Breaking the Mold: A Window into Experimental Hot Casting and Glassblowing


Taught by Cooper Oโ€™Brien

Cooper O’Brien received his BFA in glass from RISD in 2012. After apprenticing with Karen LaMonte in the Czech Republic for 3 years he was granted the Emerging Artist in Residency at Pilchuck Glass School. He currently lives and works in New Jersey, fabricating projects at the non-profit WheatonArts and mold making for Hank Murta Adams. O’Brien was raised in Doha, Qatar though originally from Baltimore. He creates work that weaves the technical challenge of glass making with the larger issue of creating something worth the effort.

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Cooper O'Brien will present a two-pronged demonstration showing the versatility of shaping glass using molds, then further manipulating the molten material for new and exciting results.

He will begin with a demonstration of sand casting, which involves pressing positive shapes into sand to create an impression that the glass is poured into. Experimenting with this technique, O'Brien will pour into the sand, then manipulate the glass while it is still hot, utilizing it's viscosity and temperature to shape the pieces.

Next, O'Brien and an assistant will blow glass into a plaster mold, allowing the hot glass to take on the form and surface details, then pull the glass out so the impression can be stretched and blown for an immediate and fascinating metamorphosis.

The evening will end with a 15 minute lecture on some of the processes O'Brien has been cultivating in his work, and a discussion of approaches available to students who are interested in exploring further.

Cancellation policy