I learned all that I know from a pretty small group of incredible craftsmen and women, and it is high time that I begin to share some of their work and stories. It has been an honor to learn and admire their highly refined skill. If you appreciate #art and always look to take things to the next level then you are in the right place. The artists that I feature are at the pinnacle of the industry I work in. The few. The elite. Earned with blood, sweat, and tears. The next installment of this series is the business partner of SALT from Part 1. As I stated a moment ago the group of #glassblowers that I actually learned a lot about the industry from is very small and there are just a few left in the series that I have spent time around. A few parts later we will venture into glassblowers that I have only spent a little time with, or have not even in person. For now I really do want to step back and take a moment to be thankful for how lucky we are to be able to get so close to these masters at work. The later parts of the series will not lose any value in the sense of incredible art, but sadly we will not have as big of a window into their perspectives or career history. I am humbled and inspired by what I have seen. I hope that I can at least dig up a Q and A for later artists, if not a short Youtube interview.
If you have seen some of my previous posts like my introduction or giveaway then you already know that I am a #glassblower. See those threads on my profile for some of my work or any background info about my #glass journey. Enough about that, let's dive in!
This glass blower goes by the name SNIC. You can look up SNIC BARNES too. A master of the Borosilicate Lampworking trade. Yes, most of these are a functioning #pipe and many can hold water. This amazing #glass #artist hails from Austin, TX and co-operates an incredible studio called St Elmo's Fire with SALT. This glass sanctuary of art and inspiration houses many arists. Some who work there today are well on the way to the top like SALT and SNIC. There will be plenty more to see in the near future, so stay tuned, and enjoy!
SNIC has been working glass for ~20 years and is another one of my biggest inspirations in the #glass world. He has won multiple high level competitions, been on the cover of magazines, and that is just getting started. He is certainly revered in the glass world. I can certainly say I would not have my shop today without the valuable knowledge I acquired during my time at St. Elmo's Fire. Changed my #life forever. This is a true Artisan and a daily inspiration to me. SNIC is an incredibly skilled worker of many mediums. Glassblowing, electroforming, and metal work to name a few. He started working with Effetre Glass or "Soft Glass" in what we call a "Hot Shop" and was formally trained in that way. See other forms of glassblowing here. As far as glass technique goes he is amazing at carving, symmetrical shaping, working unique colors, and much more. Since I have talked a lot about Borosilicate in older posts, I will explain a lot more about the subject that many of you will want to know. How did he get that copper on the glass?
Electroforming involves an electrolytic solution and an electric power supply. The piece you want to plate is covered in a conductive paint and connected to the positive lead of your power supply. The negative lead is attached to your copper source. The copper and your piece are then submerged in the solution, and with the action of running current through the solution (negative to positive), copper is drawn from your copper source onto the painted parts of your piece. With time, very thick layers can be achieved. As the negative charge attracts the positive, the process of electroplating takes place as metals in ionic form move from a positive to negative electrode. An electric current passing through the solution causes objects at the cathode or "workpiece" to be coated by the metal in the solution. After the desired thickness is achieved the "workpiece" is rinsed off, dried and it is ready for use.The longer the piece is left in the plating bath the thicker the coating of metal will form on the work piece.
There are two really cool ways to electroform an object. Tank Plating and Brush Plating. This is not limited to glass of course! Both carry several advantages and disadvantages and you will find a lot of artists have different reasons why they like one method over the other.
Tank plating is the oldest form of plating and it is much easier to plate complex objects using this technique. In most cases with Tank plating the artist is able to plate multiple parts at one time. In some tank solutions there are brighteners, which are chemical additives that can save you time and labor when it comes to polishing because the plating comes out bright. Brush plating is mainly used for patch work on worn spots on existing plating where extremely small amounts of silver and direct current are required. It is not a process designed for applying an evenly distributed coating of silver across a large flat area. In Brush Plating the electrolytes can be supplied by dipping or pumping through the solution, this way it is possible to apply metal on a selective surface. Brush plating is essentially the same process but with your solution on the tip of a brush connected to the negative charge, effectively allowing you to "paint" one metal onto another. I will not go into the advantages or disadvantages as we could go on for hours, but hopefully this helps you get a good idea of how things work.
Before getting to the pictures please keep in mind that SNIC does not electroform every single glass item that he produces. I did my best to show many of his styles because they all deserve to be appreciated.
Signed magazine to help verify my knowledge and the authenticity of this article. Also here is this video to verify my profile.
Here is a few shots from the tradeshow booths that I took with my phone. Always an amazing experience vending alongside my heroes. Some of these are IRL pics of the gallery below.
Check out this very in depth podcast! SNIC's story.
Check out this short artist profile video, it's worth a few minutes of your time!
If you have read the first giveaway which contained an intro to Borosilicate glass work, and the first two parts of this series then congratulations! You are learning so much about modern glass! This is just a small peek in to the world of #borosilicate #glass #art. Stay tuned!