Breathing Life into Glass Vases: The Roll-Up Technique
“It does not matter what material we use. We need the technique, and we need the idea. And then we need the poetry, the love that transforms the material into a piece of art.” – Lino Tagliapietra
Glass has been an esteemed material for centuries, lauded for its versatility and exquisite beauty. It has been used by skilled artisans to create both functional and decorative objects such as vessels, sculptures, and jewelry. In its molten state, glass has the ability to capture light, color, and shape in a way that few other materials can replicate. One such artist who understands the magic of glass is Mr. Ryan Staub from Seattle, who has partnered with me to bring the Vase series to life. We utilized the Roll-Up technique to create these stunning pieces of art, working at the Pacific Art Glass studio facilities in Gardena, CA.
If you’ve ever marveled at the intricate designs and patterns found on glass objects, then you have likely wondered how they were created. Roll-up is a glassblowing technique that combines two methods: fused glass and glassblowing. Fused glass is where pieces of glass are cut and shaped, then heated in a kiln until they fuse together, resulting in a solid piece with a smooth, uniform surface. In contrast, glassblowing involves gathering molten glass on the end of a blowpipe, shaping it with various tools and techniques, and creating a hollow, blown glass object with a more organic, uneven surface.
In the roll-up technique, a sheet of fused glass is heated until it becomes pliable, then placed on top of a gathering of molten glass on a blowpipe. The glassblower then uses tools and techniques to roll the fused glass into the gather, incorporating it into the blown glass object. This can create intricate patterns and designs on the surface of the glass object as the fused glass is rolled and manipulated.
Roll-up is a challenging technique that requires a high degree of skill and experience in both fused glass and glassblowing. This method is often used to create both functional and decorative objects, such as bowls, vases, drinking glasses, and stemware.
Working with glass is an enchanting experience that is hard to describe. Glass is solid, liquid, and transparent all at once, which adds to its allure. Despite its delicacy, there is a certain mystery surrounding it, and it feels as though something else is at play when working with it in the kiln or glory hole. Every time the oven is opened, the outcome has a mysterious aura to it – as if a secret hand has touched the glass, resulting in a thrilling surprise.