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Gorwelion Annwyl

' Gorwelion Annwyl' (Beloved Horizons) 2020

Late 2019 I was thrilled to be commissioned to design and create a piece to mark the momentous occasion of Geldards LLP (a Cardiff based Law firm) move to their new home in the exciting Capital Quarter of Cardiff. 

Familiarity with the surroundings of home can mean that we stop seeing their beauty and potential. Our youthful ambition is to leave home and travel to find new horizons that we believe will enable to realise our aspirations and dreams. 

But when we stop to look out at the beauty of Cardiff and the vibrancy of the City, combined with the glorious scenery synonymous with Wales, we cannot help but feel inspired by the horizons we can see from our doorstep. 

This piece. therefore, reflects heritage, pride and the promise represented by our own beloved horizons. The pillar-like forms and shapes echo the vibrant architecture of the City skyline and Cardiff Bay. The colours reflect the beauty and allure of the bay and horizons beyond. The water and bronze hood of the majestic Wales Millenium Centre are reflected in the warm, comforting glow of the steel blue and aurora yellow glass - a glowing feeling I hope that everyone gets when thinking of the place where they grew up. 

This work is intended to commemorate the beauty of our country, the Bay and the City of Cardiff. 

Scroll down to view information and photographs of the making process 

The Process

Initial Ideas

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To start the project off, I took a couple of trips to Cardiff Bay to take some photographs of the buildings and monuments in the Bay that have most impressed me over the life I have spent in Cardiff. 

I was particularly inspired by the colours of the water, the Wales Millenium Centre and Pierhead Building. I was also inspired by the pillars of the oval basin and the many tall impressive buildings surrounding the bay. 

After looking through this research, I made some sketches and came up with the concept and design for the piece. 

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Initial Maquettes and Colour Testing

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I decided that the next step was to create 3-dimensional cardboard models to get an idea of scale and how much glass colour and glass weight I as going to need. Once I had figured this out I was then able to test and choose the colours I wanted to use and get them ordered. 

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Making Moulds

The next stage was to figure out how to make moulds in the correct form to blow the glass into. 

My initial attempt failed and the plaster moulds I had created fell to pieces once I blew into them for the first time. Like all crafts, it doesn't always go the way you want and problems can occur. After going back to the drawing board I came up with a new design of wooden moulds which was successful, enabling me to continue to progress the project. 

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In the Hotshop 

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So the fun begins! Above is a small selection of videos of my assistant Ryan Ashcroft and I blowing the pieces in the hotshop. Glassblowing is intense and expensive work so therefore requires a lot of planning, preparation and concentration to avoid unwanted mistakes and wasting energy, money and time. 

Once I had made these pieces hot, they are put into an annealing kiln (at about 500-600 degree celsius) and are brought down slowly to room temperature overnight ready for me to retrieve, once cold, the following morning. 

In the Cold Shop