Seattle-based artist Carol Milne knits with glass, or rather, she creates wonderful glass sculptures that make it seem as though she’s either a superhuman glass knitter or in possession of enchanted knitting needles and very specialized gloves. The reality is actually much more complicated, but no less awesome. Milne invented her glass knitting technique back in 2006. It’s a process that involves knitting with wax instead of glass, followed by lost-wax casting, mold-making and kiln-casting.
First, a model of the sculpture is made from wax which is then encased by a refractory mold material that can withstand extremely high temperatures. Next, hot steam is used to melt the wax, leaving behind an empty cavity in the shape of the artwork. Pieces of room temperature glass are then placed inside the mold which is then heated to 1,400-1,600 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the type of glass. Afterward, the piece is slowly cooled over a period of several weeks, followed by a careful excavation process, where Milne delicately chips away like an archaeologist to reveal the final piece.
As per usual in these art situations I am torn between admiration and an irrational, territorial jealousy.