Drew Ebelhare Makes a Weight
Rev. 2003-03-17, -08-30, 2008-01-15 (format)
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These pictures were taken in 1994 when Drew was in Houston. He
has since moved his operation to the Northwest. I will use the
present tense as if visiting the shop now.
|The shop is a small one in a
somewhat weather beaten small industrial area of western Houston.
Because he works on a small scale, Drew has a pipe warmer, glory
hole and small 2 pot crucible furnace in which he normally only
melts clear Gabbert cullet and cobalt blue.
|Drew makes millefiori weights, either very formal ones,
which sell in the $350-700 price range or smaller informal ones which use
the same cane, but in a scattered pattern. This is his basic marver set up.
The marble slab is literally the source of the word marver from the Italian.
He puts his color bits on the marble. The cup in the middle of the steel
marver is one of the weight setup cups, another is on the hot plate at the
bottom of the picture. Each cup is a ring with a matching disk having a
machined groove to hold the ring in place.
|The millefiori cane are set up at a work table in another
room, carefully placed with long tweezers. (For a clearer picture of a
setup, look on my paperweights page.) The glass is preheated to
prevent it from shattering when the hot gather is applied. The larger
aluminum disk collects the heat from the whole burner and protects the
burner from dripped glass, which damages the elements.
|After gathering the glass, on a pipe for the larger head,
it is carefully shaped like a bullet, and applied to the back of the cane
setup, centered and pressed to fill the cup.
|Held over the marver, the glass stretches slightly, and
narrows, allowing the ring to fall off.
|At the bench, Drew begins
the process of shaping the weight. The layer of cane in the
bottom of the cup forms the light colored layer to the right of
the hot glass in the picture. A water soaked wooden block is used
to shape the glass. Several goals are in mind. The layer of color
must be even across the disk and perpendicular to the pipe. The
glass must be worked up and away from the end of the pipe so there
is space to jack it off the pipe without distorting the color.
|A further gather of hot
glass is worked over the weight, and then another. And then the
glass below (nearer the pipe) is necked and worked down to shape
showing the structure of a basket base.
|Samples of Drew's weights,
not including his most elaborate designs.
|Examples of Drew's work
in the less expensive works he does. One of his rediscoveries was
a way to make the basket weights represented by the small one in
the lower right corner, which is solid glass (not glued up)
Contact Mike Firth