On clear glass, the marks made by my drill are white, and the un-engraved glass looks dark by comparison. Sometimes I use the drill to create a white-out-of-black 2-dimensional drawing, like a wood engraving, where the drill marks stand for highlights and mid-tones and the clear glass stands for shadows. More often, I make use of a unique characteristic of glass which allows me to create a low-relief effect. Because of the action of light, a dip cut into the glass, however shallow, will tend to look as though it is actually standing proud. The deeper the cut, the more convex it appears. By cutting more deeply in areas which need to look closest to the viewer, I can create a highly effective illusion of 3 dimensions.
Engraving on coloured glass
Using colour in engraving is a very different process. On coloured glass, the illusion of depth doesn't work so well. Coloured engraving most often involves different colours layered one on top of another so that with the drill I can cut through one colour to reveal another. Sometimes the colour layers are done for me by a skilled glassblower, and this is known as 'casing'. Sometimes I create them myself using layers of crushed coloured glass (known as 'frit') or enamel. It depends on the final effect required.
"Engraved glass speaks through light and for it. Light is its medium."
Laurence Whistler: Point Engraving on Glass
Slad Church: (detail of larger piece) - fused and engraved clear glass
Grape-eating bear: (detail of larger piece) - blown and engraved clear glass
Our Secret Garden: fused, slumped and engraved clear glass
Feathering the Nest: cased bowl - layers of blue and clear glass blown by Neil Wilkin, engraved by me, with enamel spot colour added by me
Small Dragon: cased disc - layers of red, green and clear glass blown by Neil Wilkin, engraved by me
Under My Wings: layers of crushed coloured glass on a clear base, fused, engraved and slumped