Glass Roots Studio:
March 2013 saw the opening of a new studio-shop-showroom in the scenic little slowtown of Sedgefield on the Garden Route in the Western Cape. Here we welcome the curious, the gift-seekers, the space creators and all in between.
Glass Roots Designers
Helga Stassen is a qualified professional architect. She has always been mesmerized by the possibility to sculpt with light and has often found herself transfixed in a cathedral being showered in coloured light. Having an insatiable need to make things by hand and having discovered the wonders of kiln-formed glass in 2009, she decided to pursue her passion in working with this alchemical medium fulltime. To further deepen her knowledge she has attended courses in the United States, UK and Italy, and continues to study the intricate marriage between technical expertise and pure inspiration.
Bruce Mutenure was a carpenter by trade and joined the glass adventure when Glass Roots was a sprouted seedling. He is the production backbone of our studio and has a fine eye and respect for the perfection that the moody medium of glass demands. His journey as a glass artist is one of utilising his exclusive skill to climb the high mountains of colour, design and form.
Tariro Mutenure completes the current trio of glass musketeers bringing a dose of jewellery flair and a dollop of African fashion to the studio table. With her tweezers, pliers and patience she transforms little bits of glass into sensational wearable little art pieces.
Kiln-formed glass is the process of creating art glass by fusing components of glass together using a glass kiln. The components could be glass powders, grains, rods, tubes, ingots or most commonly sheet glass. The physical melting process of the art glass is called fusing, but casting the glass into moulds or slumping the already fused pieces into three dimensional shapes also forms part of kiln glass, sometimes called warm glass.
In contrast to blowing glass or lamp / flame working with glass, fusing glass is more a process of creative decision-making before energy is applied to the material. Based on knowledge and experience, the hoped-for end-result is envisioned, designed, planned and executed before it is placed in the dark kiln where extreme heat without the touch of a human hand transforms the vision into a reality.
In the kiln
Most of our pieces are fired in the kiln at least twice with a single firing taking between 13 and 17 hours to complete. They sit nicely (or sometimes not so nicely) at temperatures of up to 900°C, but mostly somewhere between 750°C and 820°C. During the cooling down phase the pieces are carefully annealed for at least an hour to allow the glass to regain its strength and toughness. Glass, being rather feminine in nature, enjoys being pampered after a hot high temperature session.