Moulding glass into art

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 July, 2011, 12:00am


Glass is fascinating. Often it is colourless and brittle, yet in the right hands, it can take on an endless array of shapes in intricate, eye-pleasing designs. This is what five junior reporters learned at a workshop co-organised by the Hong Kong Glass Arts Development Society.

They experimented with glass fusing and watched artist Fanny Mak Sau-ying demonstrate a technique called lampwork.

Glass fusing

Glass can be made into all kinds of different forms. It can be fashioned into drinks bottles or moulded into plates.

It can also be reused. Glass shards can be used to make tiles or fused together to create delicate designs with a shiny surface.

In our case, all it took was some 30 minutes inside a kiln heated to just under 1,000 degrees Celsius and another 30-45 minutes for the cooling process - and we had a simple piece of glass jewellery.

Our designs

Mak introduced us to the characteristics of glass and the basics of fusing. She then left us to experiment with the materials we had. We were limited only by our imagination.

Christophe heated and bent an orange glass rod into a spiral and fused it with a clear square glass.

Tara decided to make a Pisces piece with an almost watery-smooth surface.

She cut two smaller blue ovals for the fishes and fashioned short sticks of glass into the scales.

Coco clipped white glass rods and assembled them into the word 'Pride' to show her support for more diversity in human relationships.

Charlotte's masterpiece was a white cross topped with yellow-and-purple stripes and surrounded by a border of pretty flowery glass beads.


Aside from using the kiln to fuse together flat pieces of glass, we learned another method called 'lampwork'. This can be used to sculpt three-dimensional forms.

By directing a steady flame like that of a Bunsen burner at the glass, a sculptor can manipulate the soft gooey glass into any shape.

Solid sticks of glass can be twisted into spirals or curled into beads.

The possibilities are endless - and not always serious.

Mak has created more than 80 cute miniature aliens with bulging eyes and big grins.

She also showed us some breathtaking glass tiles she created from sketches she drew of nature.

Our glass pieces paled in comparison, but we were happy with the results. We brought them home as keepsakes from that day.

The workshop was a wonderful opportunity to learn about glass art.

We realised that glass need not be thrown away; it could be reused in creative ways.

Unfortunately, the process of recycling glass commercially can be rather costly. Yet creativity can come to the rescue. With some imagination, you can refashion glass into anything you want.

YP junior reporters Christophe Leung, Coco Lam, Tara Lee, Charlotte Chan, Charmain Li