Masterclass – Breaking the Mould with Karl Harron


It is easy to fall into a groove when following our own creative paths with glass. Occasionally it feels good to be introduced to new techniques and practices that can open-up alternative creative pathways. Karl Harron’s masterclass encouraged us all to re-think and re-address the properties of glass and how we think it all works.

The workshop began with a discussion of the properties of glass: c.o.e; viscosity and flow; surface value; reactivity, followed by a flurry of questions from students as we were all introduced to new concepts and ideas about forming glass.

We all chose a theme to work on throughout the week, and the diversity of human creativity was illustrated as we talked though our chosen subject.

Students spent the first day preparing glass samples for the kiln, working with two colours to explore reactivity and viscosity. Vessel pieces were also prepared for their first shallow (and easiest!) slump in the kiln. Minds were buzzing as we finished the day with more questions than answers.

Day two began with the preparation of the vessels and moulds for slumping and an explanation of the principles of manipulating glass in the kiln for a deeper slump. What transpired to be the longest day of the week (we didn’t finish until 9pm!) ended with everyone successfully controlling the slumping process to get even vessel forms with some considerable depth. Our lovely samples came out of the kiln and everyone began to get excited about how effective the combination of using simply two glass colours with a lead/sulphur reaction, was. At the end of a long, hot day we all retired with thoughts of the third deeper slump to come.

Day three saw the already beautiful glass pieces returned to the kiln for their final journey in heat transformation, all of us feeling like we had a handle on opening-up kilns repeatedly for hours on end. Great teamwork and hard work enabled all participants to see their vessels through to the end, as the glass stretched its way down to near the bottom of the third mould.

More concept tiles and thoughts of creative themes were laid up by students in the following days to reflect new discoveries and thoughts. The deep-slumped forms were given some cold-finishing treatments to reveal their full beauty. We were all excited about the possibilities that this complex and technical approach to kiln-working glass can bring, and students left with much food for thought. A big thank you to Karl for bringing his expertise and inspirational glass making to us here at the Glass Hub; to Amy Casto for all her great assistance; to Karen Warner for general amazingness, and to all the students for their wonderful ideas contributions …and resilience!

Helga Watkins-Baker

Karl Harron slumped glass vesselAbout Karl Harron

Working in a centuries-old continuum of metallurgy and craftsmanship inherited from his Irish past, glass artist Karl Harron combines lead and sulphur-bearing glasses with fine silver to create elegant kiln-formed vessels whose etched and light resonating surfaces have an elemental essence. In sculpting his glass Karl Harron moves from traditional vessels to exciting expressions of “form and material” conveying ideas and visual poetry, while still retaining vestiges of their original function. These vessels are both functional and enveloping. They embody the preservation of materials and the containment of things precious to us, symbolising fragments of history, reflecting the every day, and conversely the revered. They narrate a story, from where they came, and their reason for being.


We are planning a second instalment of Karl during the Autumn of 2017 if you are interested in participating then please register you interest by adding your name and email to our list. We do not share information with any third parties.

Register your interest.

Some photos from the course:



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