When making something that represents the slow passing of time, patience might seem like an obvious quality to need. After all, there’s no rush if you have all the time in the world. Borosilicate glass is also a material that likes to be taken slowly. You can’t hurry this glass, it will do what it wants at its own rate.
Unfortunately, in my eagerness to develop my oil lamp yesterday, I forgot all of this entirely and thus ended up learning a sharp lesson in the art of waiting.
I wanted to make an oil lamp and had sketched and planned a forest-coloured base with added texture to give it a more wood-like feel. This worked well, blew nicely and looked good. So far, so good. I wanted to wrap a rose ‘briar’ around this, and to bring the theme of time passing into the briar rose as well, planned to add rosehips, leaves, a dog-rose and a ‘dead leaf’ or two (the life-cycle of a rose, from flower to rosehip. Yes, I should have had buds as well but that was a step too far!). Being organised (for once!) I made these in advance and had them waiting in the kiln.
And here is where I came unstuck. Blown over by my organisation and forward-planning, I ploughed straight on having blown the bottle, attached the briar with clear dots and thought it safe to go right ahead with the additions, without allowing the glass to rest and anneal for a while. Bad idea! It took only half a minute before the inevitable ‘tink’ of cracking bottle.
I patched the crack enough to continue, heart in mouth, and immediately did what I should have done in the first place and popped the thing in the kiln for a good rest while the candle was made. Adding the extras was a lot easier with this lesson learned and several more kiln-stops but the final piece, imperfect in many respects, does also still leak slightly!
As a challenge, this has been rewarding. Looking at the oil lamp, there are a number of things that could be improved on (not least the leaking!). I’m not that happy with the separate briar and wonder if the leaves, hips etc.. should have been attached straight to the bottle or perhaps to a briar moulded onto the bottle. I would have liked the briar to have thorns, but possibly that would be another step too far.
This exercise has ended up as an illustration of time in many more ways than intended.