Friday, September 14, 2007

Gathering Glass Studio

As brothers-in-law and co-owners of their studio in Ashland, Oregon Keith Gabor and Scott Carlson are enjoying creative freedom while exploring the medium of blown glass. The wide variety of colors and forms that glass can take on, as well as the scientific properties, continue to intrigue and enlighten them in a way no other material does. They are partners in every way. They both have the skill set to function as lead gaffer or assistant, and they usually alternate our roles.
When creating new designs they will first sketch and contemplate color selections because each element in the glass that creates the color reacts and responds uniquely to one another. After agreeing upon a possible composition, the one who is gaffing gathers 2140° molten glass onto a stainless steel blowpipe from a furnace that contains 500 lb. Then he applies colors in the form of a solid glass bar for solid colors and/or crushed broken glass, called frit, for a mottled effect. Using wooden and steel tools, wet newspaper, centrifugal force and gravity, the gaffer works the glass as the assistant fills the vessel with blown air. After the assistant transfers the vessel onto a solid pipe, called a punty, the final shape, design and texture is achieved. Throughout the process the glass is kept at working temperature using a variety of torches and by reheating it in a 2300° gas and oxygen fired oven, called the glory hole. Once the desired effect is achieved, the gaffer shocks the vessel off the punty and the assistant catches the completed vessel and loads it into an annealing oven set at 898°. At the end of the day they cycle down the oven, over at least a 12-hour period, so that the glass slowly cools to room temperature. At last the unique creation is complete but from each expression new ideas always form.