Artist takes on the impossible craft of knitting with glass

Seattle-based artist Carol Milne literally knits with glass. That is, she creates beautiful glass sculptures depicting yarn-like strands that loop around knitting needles. With glass having a melting point of roughy 815°C, how can she possibly manipulate the material into these intricate formations?

All images courtesy of Carol Milne

All images courtesy of Carol Milne

The secret lies in a technique invented by Milne in 2006 which involves aspects of knitting, lost-wax casting, mold-making, and kiln-casting. First, a model of the sculpture is made from wax which is then encased by a refractory mold material that can withstand extremely high temperatures. Next, hot steam is used to melt the wax, leaving behind an empty cavity in the shape of the artwork.

Pieces of room temperature glass are then placed inside the mold which is then heated to 1,400-1,600 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the type of glass. To conclude, the piece is slowly cooled over a period of several weeks, followed by a careful excavation process, where Milne delicately chips away like an archaeologist to reveal the final piece.


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