What Does it Take?

What does it take to move an idea into glass? To move from a concept to a finished, fine art, cast glass sculpture?

In this case, the idea is a Horse.

I hold a lifelong and ardent passion for these ancient beasts. For decades now, I have wanted to express, in glass, the essence of Horse… My delight in their form and physicality, and the thousands-year-old bond we share with this fine animal.

As a child I was fascinated by pictures I saw of prehistoric cave drawings. These were abstracted animal forms, drawn in the most modern manner. Then, some years later I was given a tiny glazed clay Horse that epitomized in miniature some of the bold lines I loved. Slowly the irresistible momentum built!

What really put me over the edge was that I began riding again, after a decades-long hiatus. It was time to begin, time to translate this passion into glass.

So, I just started…


And So, it Begins

Pages of Horse-doodles appeared in my sketchbook. I toss the form back and forth, emphasizing this, abstracting that. There is a certain feeling I gets when I am on the right track, a sense of motion, an energy to ride on. There is no end to this exploration. Each time my pen touches paper, it makes a new thing…

Eventually though, I need to move this concept out of two and into three dimensions. Moving into another dimension can be very scary. A drawing shows only one, static, viewpoint… A three-dimensional shape can be viewed form an infinite number of viewpoints… Better get this right… No pressure!

But I love it.

Aaaand… Into the Third Dimension (Insert Buzz Lightyear gesticulations here!)

So, I pull out some clay and start playing at it with my hands. Clay is the easiest material to make to make the complex shapes I see. My hands work the material, and the material answers back, and together my hands and the clay work back and forth to make the shape into what it should be.

I drift into a sort of dream state where my hands are hard at work and I am just watch them. As with paper, this shaping process could be endless… Until I realize I am making not ALL Horses, just one… a perfect one!

From Clay to Mold

At last, when the clay shape feels right, I start the multi-step process of transforming the soft clay into a hard mold that I can actually use again and again in casting my glass Horse…

I coat the clay with a silicon goop that hardens to a floppy rubber skin. A plaster backing piece is cast over this to hold it in shape, and once it hardens, the original clay piece is eased out. Now I have a very Horse-shaped void…

To make the actual shape I will press into the sand I carefully fill it with a special plaster and let it set. I carefully remove the backing piece and peel off the rubber coating and I have it… My Horse is now a hard mold, ready to be pressed in the sand.

So Many Steps

So many steps, each of which must be absolutely right… Always holding in front of me this vision, this vision of my glass Horse, my fine art cast glass sculpture HORSE!

Off to the Studio we go, where the pressure gets real!


Having the real animal surging between my legs made me realize the time had come. Then, recently, she began riding again, and it was time to begin.