For the month of November, we are interviewing artist Padrick Newton about his glass work.
I started blowing glass in August 2015, and within six months I quit my 9-5 to pursue my glass career. I knew it would have its difficulties, and within a couple months I was living in my car. It took a couple years, but now I’m living the van life with my doggo, traveling the country working and collaborating with artists and loving everyday. I plan to find some land in Wisconsin so I can build my first studio. It’ll be big enough for classes and traveling artists like myself. After that, I’ll start on my house, all the while working with the land and nature to create a sustainable living.
A torch and glass are the main tools I use. The uses of the torch are easy to imagine. Glass is probably the most frequently used tool; it can be used in place of most wood, steel, or graphite tools. Its main uses are for handling the hot glass, and when a piece gets larger glass rods are ideal for making bridges to make secure welds. Graphite hand tools are my most used man-made tools. Graphite is ideal for the heat; it can hold without sticking to the piece and allows the artist to manipulate the glass. Stainless steel and bee’s wax are used together to achieve the same effects but can be messy.
The kiln is used to keep the glass at a stable temperature for working in the flame. It can be programmed to strike the added metals for color and also to anneal the glass for a better, more stable finished piece. A typical spoon (pipe) can take as few as ten minutes and a sculpture can take days. Marbles the size of pool balls, for example, need to be cooled very slowly, and need to remain at temperatures of 1050 ℉, 900 ℉, and 700 ℉ for a few hours each. Lots of things are taken into consideration when creating an annealing cycle.