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The Art of Glass Casting

Todd Sheridan

People often ask, why glass?

I know it sounds rather cliché, but it came from a dream.

During my training as a carver I often wondered what the carvings would look like if you could see right through them from behind the piece. This was more to do with the poupou, those carved ancestors placed around the walls within the wharenui.

We often disregard the chips from the carving, but it brought back memories of one of my mentors, John Bevan Ford who said, "what we take away is just as important as what we leave. This led me to understand more about negative space and the mouri, or life essence of the piece.

So whilst carving my first poupou this question kept popping up. I woke up early one morning shouting ‘glass’! My partner woke asking me 'what was the matter?'

“Nothing, just an idea”

So I’m now wide awake realising how simple the answer was.

But it also dawned on me that I had no idea how to work with glass. Early morning research revealed an introductory weekend workshop that was to happen later in the year. I also knew of a glass artist in Napier who explained what I needed to prepare a piece I wanted cast in glass before sending the sculptural piece to him.

The much anticipated workshop weekend arrived and I was pretty excited. Introductions out of the way and I was into my first glass casting workshop. Having had experience around metal foundries certainly paid off as I was to find out the process was very similar to bronze casting and aluminium ingot castings I did in my later teens.

All the participants were obediently following the first activity, but I wasn’t interested in doing a solid paper weight. I flipped the idea, literally and decided that in order for me to get the most out of this workshop I wanted to learn something to take back with me to use as part of my carving arts practice.

I worked with the idea of doing a vessel as I thought this process would be much more useful for me with my carvings. Carmen Simmonds, our lead facilitator, mentioned jokingly, that there is always one in the group that wants to be different.

I’m glad I opted for difference, because this has helped me immensely throughout my arts practice ever since. And the rest, a lot of it is here within this website.

Check out my glass collections here

And if you have any questions, send me a message here, I would love to hear from you.

Ngā mihi nui, nā Todd.

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