Isabelle Wittock-Mérenne

Travel through various techniques with Zabilou...

A mix of technique and creativity: the cast glass work created by Zabilou requires patience, focus and know-how...

Find out below how the artist proceeds:

  • Everything starts with a positive sculpted in malleable oil based clay (a type of clay that does not harden when exposed to the air). Depending on her inspiration and the desired effect, Zabilou works the clay with various wooden or metallic tools (hooks, pallets, potter's tools) but of course also directly with her bare hands.
  • Several positives are created before going over to the glass casting stage in order to keep unity in the collection. The artist thus creates all her work in the same spirit and the result is truly homogeneous. As the firing process is particularly long, one’s mind could have more than enough time to ramble and to move on to other inspirations...
  • The artist then goes to a more technical part by creating "open" plaster and silica moulds (negatives)  of the future sculptures.
  • These moulds full of glass are then placed in the kiln for the crucial and delicate firing stage. The viscosity of the glass will appear over 550°C and reach its maximum at 840°C. That first quick stage (fifteen hours) will be followed by the long and very delicate stage of cooling down. It is indeed essential for the glass to be cooled very slowly, gradually and at variable rates to avoid thermal shock. This stage of the production can last from a few days to several months.
  • As soon as the work is perfectly cooled down, the mould can be taken out of the kiln. The mould is then destroyed to reveal the unique work. The piece can then be cold worked under water by sawing, sanding or polishing to finish the creation.