Landscape Vases for the One88 Gallery Exhibition, in Katoomba.

A series of vases with a landscape theme.  Each vase is named after different places I have visited over the last forty years.

These vases were made with the assistance of Wayne Trompp and Leigh Cunningham.

Govett’s Leap, near Blackheath, NSW.  A favourite place to visit and a stunning view of the Blue Mountains.

The Warrumbungles.  This range of mountains has many pointed peaks.  Often seen in the distance on the way to Coonamble and visited many years ago.

The You Yangs, Victoria would hardly be noticed from the highway from Melbourne to Geelong.  I remember driving through these low hills in the 1970’s.

Mt Bogong is in the Victorian alps.  My friends and I hiked up the mountain in the rain and snow in 1974.

The Grampians, in south west Victoria.  We lived in Hamilton for a couple of years, in the early 80’s and visited different parts of the Grampians many times.  Lot’s of steep hikes and fun.


We did our only session of glass for this year in March.  We are shifting from McGraths Hill and will have to set up the glassworks somewhere else.

Updates will follow…







Recent Glass

A platter made from one of the big kiln fired plates.  This plate cracked quite a while after it was made.  I think some of the colours were incompatible.  So I glued it together and put it in the front garden, until I decided what to do with it.  The platter was designed to use the colour in the best way.  It measures close to 800 mm tall.

Violet and Wine Red Vase

Carmine Red and Teal Green Vase

Aquamarine and Saffron Vase.

Flower vase.  It takes three people to make this pattern.

We saw a Youtube clip from Peter Layton making his Sunflower vases.  It’s not as easy as it looks on the video.


Nearly finished the Flower Vase.  Large pieces like this can take an hour and half or longer to make.


The first and second attempts at making the flower patterns.  We used a different mold to the one on the video for the second piece as it gave better definition for the flower shapes.

To make these mosaic pieces we made two lots of canes, fused them in bundles then pulled them into a square sided thicker cane.  This was then chopped up so the pattern is the cross section of the bundle of canes.  The mosaics were then preheated and picked up on a gather to make the vase.

This was a very heavy gather, at the end of the week’s work.  If the glass weighs five kilos, it is actually feels like ten kilos to carry around because you are holding the pipe half way along.

Shaping the final gather.  The mosaics had to be reheated a number of times to smooth the surface.  Any gaps would trap bubbles in the final gather.  It is possible to leave the mosaics on the surface and this would give some texture to the glass.

The finished vase.  Very heavy and interesting to see the reflections of the patterns in the different layers.


This vase was designed by Levi and Jonathan.  Easy to design but it took three of us, or more to make.  The base is made separately to the neck and then joined.  Just like that.

Look up Dante Marioni’s work, but we have a long way to go to get there.

A new shape for vases.

Carmine, my favourite colour.


These vases were made over Christmas.  This is the incalmo technique where two colours are joined.


A Celedon flattened vase for Jane’s roses.  It’s a delightful, soft colour.

September, 2016.

Update on recent work.


A very large fluted bowl inspired by the work of Dale Chihuly.  Here’s a link to a Youtube clip of the last couple of minutes of the hour long process.


Christmas glass session.  Lave red and aquamarine blue incalmo bowl with internal inclusions inspired by the work of Keith Rowe.


More Incalmo.  Some of my favourite colours.  Wine red and chilli red.  The chilli red is a Kugler colour from Germany.  Most of our colours are from Gaffer Glass in NZ.


The view inside.



Canary Yellow and Saffron incalmo vase.


Wine red with internal decorations.


Wine red with gold leaf.


Saffron and flouro green incalmo.


Lava red (Kugler glass) and Forest green.


Saffron with gold leaf in the clear lip.


Wine red lip and base with inclusions.


This is one of our favourite pieces.  Wine red and flouro green.


Triple incalmo.  Wine Red, Canary Yellow and Chilli Red (Kugler).


Chilli Red.  This colour is semi transparent and just glows.


Some earlier cane work inspired by the work of Lino Tagliapietra.


Some photos from a newspaper article in the Hawkesbury Gazzette under the title: “Slow dancing with glass…”  Here’s a link to the article and photos:




Copper and silver colours.


My brother Colin working with me over Christmas.  He kept encouraging me to focus on the incalmo pieces with internal decorations.


Colin is a doctor and did a great job at helping.



A very hot trim.  Hot enough to burn my hand so the next time I wore a leather glove.



Light shades and hanging glass feature at Concord Church.  The Lecturn was also part of the art work for the church.



Closeup of hanging glass.


Recent work.




More incalmo pieces.  Teal green with grey lip.


Aquamarine with charcoal grey lip.


Teal green and grey.


Just a revision of our work on large plates.  The vermillion red plate.  This plate measures 50 inches or 1.25 meters and weighs about 50 kilos.




A slightly smaller and lighter plate.  The yellow is very bright.l1170438


First try with red and blue.  Another red and blue plate is on the way.


This plate is a mixture of pink, yellow and black with reactions between the three.  The reactions give some green, blue and purple tonings.



Some closeups of the colour.



The last plate we’ve made.  The photos will be more impressive once the plate is finished.  It still needs to have the base ground with the diamond disk.  That only takes a day to do.


I used orange glass in the middle but at the moment it looks maroon.  It may look different once it is finished.

The only other news is that I have to replace the tank in the melting furnace because it has cracked and started losing glass.

September 14, 2016.




August, 2015

Last year I took my long service leave and was able to do more glass than usual.  The new furnace is working really well, but it’s going to be upgraded soon.

Just a few photos of the team.  Wayne and Leigh at work.  Leigh started just this year.







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The Very Large Glass Kiln.

It took two years to build the kiln from scratch.  I’ve made lot’s of spun glass plates in a smaller kiln but I wanted to make them even bigger.

Here’s one of the smaller plates.

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They measure about 20 inches in diameter.

Building the large kiln…

Milling the main shaft from 75 mm bright steel bar.


The base is insulated with soft fire bricks.




The top is insulated with high temperature blanket.  There are eight elements which draw about 80 amps.


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Switched on.



We had to install 3 phase power to the garage to run the kiln.  When the kiln switches on all the lights in McGraths Hill go dim.

Some pictures from the first firing.  It took about three weeks to fire the first plate and grind it.



The colours were added just before the final shaping of the glass.

Here are two links to a Youtube video that show the whole process.

(The second video works on smart phones.)


The stand holds the plate and makes it possible to turn it over and keep it in position for grinding.  The first plate weighed 70 kilos.  The red plate weighed 50 kilos.

The blue plate broke in half, but that gave us the challenge of making something sculptural.




The red plate, using my favourite colour from Gaffer Glass, which is Vermillion.



Recent Glass From 2015.

A set of 41 tall vases, with square bases (blown into a steel mold) made for the Hawkesbury Gallery exhibition.






More glass from 2015.



This pink and orange piece was made by Wayne.  Very impressive.

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Detail of the pattern.

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A large bowl in Dale Chihuly’s style.




















A vase in Lino’s style.

The new pot just arrived from China.  This will hold nearly three times as much glass as the old one and will make it easier to do a week of blowing.

The hard part will be pulling the furnace apart and putting the pot in.  Then it has to be heated up very slowly before we load the first batch of glass.



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Until next time…

April, 2014

April Session

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These are Wayne’s pieces.  This bowl is stunning with a mix of gold ruby, aquamarine and orange.


Cherry red and aquamarine.


The saffron with the aquamarine reacts on contact giving the darker colours.

The main focus this session was on cane work.


Plain blue canes.


Three sets of canes.  Blue and black filigree and fine white lines.  Click on the photo to see the detail.


Twisted ribbon canes and white.


Black filigree.  The texture reminds me of weaving.


Blue filigree or lattice canes.


This is my favourite of the filigree cane pieces both for its shape and red highlights.


A larger piece with blue rosettes and white canes in the background.  Next time I will put 24 canes in the decorations.

Rosie and I spent a whole day making canes.  Most of them had a white core with a colour overlay.  We are still learning how to get them right.


A large vase with free form cane work.  Saffron and aquamarine are my favourite colours for these canes.



This piece took Rosie and I over an hour.  We tried a Lino method which begins by picking up the canes, then shaping them so they curve around the base.


Some more cane work.


The ribbon cane has a vermillion centre and black filigree on the outside.  Click for more detail.  We also finished it with a very small hole in the top.


A large flattened bowl.L1120871



This is a delightful piece using cherry red chips and black enamel (powder).  I’ve been experimenting with twisting the chips on the gather, then using the optical mold to rib the colour, then twisting again.  It’s very effective.

Now for a series of bottles as requested by the Boss.


The first set of colours are mixtures of copper and silver based glass.  The reaction between these two types of glass give some earthy and milky effects.  Silver based glass can be blue or yellow and copper gives light blue or red.

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Gold ruby (pink) and saffron.


The largest of the set.  Plain pink.


Some dichroic pieces, leaving the colour on the outside.  This also gives a rough texture to the colour.


A tall dichroic vase.


Finally a fruit bowl with a twist.

That’s it for the present.

New Furnace


Building a New Glass Furnace.

Before leaving for New Zealand, I decided to start building a new furnace.  The old one was about had it.  So out with the old and in with the new.

I’ll just put captions on the photos of each stage.



Main support for furnace base.  50mm square box section.  Octagonal to support a circular steel plate.

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Angle grinder set up to cut a large circle.


The disk is about one metre and 6 mm thick.


Steel disk topped with some thinner stainless just to minimise corrosion.

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One very strong base with solid aluminium wheels.

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Closeup of wheel.

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Insulating fire brick, three layers thick which is about 9 inches.


A steel mitre box to keep the saw straight.  These firebricks are high quality, very light and soft enough to cut with a handsaw.  They are made of alumina or aluminium oxide which is commonly used in furnace building.


Each brick gave me two pieces to add to the circle.


Rubbing the bricks together gave them a perfect fit.

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The centre needed a diameter of 16 inches.

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All finished and tied up with wire.

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The tank or crucible for the glass sits in this cavity.  There is a minimum of 9 inches firebrick all around and underneath.

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The stainless steel case.


Mixing the vermiculite, clay and water for packing between the stainless and the firebricks.

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This had a month or more to dry out before I finished the top.


The internal shape for the high temperature dome.


Internal and external mold for the castable refractory or high temperature cement.


The casting finished and wrapped up to cure.

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Cast finished.  Very heavy and strong.  It took three or four of us to lift it into place.



Door mechanism working.

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Blanket insulation in place.

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Inside view.




All fired up, ready to load.

I pre heated the furnace with an electric element for nearly a week, then started the gas.  We blew glass for over three weeks and the new furnace didn’t use any

more gas than the old one.  It is better insulated and gives better quality glass.


One ton of glass batch.  Forty bags at twenty five kilos each.

The End.

February Session

February, 2014.

We did just over three weeks of blowing in February.

The first pieces focused on black canes with clear glass.  Some of them were quite monumental.  The first three pieces were a team effort with Wayne and Jonathan helping.



The largest piece with black cane rosettes.  I made the rosettes first and kept them hot in the top hat kiln, then picked them up on the main gather.


Twisted cane pattern with flattened sides and a pulled neck.  Looks a bit like a snake skin.


Fine line canes with a pulled neck.


Fine line canes on a flattened piece.


This piece was very tall when we put it away but a crack ran about half way down the neck.


Black and white canes.



More black and white canes but picked up and wrapped around the base.




Same technique as the previous two black and white pieces.


Another team effort.  We picked up one set of canes and made a small pot then put it in the top hat kiln to keep warm.  Then we picked up another set of canes and blew this gather into the pot.  Hence the lattice effect.  This is quite a long process.


Some rosettes and fine line canes with added colour.



Another lattice piece with two cane pick ups.  Plus a pulled neck.



Rosie and I made some cane with a very fine black line in it.  We will do more of this style.  The colour is vermillion.



Here is a cherry red transparent with the fine black canes.



These canes are twisted to give a lattice effect.


Orange transparent with canes.



Twisted ribbon canes and plain black canes.  This is a classic looking piece.


Some of the twisted and straight canes Rosie and I made.  We had better success with canes this time than before.




Red and blue vase.


Jonathan’s last piece.  Quite arty.


Colours ready for making birds and cats.  Hundreds of them.


The latest fashion in birds.


And cats.


The last gasp for the session.  One very large colourful bowl.

The End.


This is a brief report on our month away in NZ.  It has little to do with glass blowing, although we visited two studios in the North Island.  One was in Rotorua called “De Flute Glass” and the other was near Taupo called “Lava Glass”.  It was interesting to see what other glassblowers are making.  We also saw some glass in a couple of galleries in Queenstown, which is very much a tourist mecca.

The main purpose of this page is to show you some of my better pictures of South New Zealand.  We lived in Christchurch for six years and so some of the places we went were quite familiar to us.

Here they are.


 Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu, Looking towards Glenorchy.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound.  The camera cannot capture the grandeur of this fiord.

  Lake Heron

Lake Heron with some fresh summer snow on the mountains.


A place called Mesopotamia.  The valley along the headwaters of the Rangitata River.

Lake Camp

Lake Camp, on a rare still morning.  There’s usually a wind blowing from the north-west or the south.

Bumble Bee

A bumble bee in Hagley Park, Christchurch.

I took over 6,500 photos in New Zealand.  Most of them will stay on the computer and never be seen again.  I put about a 1,000 on the iPad while we were travelling and now have a selection of 60 or so favourites.

My next report will be the glass from the new furnace.  Maybe I will show how I built the furnace as well.  That’s if it works well.

Report on the Exhibition

Wayne and I had nearly forty pieces to put in the gallery for the exhibition.  A local reporter put our story in the Hawkesbury Independent.

The staff at the gallery were really enthusiastic about having our glass on display.  They’ve done a great job setting things up and promoting everything.


All set up in the Gallery.

When all the pieces were set out in the room they looked smaller.  Of course the glass artworks for the Ranamok Prize were mostly much larger.




Four of Wayne’s pieces.


New Glass.

I thought the middle of October would be mild weather.  However we had the hottest three or four days so far this spring.  The Wednesday was close over 35 degrees.  I had a couple of fans running to keep a bit cooler and drank lots of water and juice.



A friend of the family wanted some glass for a wedding anniversary.  The large bowl has magic colours.  The vase was also included.

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Wayne made this amazing piece.  He has a good sense of colour.  The base was getting a bit thin so we added a clear foot.

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Lot’s of flattened vases.  I tried wetting the cork blocks but they didn’t work well.  Once they dried out they were back to normal with lot’s of smoke and the occassional fire.


These two vases use similar colours to the large bowl, but I didn’t put any black enamel with the colour.



The tallest teal green vase is a metre high.  I got the piece as hot as I could control it then hung it up and watched it stretch.  It almost touched the floor.  I’m learning how to put these tall pieces in the annealing oven.  I can only put them in the large oven.  They have to cool down as much as possible before they are cracked off.  Of course if the vase gets too cool it will crack.

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This vase had three pastel colours mixed and dropped off the pipe before the bubble was started.  Then the top started bending so I grabbed one side with the diamond shears and added a bit of character.


A Zebra or Tiger pattern.



I like this piece for the plain colour and the even shape.


A free form sculpture or rather an accident.  This was meant to be a paperweight but I stuck on the door of the furnace.  I had to get it out of the furnace as it’s a bit of a disaster if all that colour ends up in the tank.  So by the time I’d got it unstuck it didn’t look anything like a paperweight.  Hence the freeform shape.


This is what a good paperweight looks like.

That’s it for the moment.

I thought I should add a few more photos about the three vases with the lattice and divided colours.


Here are the pieces being picked up from the top hat kiln.

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Each side piece is made starting with the colour and then the canes.  Next time we will make more canes so we can match Lino’s pattern better.  I think the black canes are a bit overpowering.

Here are some more lattice vases which were also flattened.  The cork paddles can be very smokey and even catch on fire.


I’ve since learnt the cork paddles should be kept in water.  So we’ll see how that works next time.

Here are the lattice, flattened vases.





My favourite is the tallest one with less canes.  The one with the angled cut off top was another 300 mm longer but it wouldn’t have fit in the annealing oven and the lip was too thick and ugly.  Just click on the pictures to see them better.

The tallest one measures in at 600mm or 24 inches.

Another pleasing effect was using chips of colour, twisting the gather and then flattening the piece.  So some more flattened, flavour of the month, vases.

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The colour and patterns are delightful and remind me a bit of weaving.  My Mother is a weaver.

I need to formally introduce the people who have worked with me in the glass works over the last few years.

Some are volunteers and some are conscripts.  My wife Rosie helps me occasionally.  I’ve worked out that it’s not a good idea to be bossing the wife around, as needs to be done when there’s some hot glass to play with.  Things need to be done in just the right way and done quickly.  Carly and Leesa, my daughters have helped a bit and Daniel and Cameron have had the odd go at helping with a paperweight or a blown piece.

I have an apprentice.  Wayne is a postman, therefore a very important person.  He’s been learning for about four years and is now able to make a vase without any help or constant advice.  He’s also able to help with more complicated pieces.


Rosie at 2

Wayne flattening a vase.


Richard helping to keep a piece hot while other things are happening.

I’ve also had my nephew Jonathan starting to work with the glass as well as guiding the design of some pieces.

Here are some of his pieces.



You’ve seen them before.  And an earlier piece.


And here are some pieces that Raquel designed.

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We had some trouble with the pastel colours.  This piece had a colour in it that was incompatible.  The colour wasn’t from Gaffer.


The problem colour cracked, so I threw the rest of it out.

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Here are some of Wayne’s pieces.

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Richard also designed and helped with this piece.


Richard’s wife, Peta chose the colours and designed these.


A paperweight made with the leftover glass of the twisted cane vase.



And a small pot using twisted canes and Gaffer canes.

L1090258Now for some news.  Wayne and I have been asked to exhibit our glass in an exhibition at the Hawkesbury Gallery in Windsor.  The exhibition starts early October.  The main exhibition is the Ranamok Glass Prize and our glass will be in a small room off the main gallery.  It’s exciting to be involved.

Have a happy day.