general sense of what it will look like.
Mostly though, like all things, its spending countless hours practicing, and as full time Glassblower for twenty years, I've certainly put in my time. Nonetheless there is always the next challenging technique to master.