Luke Jerram Day 7.5

Fingers Crossed Trip!

We last saw the homeless mould in the kiln, glass balanced on top precariously, as Mike Rowe lowered the lid to seal in the mummified body, and we set it to slump. It was a massive risk, especially as the mould needed drying and mod rock burning off, but we had nothing to lose in doing the drying all together on this first firing of the mould.  When the  controller was set, we felt relief……we had all done our very best to get it this far.

Helga and I were complete pessimists, Mike also backing us on this “be prepared for the worst” feeling we had. The mould was still throwing steam out when up at top temperature…..I thoughts were – Was it too hot? Was the glass going to break when cooling, was it going to melt too much and undercut? There were so many variables, and it’s in these moments you realise that there is power and the freedom in not knowing too much about the technicalities. Luke just dares to try it…

So on this basis of an estimated 15% chance we headed up to Yate to see the results of the firing – equipped with blankets and tarp, for wrapping a whole piece of glass or just bits of glass? Arriving at Mike Rowes studio, we were anxious, edgy and a bit….excited! Mike had not dared even to peek inside the kiln, which we thought was very restrained of him. As we held our breath, up went the lid on chains, revealing the most amazing sight..and it was all in one piece!  A melted human form, fragile and transparent, the essence of invisibility, just as Luke had described. Unable to believe our luck, (and Helga’s skills) we looked closer. Inevitably, some parts were stretched thin, paper thin, but we could not see any cracks. Now we had to get the glass off of the mould!

After some deliberation, and in the certain knowledge that there were undercuts restricting a clean lift, and unsure of the fragility of the whole piece, up it came, with a bit of wriggling and lots of caution!  We could not believe it when we were holding it in our hands, free of the mould. And it felt light……and way more stable than the flat sheet had done before! Luke had assured us it would feel stable and stronger, and it really did.

Out we carefully went into the garden, laid it on the grass, and stepped back to see it in its true form. We were awestruck… absolute sublime shock it had come out in one piece…..on the first go.!  We phoned Luke, to let him know the good news. And of course, nothing is that easy… we wondered if it would survive the journey home. Carefully placed in our vehicle, resting on foam, on its way back to the Glass Hub every pot hole and speed ramp seemed huge, but after a while, we relaxed and enjoyed the drive….all in all a great day.

Back safely at the Hub, we lifted out the figure and took some shots, relieved and victorious to have got it back safe and sound!  The sun even shone for us.


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