Bubble power takes on cyberspace

May 23, 1997

RAY FLAVELL has a new medium for presenting images of the sea and cyberspace - air. Mr Flavell, head of the department of glass and architectural glass at Edinburgh College of Art, has developed a technique to create "drawings" in glass with air bubbles.

He was inspired by work he saw in his student days at the Orrefors glass factory in Sweden, using air to create patterns. "I can't claim total originality of technique, but the potential in my view has never been fully developed," he says.

"Their imagery is very loose and inaccurate, and depends on colour and line to give it emphasis. I've managed to gain a much greater control of the bubbles, and I've used the technique as the primary source of the image and not secondary support."

After a glass form is blown, tempered and cooled, images are sandblasted on to it through a stencil. The glass is then reheated and a layer of thin glass laminated on to it, sealing in the pattern.

Finally, it is coated in thick glass, which has a lens-like effect, magnifying the imagery.

Mr Flavell has exhibited his work, "Seaworld" and "eworld", with imagery of underwater creatures and new technology icons. He now hopes to turn his research into a practice-based PhD project, which would include moving and still images of the works of art, and the objects themselves, as well as a written report.

Edinburgh College of Art is an associate college of Heriot-Watt University, whose research committee is currently considering the proposal.

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