Treading lightly between the analogue and digital to transform float glass – an alternative glass practice?

Isabella Kullmann

MPhil completed 2019-2020

Isabella Kullmann

Isabella Kullmann: Treading lightly between the analogue and digital to transform float glass – an alternative glass practice?

ABSTRACT

This practice-based research project follows two overlapping lines of enquiry. First, it investigates the use of float glass as an alternative to furnace glass for blowing. Second, it explores the creative potential of bringing together digital technologies (waterjet cutting) with conventional hot glass techniques.

The process that I have developed is to stack waterjet-cut float glass into three-dimensional constructions which fuse in the warm-up kiln before being picked up with a blowing iron and worked hot.  The precision and predictability of the digital is transformed by the breath of the glassblower, centrifugal force, and gravity as the glass comes alive in the heat of the re-heating chamber.

This exploration of material and process subverts the ‘hylomorphic’ model, whereby form is imposed onto the material, and instead proposes a collaboration with material where, in the words of Tim Ingold, form emerges through a ‘confluence of forces and material’. The writings of Juhani Pallasmaa have also inspired this experimental approach to design and making, which has generated original outcomes in the form of tests, samples, and final pieces.

The elegance of this hybrid process, which embraces ‘the seamless integration of digital technologies’, lies in its simplicity and material efficiency.  Looking to the future, the research proposes an alternative glass practice which is adapted to the realities of contemporary life in the twenty-first century.

Link to thesis >