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  • Writer's pictureHazel Manley

Created in Fire

Updated: Aug 23, 2021


Created in Fire began as a pair of sketches reflecting on a time where it had seemed to be one (difficult) thing after another.

For many of us, this last year has also felt like it's been one thing after another. A year ago, we were just a little way into our first lockdown; now we're just cautiously peering out of our third and wondering when life will get back to something like normal (whatever that is), so perhaps this is a good time to share this piece and its story.

Watching the Glass Blowers

Ages ago, whilst on holiday, I spent time watching the glass blowers at the Isle of Wight Studio Glass Company.

Unlike a jam jar, the creation of a piece of studio glass is a much more complicated and time consuming affair.

There seemed to be three men working on one vase. One was obviously the master craftsman and the other two seemed to be there to assist him and anticipate his needs by passing red hot glass and other things. They'd developed a working rhythm that resembled a kind of slow motion carefully choreographed dance. The process was very labour intensive and the glass blowers' precision and skill were clear when you saw the finished pieces in the shop. Each was unique, yet there was a consistency in size and quality.

It Takes Time

Although I stood transfixed watching for a long time, I didn't see all the processes as they had already started on a vase and I had to leave before it was finished. It was heated and reheated in the furnace many times as various strands of coloured glass, pigments and even gold were added to what had begun as a glowing red blob.

A guide told us this vase would go through around seventy steps and even when complete, it couldn't just be left on a shelf to cool, because that would leave it very brittle as the glass would be full of unseen stresses. It has to be left in a special warm cabinet to cool very slowly.


It was this memory that suddenly dropped into my heart as I contemplated my struggles. Somehow, I found it encouraging and it led to the sketches that later formed the basis for the oil pastel painting.

The picture is a reminder that, whilst the process is not quick, it's certainly not comfortable, and sometimes it appears that no progress is being made at all, it is not without purpose. In the right hands, something ordinary can be transformed into something beautiful that is treasured.

Created in Fire

Created in Fire is an oil pastel on acid free linen textured paper. It is approximately 420 x 297mm. It is available through my website here: Created in Fire.

If you would like to find out more about the amazing properties of glass, you might enjoy this video about Prince Rupert's Drop.

If you would like to see some of Dale Chihuly's work, you might enjoy this article about his 2019 exhibition at Kew Gardens.


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