Working in an industrial building on the edge of the Waikareao walkway, Jo spends her day amongst sheets of coloured glass, bags of plaster and silica flour, pots of powder, chunks of wax, three kilns, a gas torch and lots of multi-coloured glass rods!
Jo is a glassmaker – but not a glassblower – and is keen to enlighten people on the different glass genres.
“Most people know what glass blowing is, but when I say I do flameworking and kilnforming, they look blank!” says Jo.
“I use plaster silica moulds to cast glass into ornaments and sculptural items. I use ceramic moulds to slump and fuse glass to make platters, vases, bowls and plates. And I melt glass on a gas torch to make jewellery.”
Part of Jo’s business involves glassmaking demonstrations, which she absolutely loves, because when people watch flameworking, they get drawn into the magic of how glass changes from a solid to a liquid and back to a solid again.
All of these glass genres require a kiln, and Jo says every time you lift the lid of the kiln it’s like Christmas!
“There is anticipation and excitement – you are never quite sure how your creation is going to turn out! With casting and fusing, most of the work is done when the glass is cold, then the heat and gravity inside the kiln shapes and finishes your piece. Because you can’t see this process happening, it’s always a buzz when you open the kiln for the ‘revealing’! ”
Glassmaking is a real mix of science and art, and a variance of five degrees in heat can be the difference between a masterpiece and a fiasco. A huge amount of testing and research goes into each piece before it is ready for market.
Jo’s work can be viewed at her online gallery and shop at www.jotrickerglass.com, at any of her stockists, or in person at her studio/showroom at 5 Oak Lane, Judea, Tauranga.