I design and assemble each piece individually, cutting and layering the tiny pieces of dichroic and clear, coloured or black compatible glass.
The pieces are then fired in a kiln at high temperature to melt and fuse the layers together. The pieces are then cooled slowly (annealed) to remove any stress from the glass. Some of the pieces are then ground, shaped and re-fired and/or further layers added in increase interest or depth. Sometimes I use paints and lustres, or engrave fine designs into the pieces, to enhance and further individualise the pieces.
The work is in a constant state of evolution, experimentation and development, one of the reasons why no two pieces are ever the same.
Dichroic is the property of appearing to have more than a single colour. When dichroic glass is viewed at even slightly different angles, you will see a variety of colours. Its brilliance in sunlight or artificial light is nothing short of remarkable, appearing one colour when light shines through or yet another when seen by reflected light. It is this property of simultaneously transmitting and reflecting light that creates an effect similar to the iridescence of the fire opal, the wings of a dragonfly and the feathers of a hummingbird.
Dichroic glass is produced by a process called "thin film physics" and is generally referred to as a colour separator. It's commonly used as an interference filter (as in the space shuttle), in photographic lighting and in halogen down lights. The process involves the depositing of multiple, micrometer thin layers of metallic oxides (such as titanium, silicon, magnesium etc.) upon the surface of the glass. The glass is then placed in a vacuum kiln and bombarded with a laser, vaporising some of the material, in turn coating the sheet of glass.
Niobium, in its natural state, is a highly formable, extremely workable, shiny grey, ductile metal that takes on a bluish tinge when exposed to air for extended periods. When anodised, niobium is virtually non-reactive, which is why it is becoming one of the most popular metals used in jewellery making.
People often find that they develop irritations, sometimes even infections, when wearing inferior quality sterling silver. Niobium is increasingly beings used as a substitute, a spin-off from body-piercing, due to its virtual total resistance to "tarnishing" in comparison with silver or gold amalgams. Niobium displays properties similar to pure (24kt) gold or fine silver, being 99.9% non-allergenic.