Blown Away Netflix winner and alumni joins us live in the hotshop! 

Wolverhampton School of Art / NewsBlown Away Netflix winner and alumni joins us live in the hotshop!

On the 15 April, Netflix's Blown Away Winner, Elliot Walker, returned to the School of Arts hotshop where he studied his MA in Applied Arts for a live demonstration! For the demonstration Elliot made a giant strawberry with his assistant Bethany Wood. The piece took just over two hours to make and will require further work, including grinding and polishing of the base and mirroring of the inside. When finished it will form part of Elliot’s “Obeseberry” series.

Elliot Walker, Live demonstration, Netflix Blown Away winner, MA Design and Applied Arts graduate, Wolverhampton School of Art, University of Wolverhampton
 
The process of glassmaking can be extremely complicated and physical, Elliot’s giant strawberry is no exception. The process begins by making the stalk and leaves of the strawberry. A chunk of preheated blue coloured glass is picked up from a kiln on the end of a blowing pipe and heated until molten in a gas fired reheating chamber at a temperature of 1200°C, the coloured glass is then shaped, and a bubble of air is blown into it before coating in molten clear glass by gathering from the furnace. Shaping and reheating continues and inflated further before attached to and folded inside out over a separate gather of glass using a technique known as a Swedish Overlay, the blue glass is now on the outside of the glass and later will react with a gas flame to become silverish. The sculpting of the stalk and leaves then takes place and is placed into a hot kiln to be picked up later to be fused onto the strawberry.

 Elliot Walker, Live demonstration, Netflix Blown Away winner, MA Design and Applied Arts graduate, Wolverhampton School of Art, University of Wolverhampton

The process of making the main body of the strawberry now commences by picking up a chunk of red coloured glass, as before, it is heated, shaped and covered in clear glass, this large gather of glass is inflated and the seeds of one half of the strawberry sculpted into the surface of the glass. The piece is then transferred to another blow pipe for more shaping and to add the remaining seeds.
 
Finally, the stalk and leaves are picked up from the kiln and hot welded to the strawberry making one single piece which is placed into an oven at 520°C and gradually cooled, to remove stress and prevent cracking, over a period of 50 hours.
 
It should not be underestimated how difficult it is to perform to such a high standard in an unfamiliar workshop, Elliot and Bethany both showed incredible skill.

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