Over a year ago, we began working with a very talented glass artist and his team of glass blowers in Pittsburgh, just a short flight away. We showed them our first sketches of the grand apothecary jars, soap dish, and perfume bottles we were looking to create, to complement the art-nouveau-inspired metal designs for our new vanity collection for spring 2013.
We talked about wanting a very soft, somewhat translucent pale-pink and celadon-green glass, gently highlighted with gold “dashes.” Glass blowers use frit–actual colored glass powders–to tone each piece. How this frit is applied will greatly affect the design.
At first, they dipped the tip of their blowpipe in a furnace full of molten glass to mouth-blow a glass prototype so we could start to see how our drawings would translate to an actual vessel. When hot, the glass glows a deep orange and the final color cannot be seen.
Slowly, as the piece comes to life, you can begin to see what the finished color will look like.
On this very warm day, one of the assistants threw on a flame-retardant suit so he could place this sample piece in another furnace, or annealer, to slowly cool the glass overnight. The next day, we were all able to see the completed pieces and decide on the next steps.
For a few months, various shapes and colors were tried, and the final wooden molds were made to ensure that our metal designs would fit each one perfectly. The finished perfume bottles have delicate swirled gold speckles, while the grand apothecary jar is a showcase of larger gold animal-like spots.
How exciting it is, a year later, to see 85 perfectly beautiful perfume bottles all lined up and waiting for the glorious floral enameled and stoned stoppers (from our NY studios) to finish them–each one individually crafted with great talent and pride from these two amazing workshops.