Negative Barbie

by | Oct 11, 2015 | 0 comments

I’ve been fascinated by the way glass gives the ability to look inside the form, and see the image within.  Karen LaMonte provides incredible inspiration.  Here is an image of a cast glass robe she has in the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco.

This is a life-sized dress, and you can see two forms: the dress itself is the external form, and it is all that you would see if it were made of cloth.  Looking through the glass, you can see that human form within, as a ghost.  It is as if you can peer past the exterior to see the person within.  What an incredible concept.


DeYoung Museum (my photo)

The degree of technical skill is also astonishing!  I decided I would like to explore this idea.  However, glass can be really difficult to work with, and it is very disappointing when something you have worked on for a month breaks into several pieces. I decided to do an experiment, something just to see how things work.

So, for the first experiment, I decided to cast Barbie in a plain cylinder. After all, Barbie is something we all aspire to, or, rather, Barbie is quite terrifying.  For this, I took a standard Barbie doll, purchased at Target, and performed the following steps.

  1. Construct a two-piece mold in plaster and fiberglass.
  2. Refill the mold with the standard 50-50 mix of plaster an silica, to get a plaster copy of Barbie.
  3. Construct a cylindrical mold in in plaster/silica.
  4. Screw the model to the base of the mold.
  5. Fill with glass and fire.

The glass is Bullseye cullet, fired to 1500, and annealed according to the Bullseye schedule for annealing thick glass slabs (4 inch).

I think the result is awesome, it came out really well.

Note, due to the magnifying effect of the glass, Barbie is blown up to many times her normal proportions.  Instead of being sickly skinny, she is now full figured.  That’s great.

The effect came out well, too, I think.  There is not a lot of detail left in the figure after all the moldmaking, but it worked well for an experiment.  More to come…