Nikolas Weinstein’s flowing, wonderful glass
January 6, 2011 by Cynthia
Weinstein tack-fuses thousands of borosilicate glass tubes together and shapes them into flowing, organic patterns (among other techniques). The stuff he produces is quite frankly some of the most stunningly beautiful architectural glass I’ve ever seen. (Download his portfolio PDF–holy cow)
Weinstein obtains his shapes with a special automated kiln that is also impressive. The kiln floor looks like a sheet of cookie dough with a lot of round cutouts; each cutout is mounted on a piston contraption that can be automagically raised and lowered as needed, and the “cookie” cantilevered in almost any direction. I’d post pics, but they ain’t mine.
Weinstein designs his pieces on the computer, which programs that cookie kiln floor. The kiln floor starts flat, with its package of straight boro tubes on top. As the tubes become more plastic with heatwork, those “cookies” slowly rise up, out of the bed, deforming the glass until it achieves the desired shape. (Be interesting to see how he manages to alter the tubes without collapsing them–I wonder if that would work with the equivalent soda-lime glass?)
The kiln floor eliminates the need to make massive slumping molds, and also reduces the problem of overinsulating refractory. (Although, like most tack-fusers, Weinstein apparently suffered from all kinds of cracking in his first tests until he got with a glass expert and learned to slow the annealing schedule WAY down. Where have we heard THAT before?)
Ironically, the sculpture featured on Glass Quarterly, of massive light fixtures in a San Francisco restaurant, turned out to be my least favorite. And I may like his “cold assembly” glass even better than the slumped pieces.
You gotta see this stuff. Run through his image gallery and click on pictures, then be sure to bring up the “detail” captions and documentation. It’s worth it.
Lordee. I would sweep this guy’s floors just to learn from him.
P.S. This blogpost also introduced me to a lady named Patricia Linthicum and her blog “Looking at Glass.” It focuses on architectural glass design, usage and technology, and I’m adding it to my blogroll. Neat stuff.