How We Craft: Part 2 Mold Making

How We Craft: Four Part Series

Part 2 Mold Making

Mold Making Process

Unlike blown glass, the Annieglass slumping process only allows you the use of heat, gravity and a mold. Every piece has a duplicate ceramic mold that the decorated glass slumps into. We engineer each piece of Annieglass from scratch.

The great difficulty of the Annieglass process is getting an idea into a physical form. It requires considerable creativity and a knack for visualization.

One of Annie’s biggest frustrations she had to overcome was how the simple slumping process would completely alter her original design. Over the years, the patience and experience of the research and design team has made the process more streamlined but as designs become more challenging so does the problem-solving. For every new design, there can as many as 12 failed attempts.

Working under buyer deadlines twice a year does not leave much room for error. Prototyping continues all year long. 80% of the success of a new piece is in the mold so a lot of time and expertise is required. Luckily we have a master mold maker, Lloyd, who has been making molds for a lifetime with more than 20 years at Annieglass. Our largest mold, the Poppy, takes up to one month to dry.

Shown below is Annie carving the Annieglass Poppy Sculpture mold.

The Annieglass Mold Making Process:

Step 1: Annie sculpts the clay into her desired shape

Step 2: Refines the shape of mold and glass for slumping process with Lloyd, the master mold maker

Step 3: Experiments with various decorative techniques with decoration team

Step 4: Tests how it works in the Annieglass production process

Lloyd, shown above & below, the Annieglass master mold maker. 

Kiln Loading

Loading is very precise. The decorated glass is placed and balanced on top of the mold. If done incorrectly the glass will slide off the mold or fire lopsided. Years of experience have taught us the best practices. Levels are used for some molds to ensure accuracy.

Some of the biggest sculptures take up a whole kiln, while others are placed with heat directed from the top or sides depending on the piece and angle of slumping.

 Shown above Annieglass Ruffle Hearts in the kiln after firing. 

Read How We Craft: Part 1 Engraving