A bonus was that his wife at the time, Isgard Moje-Wohlgemuth (of whom I have found this link to 15 items sold at auction) was teaching lustre painting on glass. While I had learned traditional glass painting and silver-staining, lustre painting was new to me.
We often see lustres as gold or silver treatments fired onto ceramics and glass. At the time, I didn’t know what they were called, and Isgard employed colored lustres, available in around 7 colors, but not inter-mixable. Once fired, one can add additional layers, with a firing following each application. Ceramic lustres are formulated to fire at a higher temperature than the glass variety.
Little did I know that lustre-painting, especially on wineglasses, would lead to production work that would carry me through the recession of the ‘80’s. I kept my custom stained glass design active through those years, and ended production of the wineglasses in December, 1989, when I moved into my current studio and stained glass work once again took off.
Lustre paints are low-fire paints composed of metal salts in a very thin solution that are durable- it wouldn’t be correct to say permanent. The colors are transparent. My most popular design was “Dots,” which employed lustre paints on stems and swatches on the bowl that were masked and the bowl then sandblasted to create the crisp-edged circles.
The same techniques were used to produce “Lifesavers” and “Crazy Stripes”- the latter having a bowl first randomly painted with over-laid colors and masked with pin-striping tape before etching.
Stripes and Bubbles
I’m fond of this design- it’s a nice mix of techniques. The glasses are first etched (sandblasted) and then receive an application of colored lustres, leaving the center band unpainted.
Once fired, the glass is centered on a banding wheel and spun- I used a jury-rigged variable speed motor. If the glass itself is evenly rounded, properly centered on the wheel, and if one’s hand is steady, a simple touch of a good thin brush glass will render a stripe.
The taller un-colored band is painted with clear lustre, and then small drops are applied wet-on-wet, and a dispersion of the colors occurs. The clear lustre is actually mother-of-pearl, but the multi-colored reflection is more obvious when applied to, say, a white ceramic glaze than when applied to clear or sandblasted glass.
Stripe and bubble variations
The first example here exploited the wet-on-wet technique, and I made many glasses using the striping technique.
Another technique is marbleizing. No great innnovation here- I simply bought what was sold as “marbleizing fluid”, applied the color and, while wet, touched the painted area with small drops of the fluid. A localized, random dispersion occurred.
A single layer was quite weak, color-wise, so multiple layers and applications were needed for a pleasing final result.