Sun, Nov 16, 2003 - Page 17 News List

The costs and benefits of working in glass

By Derek Lee  /  STAFF REPORTER

In addition to lost-wax casting, which is favored by Tittot artists in Taipei, there are a number of modern techniques adopted by glass artists world-wide.

Of the three most important glass art centers in the world today, Prague, with a 400-year-old tradition in the industry, is best-known for its outstanding cutting techniques. Venice, on the other hand, possesses expertise in glass-blowing as well as hot forming. Seattle is distinguished for its installed art.

Sunny Wang (王鈴蓁), a Taiwan- and Australia-trained artist, says that compared with ceramics, mastering glass art techniques is more difficult and time consuming. It requires more expensive hardware and the cost of good-quality glass granules or powder is 10 times higher than the price of pottery clay in Taiwan.

Furthermore, the time taken for glass to anneal is around three days, whereas ceramics usually take one day. This means that the electricity bill for glasswork is up to three times higher than that of ceramic workshops. Also, glass art objects are generally cheaper than ceramic artifacts in Taiwan, which could be an indication that the local market for top-quality glasswork has not ripened yet.

Nevertheless, Wang still prefers glass art production. "I am simply fascinated by the transparency, rich colors and the unusual sense of space that glassware presents. It really cannot be found in any ceramic artworks."

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