Fused Glass Artistry

Less is More – Downsizing a Vase

We’ve been taught to believe that bigger is better.  When presented with a draping mold, I always made full use of it.  A mold that stands 7″ high should produce a vase that also stands 7″ high.  But of course!  In fact, I’ve been apologetic that I couldn’t produce larger, more glorious vases due to the size of my kiln.

Imagine my surprise when I got an inquiry about miniature bud vases.  What exactly did they want?  A tall but narrow vase?  A short vase?  And more importantly, what could I actually make?  I had never considered my options.

Let’s start with the draping molds or so-called floral drapers I had access to.

Floral drapers

On the right is a mold which stands 7″ tall with a top (the final vase base) that is 2.5″ in diameter.  On the left, is a stainless steel pillar also 7″ tall but with a narrower 1″ diameter.  Both have been coated with boron nitride (MR-97) which is a glass mold release and makes the shiny stainless look white.

All my previous vases started with a 12″ sheet of glass that would drape around the mold at elevated temperatures and produce a 7″ tall vase.  (See my previous post https://geekgirlglass.com/2013/10/19/feeling-the-heat-temperature-dependence-of-draping-vases/) .  My obvious first attempt to shrink a vase was to repeat the process but starting with a 8.75″ sheet of glass with rounded edges.  The result was a funky, short fat vase that stood 5″ tall.

DSCN1674

How about using the 1″ diameter floral draper?  I went with a 6″ square of rose colored transparent glass.  (Yes, I kept decreasing my starting glass size).  That ended up with a 4″ vase with a small 1″ base and rosy’ flames’ creating the sides.

Smaller! Smaller!

Next attempt used a 7″ circle draped over the 2.5″ form.  I played with blue frit on the border and confetti glass pieces to create a tribute to Mondrian.  This ended up more like a bowl than a vase.  Total height = 2″.

Fourth variation really pushed the limits.  Only a 4.5″ circle of glass was draped over the 1″ form.  This resulted in a truly petite 2″ tall vase.  Perhaps this is only good for holding a few Jelly-Bellies?

Here is the final line-up of vase variations.

DSCN1683As you can see, I have a much broader range of vase options than I thought.  I had a blast pushing the limits of down-sizing with this project.  In the end, I must agree with Mies Van der Rohe.  Yes, ‘less is more.’

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