This August I had the opportunity to take a class at Pilchuck Glass School with Dr. Wayne Strattman. Wayne is a master of plasma neon glass sculpture. He has created many large scale installations for museums and Hollywood. Please visit his website to see his work. It is not traditional neon sculpture…
The process of creating gas-filled glass sculptures involves using borosilicate glass tubing and shaping it with handheld or bench-top torches. The difficult part involves welding pieces of tubing together, and making a good enough seal that it will hold a vacuum. Once you can accomplish that, it is possible to begin implementing your design ideas.
For two and a half weeks we practiced assembling our glass sculptures and filling them with gas. With Wayne’s guidance we used different types of gas, phosphor coatings, nichrome wire, and sandblast engraving to alter the color or appearance of the discharge inside the neon glass sculpture.
My future work will involve making kiln-formed panels and filling them with neon. It’s something I did in 1998 with James Nowak, and have not done any since then. Thanks to Wayne I’m much better equipped for success than I was back then!