Meet the maker
I work from my studio in Edinburgh, Scotland, where despite having a rather large kiln, I still delight in making tiny and intricately detailed work in kiln-formed glass. I cut (hacked my way through) my first sheet of glass in 2000 during an evening class, before undertaking formal study at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Architectural Glass.
The making of my sculpture ranges broadly uses two techniques; water-jet cutting to produce the intricate shapes cut from the thick glass and screen-printing which enables me to print coloured glass enamels onto the surface, which is then permanently fired in place in the kiln.
Water-jet cutting has actually been around for well over a century with the first material being cut by steam powered high pressure jets of water in Victorian times, even if it was only paper! The technology now uses dangerously high pressure to stream a concentrated jet of water through a nozzle where it is mixed with abrasive garnet grit and directed by the computer to cut the shapes.
The traditional use of kiln-fired enamels dates back to medieval times, with the technique only changing with the advent of better controlled electric and digitally monitored kilns. I use screen-printing over digital printing of enamels as it gives a thicker layer of colour on the surface of the glass which upon firing is water-resistant, non-fading and will not peel or scratch off.
Rachel is currently showing a collection of her glass sculptures in our Hare we Go exhibition, until the 25th July 2015.