Heart of Glass - Blenko Glass

Blenko Glass is a West Virginia treasure that spans generations. Nothing symbolizes the state of West Virginia better or more beautifully than Blenko Glass. We will discuss current and former craftsmen and designers and how important it is that Blenko and West Virginia glass be appreciated and valued by the younger generation.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

In the Mix: Glass and Ceramics (combining while hot)

In the Mix: Glass and Ceramics (combining while hot)

The current issue of GASnews (Glass Art Society Newsletter), Spring 2013 has a very interesting article  concerning the quest to combine WHILE HOT the two materials glass and ceramics.

 Below are the first three paragraphs from the article, so you can decide if you want to read more at
By Dr. Jessamy Kelly

As an undergraduate student, I was always told that glass and ceramics could not be combined in a hot state and that I should not waste my time trying to make them mix; it just would not work. Many glass students have received this same message at some point in their education.  At the time I did not like hearing this information, but relented and decided that perhaps gluing them together was a good option. This got me an effective quick fix, but a few years later I decided I wanted more. I applied some perseverance to this challenging question: how do I mix these two difficult materials in a hot state? My doctoral research managed to answer this question and turn the first statement on its head - glass and ceramics can indeed be combined in a hot state.

I completed my practice-based PhD at the University of Sunderland in 2009.  Through my research I successfully combined glass and ceramics in a hot state, resulting in the creation of a unique series of blown and cast artworks that fused the two mediums into one. The opportunity to re-write glass and ceramics history was quite a coup – although if anyone had seen my earlier testing they would have thought I was quite mad, and indeed possibly wasting my time, as most of the samples cracked at the beginning. Until I found my secret ingredient – quartz added to bone china. In this article, I will talk about my research, my search for materials that would aid my testing and the artworks that were created. I will also talk about the scientific, historical and contemporary context that inspired and guided me through this process.

It is usually best to start off with the material science; the mediums of glass and ceramics are renowned for being difficult to combine, and are usually regarded as being incompatible due to differences in the materials’ structure. Basically, glass expands when you heat it and ceramic shrinks. Glass and ceramics have many related material qualities and are processed in similar ways. Chemically they are alike; however structurally they are very different, which creates compatibility issues when they are combined in a hot state.


Dr.BOB said...

The Tonny Patti blog post are most interesting.
I appreciate his knowledge and that he shares with you
and with us.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

OK lets return to Blenko
Did you know Blenko is doing a series of the mini water bottles
one in a different color for each month?
Why not talk about this?
Blenko Glass and what is happening.
Georgia B.