Turning a pile of glass into a portrait of a friend takes many steps and many skill sets. Below I've put together a few highlights from this long process for my latest glass sculpture Facets of Phoebe. (Click the thumbnails for a larger view.)
This is the plaster master copy of the sculpture. I do begin with clay but I like to make a plaster casting and refine the work in plaster before casting in glass.
This is the silicon rubber mold I formed around the plaster sculpture. Into this mold I'll pour a wax copy.
This is the wax casting. A few years ago I started using beeswax. It smells wonderful! I'll chase the seams on the wax before making the refractory mold.
This is the refractory mold that goes into the kiln. It has a cement shell for strength. I'll stack the glass into this mold which will be fired at over 1400 degrees F in the kiln. The firing and annealing process takes several days.