Marianne Nicolson – A Delicate Balance (Build)

Charles Gabriel_Glassworks_ for artist, Marianne Nicolson_first sections of a 35 foot long panel set that is carved both sides for the Canadian Embassy In Amman Jordan, the laminate interlayers are set between the two panels by the team keeping the glass spotless at all times

In 2013, Marianne Nicolson approached me about building a 35′ X 6′ (total of 9 sections) art glass to be used in an exterior wall for the new Canadian Chancery in Amman, Jordan. We decided on an laminated panel using a coloured interlayer. Her artwork would be carved partially on each side of the panels to provide emphasis to a specific element when viewed from a particular side, but still line up to create a whole composition. The first step was to create a scale template for Marianne to draw her pattern on. This, once vecorized, would upscale to the size we needed for the glass panels. The artwork was separated into the apects which would appear on each side, and divided into the nine sections. This was enlarged and printed full scale into paper patterns for templates, I hand cut through these, and  the resist material on the glass, and carved the imagery 1/8″ deep.

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The panels were kiln-fired to seal the blasting and stabilize the glass. They then went for tempering.

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After tempering, the lamination process involved creating a “sandwich” with each mated pair of glass panels and the layered laminate interlayer (3 separate sheets). These were vacuum-bagged and rolled into the autoclave for fusing.

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Special crates were made to fit in the air cargo hold and they were flown off to Jordan, and installed by a local team. So far no professional  photo of the full installation, but here is a cel phone shot of a partially completed job from the engineer, onsite.


(we lost several panels during these processes, so careful consultation at every step became critical. In fact, I completed the heavily carved side of the first laminated panel 5 times… I broke one, the kiln broke one, tempering broke one, and the onsite installers in Jordan broke one – which was actually two because it had been laminated by then – oh, and it was already installed and through expansion managed to break the adjacent set also…arg..! All worked out in the end, though.)


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