The works shown here are designed and executed by Stelz Studios using a glass casting process known as Pate de Verre. Pate de Verre, a name termed by the French in the 19th century meaning ‘paste of glass’ is one of the oldest known forms of glass working. This glass casting technique dates back to the Middle East during the second century BC. The Pate de Verre technique had a renaissance during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Europe, and was primarily centered in France. This newly revived glass casting process intrigued French glass artists like Argy Rousseau, Amairic Walter and the American glass artist, Frederic Carter. Unfortunately, with the onset of WW1, this ancient and unique glass casting technique once again faded away.
The Pate de Verre process involves sculpting a model of the object that will be created in glass. A mold is made from the model and filled with glass powders, which are usually mixed with a vehicle to form a paste. This ‘paste of glass’ is applied and filled into all the voids that are present in the mold. Colored glass powders are carefully applied to various design elements to create color and shadow. The mold is then placed into a kiln until the fine glass powders melt into the mold and fill the voids. Once cooled, the mold is broken away from the cast glass object which is then cleaned and polished. Extremely fine and intricate details can be cast into glass using this ancient process.
Modern glass artists, such as Steven Stelz, have once again revived this fine glass casting technique. The Pate de Verre process is very labor intensive, requiring all of the steps outlined above, therefore, it remains to be a rarity among the art glass world.