Pete Fricker

Glass

May 2014

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Pedlar of daydreams

Piping an empty tune

Fisher of shadows

Ploughman of the moon        

Paul Verlaine

Stained Glass window. Pete Fricker 2010

Colour is a central feature of my glass, rich colours with added trails, cane and shards contributing to the designs. Each piece is handmade in Stourbridge Glassblowing Studio. The making process creates flowing movement in frozen time, relationships of colour and texture.  The ‘palette’ of colour and the surprise factor ensure that each is a unique piece of glass art.  The magical medium of glass constantly asserts itself, introducing distortion, refraction and reflection.  

Coloured glass is made by adding various minerals, metal oxides and metal salts to a mix that consists mainly of sand (Silicon Oxide) and oxides of Sodium and Calcium; for example adding Manganese produces amethyst, Iron salts with Carbon and Sulphur give amber, and Copper Oxide results in turquoise.

Several manufacturers produce coloured glass in various formats for use in glass-blowing and kiln forming; translucent and opaque colours add to the maker’s palette.   

Stourbridge Glassblowing Studio was founded in 2010 at the redeveloped Ruskin Glass Centre, Amblecote, and a location with a rich heritage in glass-making.  The partners work in the Studio to realise ideas and develop pieces that reflect their individual styles.  My work, which currently consists of rich base colours and designs on classic vessel forms, can be purchased from the Studio or direct from the maker (see contact).

 

 

The Studio, which is not in operation every day, is also available for hire to other glass-makers at competitive rates.  For Studio details and enquiries about hiring contact

Ian Bamforth

07763385578.

ian_bamforth@yahoo.co.uk

 

The New Ruskin Glass Centre is home to a wide range of glass crafts and other businesses, and includes a fine café.  There is car parking for visitors.

 

Ruskin Glass Centre

Wollaston Road

Amblecote

Stourbridge

DY8 4HF

 

www.ruskinglasscentre.co.uk

 

 

 

 

I studied at the International Glass Centre in Brierley Hill from 2007 and then part-time until its closure in 2009.  Sadly, I was one of the last students to leave this excellent institution. An initial interest in stained glass and painting gave way to a fascination with hot glass; there is something about the immediacy and the physicality of the making process that is addictive. Towards the end of 2010 I jointly founded Stourbridge Glassblowing Studio with three other ex-Brierley Hill students. The Studio is run as a collective in the refurbished Ruskin Glass Centre in Amblecote, Stourbridge, UK.  

 

 

Vessel forms, bowls and vases, provide a sculptural framework for the designs.  The result can be as organic as the natural phenomena that inspired it.  Also an interest in abstract painting is evident in much of my work. The heating and manipulation of colour and form is quite like action painting.  Ideas often grow from the process itself and take the design in a new direction.  An inspirational figure in UK contemporary glass, Peter Layton interprets the work of painters superbly.

 

 

Clear glass at 1100 degrees centigrade is gathered from the furnace by turning the iron and wrapping the molten glass around the end; this is shaped using wet papers or a wooden block.  

 

 

Colour can be introduced at the start and added in several ways and at different stages as required.  Trails of coloured glass are applied hot to the surface of the glass while it is turned.  Trails can be thick or thin, random or regular.

After gathering clear glass from the furnace, shards and frits, powders and grains can be picked up on the surface.  Hot threads and trails can be wrapped around the piece.  Surface colours can be manipulated using hand tools or optic moulds.I use colour a lot and add it to the glass in several ways.  A piece of coloured glass can be picked up directly onto the hot iron at the beginning of the process and a small bubble blown into it; this colour fills the form as the piece is blown out.

Further gathers of clear glass build to the required size, and then it is blown out.  The hot glass must be turned constantly to keep it on centre.  It is also reheated regularly to maintain it at a working temperature using a reheating chamber known as a ‘glory hole’.  

 

 

After the piece has been transferred from the blowing iron to a punty iron it is reheated.  The neck can then be stretched, cut and opened using tools.

 

 

When the piece is finished it is removed from the punty iron and placed in an annealing oven so that it cools slowly.  You can never be sure what you will get until the annealing oven is opened and the piece, in all its colour and refraction, emerges cool and strong; a moment charged with excitement, but not without occasional disappointment.