a-mor-phous (adjective): without a clearly defined shape or form.
glass (noun): a usually transparent or translucent amorphous material typically formed by melting together a mixture of sand (silica) with soda and lime or potassium and lead oxide or with acids, and then cooling the material to rigidity without crystallisation. Coloured glass can be made by the addition of metallic oxides.
A versatile and fascinating material, when heated it changes to a ‘liquid’ state and then when it cools resumes as a ‘solid’. It can be cut with shears in this liquid state and glass will stretch, bend, flow or drip and run. Despite its solid appearance, glass is considered to be a kind of liquid because of its amorphous or non-crystalline structure. Cold glass is actually just in stasis and still affected by the laws of gravity as the glass in very old windows demonstrates – the panes’ lower sections are thicker than their tops.
Glass artists melt chosen glass rods and sheets with a gas-fired torch, or fuse and slump glass in a kiln, or use blowpipes to create different forms. Some also paint on glass and combine glass with other materials to convey their intention.
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