Furnace Project 2016

Gold-band glass and alabastra

The Borg Furnace Project 2016 was primarily devoted to the technique used to produce ancient gold-band glass.
This type of glassware is made from different coloured glass bands (generally known as “glass ribbons”), with gold being worked into some of the ribbons.

Gold-band glass appeared in only a few designs. One of them was alabastron,
which is a type of core-formed vessel. The first step in producing such a vessel was to shape the core. To do so, clay and organic material were placed around a metal rod and shaped into the form that the vessel was to have.
The coloured glass ribbons were fused to form a plate, which was then placed around the prepared core.
The glass was subsequently rolled, or “marvered”, until its surface was smooth.

Removing the core after it had cooled was an easy process that required plenty of water and a metal pick.


The steps in the process

Glass ribbons of different colours were produced by flattening small quantities of hot glass and stretching them with tweezers.
To create bands of gold glass, the glassmaker placed gold leaf between two colourless ribbons and fused them (Image 1).
The gold was now sandwiched between the two ribbons.

Several ribbons were fused to form a plate (Image 2), which was then wrapped around the core and heated further until the seam had completely fused. The glassmaker could then proceed to the final shaping (Image 3).

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