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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Inner space in sculpture: the use of metal inclusions in glass

Bialek, Goshka (2017) Inner space in sculpture: the use of metal inclusions in glass. Doctoral thesis, University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


The focus of this research was to investigate methods of combining two materials, metal and glass, specifically concentrating on the application of a variety of metals in glass, with different glass techniques, for creative use. Metal inclusions in glass constitute an element in the further development of my artistic practice. However, it was found that the palette of metals used by artists was restricted. This is because the present methods available for artists have demonstrated many limitations and uncertainty of results. Therefore, this research aims to explore the solutions to combining metal and glass in artistic practice.
The study also covers the history of inclusions in glass, and their aesthetic function in craft and art, as well as the perception of inner space occupied by inclusions. The nature of this perception is an important element in understanding why artists are intrigued by inclusions.
Current practice in this field is illustrated through an evaluation of the works of a number of artists who employ glass and inclusions (especially metal). These artists were chosen because they have connections with industry or interests in technology which they apply in their artistic practice. The research also investigated these artists’ personal technical procedures and the specific reasons for the development of their procedures. The artists were asked, wherever possible, to provide a statement relating to their technical and creative practice, and the difficulties they encountered. The collected data was partly used to determine directions for research.
Following this, the application of metals in glass as a distinctive method of creating shape and internal structure along with issues relating to transparency, clearness and texture to glass were explored. Studio based experiments to identify creative parameters for combining glass and metal, especially in the hot state, and process routes that allow the combining of these two materials in the hot state were developed and tested. This testing was further extended by compatibility studies and developing applications of metal in glass that would avoid problems arising from incompatibility issues. In particular, experiments were concentrated on nickel, nickel alloys, lead and tin alloys in hot poured glass formed in moulds.
The results of these investigations were explored in the context of the application of metals with glass in various industries, the scientific developments in these fields and the possibility of applying these materials and techniques for creative use by an artist in a studio environment.
The original contribution to knowledge is mainly to be found in the techniques for applying metals, particularly nickel, lead and tin alloys, in glass in a hot stage to creative practice. These techniques especially relate to:
▪ building high temperature resistant moulds with a very fine textured surface
▪ developing a method for the application of nickel (up to 3mm = 118.11mil thickness) and lead/tin (up to 5mm = 196.85mil thickness) alloys with hot pouring glass using the mould method
▪ developing appropriate firing cycles to control the application of inclusions
▪ identifying lubricants and appropriate methods for applying them to prevent reaction and incompatibility problems between different materials.
A further original contribution of this research relates to the assemblage and interpretation of views concerning the perception of inner space in glass sculpture occupied by inclusions.
The subject of this research may be a stimulus to increase cooperation between scientists and artists, as well as promoting understanding of inclusions through a different approach to this subject.

FINAL - Goshka Bialek PhD Inner Space in Sculpture 11September2017.pdf

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Depositing User: Barry Hall


Item ID: 8738

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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2018 13:56
Last Modified: 26 May 2021 13:31


Author: Goshka Bialek

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries


Glass and Ceramics > Glass

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