Glass Bread Slices!

Glass bread slice © J. Thomson

I was a graduate student in the Glass department at Tyler School of Art, 1998-2000. During my first year there, I became interested in the theme of domesticity… and what’s more domestic than bread? Initially I made a sculpture out of wax and clay of an over-sized slice of bread. I lovingly poked each hole in the bread to make a realistic texture. Then I made a mold of it using a plaster-like refractory material in which I poured molten glass from the hot shop. While this worked really well, it was too time consuming and I could only get a single glass piece from each mold (since the glass sticks to the mold material, and has to be broken apart to get the glass out.) And I needed to produce more pieces (per my professors).

So I ended up making a wooden mold—essentially a plank of wood (soaked in water so it didn’t catch fire) with a bread-slice-shaped hole in the middle. For each slice I made, I lined the inside of the cavity with some material for texture, in this case lead shot and sand, and ladled molten glass into the mold. Using this method, I could crank out dozens of them in a single session in the hot studio.

I have to admit that I was looking for ways to make my glass uglier at the time… (I used the term “crunchy”). While all the undergrads, and some of the grad students were concerned with making pretty shiny happy glass, I was an Art student (with a capital A), not a student of crafts. Now I wish I had pushed it further. My hot hop partner A. J. Bocchino was making some beautiful “ugly” pieces, but I couldn’t afford all the copper and metals he was using.

These glass pieces came to light recently because an old friend of mine asked me if I still had any for sale. So I dug out the boxes from the back of my studio, photographed them, and now they’re available for sale again for the first time in more than ten years. $25 each includes shipping anywhere in the USA via USPS Priority Mail. Use the links below to order.

Wheat (sand)     Multigrain (shot)     Combo (sand+shot)

There are two kinds available: “wheat” bread (with a combination of sand and a little lead shot on the surface), and “multigrain” with lots of lead shot. They are just a little bigger than life size (about 6.5″ x 5″ x .5″ thick). The sand and/or shot is not glued to the glass in any way, so expect pieces of it to come off… I’ve seen them displayed on a wall, vertically on a shelf, or laid out horizontally on a table. Just be sure that the sand/lead shot won’t scratch the table surface you put them on.

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