The Riddle of the Mirror

MA Thesis Final Work, 2019

Color and Material Research on Expressive Possibilities of Silver Glass Colors in Glassblowing

Absract 

The context of design is changing at a rapid pace. The impact of information technologies and digital creative tools continuously improving have revolutionized design practice. There has been a transition within the scope of a designer’s role - from simply giving form to a material to designing digital services. These developments have distanced design from tactile materiality. The designer, whose practice began as a material-based and rooted in the arts and crafts, must now rethink and reposition their creative processes and role within the current context of design.       


In this master thesis, I investigated this problem space by trying to answer the following research question: how does hands-on interaction with material influence the expressive and creative aspects of design practice? My method for investigating this research question is to engage in a practice-led research approach in which I explore the artistic potential of silver glass colors in glassblowing. I chose to research this topic in the field of glassblowing because of the intense physical interaction required between the artist and the material.      

              
In glassmaking, silver glass colors are used to create specific aesthetics, ranging from iridescent to silver mirrored surfaces. However, silver glass colors have been very challenging for many practitioners due to their unpredictable nature. I have considered this unpredictable material nature as a research opportunity to explore a reliable method of achieving silver mirrored results and to have artistic control of the wide metallic and iridescent palette. I have then applied these insights from material research to my artistic process and, with the help of relevant theory, I have reflected on both of these processes to investigate their intersection as a whole. My aim has been to determine the influence of hands-on material exploration on my design practice. 

Color and Material Research:
 

Silver Glass Colors and Reduction Reactions in Glass

This material research aims to explore the aesthetic and visual potential of silver glass colors and to search for a reliable method for producing neutral, silver-mirrored surfaces in glassblowing. Furthermore, the research aims to provide a set of guidelines for other creatives, which will enable them to utilize the potential of silver glass colors as a part of their artistic repertoire. I conducted this material research as one of the three integral parts of my MA thesis.

Research Process

Documentation and Archiving 

During the research process, I experimented with different parameters - temperature, color thickness, type of flame, duration - and documented their effect on reflective quality of silver mirroring effect and its color tint.

Sample library and Archives 

After each studio session, I carefully recorded all the available data about every individual glass bubble and photoshoot them in a white tent to avoid any extra reflection. This way, I could document them as they including their level of reflection and color tint. On one side, I used this checkered paper below to demonstrate their lens effect and reflection level. 

Reduction Phases and Color Change

Selected Samples and
Prototypes from Material
Research Experiments

Final works 

You can download the whole research from the link below:

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