Monday, 23 August 2010

Award For Excellence - Derix Glass Studios

My last German placement was in Derix Glass Studios, Taunusstein. This is a small town outside the city of Wiesbaden and I worked here for just under three weeks. The studio was split into two parts, glazing and painting. Although there was no-one in particular coordinating me during my stay I worked mostly under the guidance of Natalie Gruffat in glazing and Patricia Bose in painting. This is yet another large and successful family glass business like Peters and it has roughly sixty staff. While I was there a lot of different projects were happening in tandem but I am going to discuss in this report the ones I had personal experience with. In the glazing department I was mostly involved in three projects. Two were very similar lamination jobs, one for a retirement home in Borken, Germany, designed by Vlaimeir Oldenburg and the other for toilets in Sykes, California USA, designed by Guy Kempea. The third glazing project was for St. Andreas Cloister in Cologne, Germany, designed by Markus Lipertz. These were all new works, in fact Derix almost solely does new commissions and although they do have some restoration work, the department is tiny with only two people working in it while I was there.

I did do a little restoration work while I was there for the painting department. This was on panels from a window by Johann Klaus in the church of St Peter and Paul, Munchberg, Germany. I also did some of my own work inspired by the location, repainted broken test pieces and learned how to mix up paint for spraying. I am going to discuss each of these projects in turn and explain what I have learned.

First I will explore the work I did in the glazing department starting with the two projects featuring lamination, Vladimir Oldenburgs retirement home and Guy Kempeas toilets. Oldenburgs design is for a large circular ceiling light. Because it will be installed in the ceiling and people will stand below it safety is extra important. It is apparently quite a simple design, the coloured glass is all cut to size and the time consuming part is grinding it all down to fit together. It is laminated and not leaded which means the different shapes are cut to fit exactly next to each other without gaps, the edges are left sharp so they can be adhered as seamlessly as possible. Black silicone is used to stick the edges together and the whole section is then laminated to tempered glass.

The German way of making up a window uses paper templates which are cut for each and every individual pieces of glass in the window. The glass is then cut to the templates. This is instead of having everything cut to a design on a big piece of paper which is obviously how it is done in the UK.

(Fig. 24 Paper template over glass showing sawing technique.)

The first job I was given at Derix was to cut glass sections to the templates given using a Taurus Ring Saw by Gemini made in the USA. This piece of machineryseemed to me to be very clever although I was told by the employees that it wasn't any good and broke down a lot. It did in fact do exactly that while I was using it. It was however rather ingenious. The ring saw span in a circle and when you pushed glass into it you could cut at obtuse and acute right angles that would be impossible with a glass cutter. I think you could cut almost any design with it and I was thoroughly impressed that nothing broke, it seemed to do the job really easily. I had to cut rectangular shapes out of long green strips of glass. I could never have done it without this machine.

My first step in this process was to lay the template out on top of the glass and when I had it in the correct position hold the paper down with weights. I then drew around the rectangular shape with a water resistant pen. I cut out this shape on the saw a couple of millimetres from the pen line then ground the rest down on a glass grinding machine. The only difficulties were that the pen lines kept washing off, the large glass sheets were difficult to balance and if the paper got damp it would lose its shape. On the whole though it was very straight forward. It took me a few days but I did about twenty of them all together and I was happy with the results.

On both the Oldenberg project and the Kempea project I got to see and take part in the lamination process which was the same for both. First the glass is cleaned thoroughly with white spirit. The larger piece of glass that is to be glued onto is put on the table.

(Fig. 25. Pt. 1. Guy Kempeas Project, Pouring the glue.)

(Fig. 25. Pt. 2. Placing the glass.)

(Fig. 25. Pt. 3. Leaving it to set.)

Vinyl covered the areas of this sheet of glass that are not to be glued. Tape is put around all four edges of the glass with a couple of inches sticking up above the surface of the glass, this creates a barrier where excess glue cannot pass and stick the glass to the table accidentally. Strips of sticky thick foam which come in a roll like tape are stuck down creating a damn around the area to be glues to stop glue going further than intended. Squares of this foam are also stuck at the edges of where the new piece of glass to be laminated will go, and at the corners so it will be easy to get everything in the right place. This also stops the glass from sliding about and moving once stuck down. The upper surface of the glass, the side that will not be laminated, on the piece getting stuck down is also covered in vinyl.

1 comment:

  1. April 2011 at 15:19

    Hi Roz, brilliant site,

    picky picky there are two errors in text below. Scholarship and grateful.

    How sad am I?

    Good luck with the business,

    Charlie and Ange (kiss kiss kiss).

    I am a young Scottish artist who has recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art where I studied glass design. I won a scholship called the Award for Excellence with the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and so this year I will be involved in their training program. It's a massive opportunity to learn more about my art form and I'm very greatful for it.