I really enjoy raking glass. For me, it’s a bit like cooking in that my approach is to first create a series of color recipes. Which colors are the primary flavors and then which will provide the contrast or spice? How will the various raked areas or plates interact, contrast and support each other? Once I have my recipes sketched out, I begin the assemblage of the colored glass onto the irredescent clear glass base. I like to use nippers to beak up the glass as they can achieve the most unusual shapes with twists and turns that somehow the glass can permit. I don’t usually have a plan for this phase- I just keep adding colors and shapes until it tastes right.
Once the glass is out of the kiln, it needs to be cut to fit the pattern, much like pieces for a traditional stained glass panel. Breaking raked glass can be a challenge as it’s so much thicker that stained glass. I find that once I’ve scored the glass, using grossing pliers with the edge of my work bench for the counter force works well. For a piece like this, the areas need to fit well so once the area are cut, I also grind them to fit. To prevent devitrification, I do the final grinding with a 600 grit bit. If the edges show devitrification after firing, I do a follow-up firing with a coat of clear powder.
This project gave me the opportunity to do diptych of Lake Titicaca entirely using raked glass. The colors are so vibrant and the gradations and movement of color give the piece a very painterly, Fauvist look. I’ve kept all of the remnants which I use like choice left overs in other dishes that I’m still creating.