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Fast as a hare

Photograph used with permission of the owner.

Late last year a commission came through the Canberra glassworks to recreate an Alvis car mascot in glass.

The client brought in a metal hare figure which currently adorns his vintage Alvis automobile. He would like it in red glass. It's not quite as crazy as it sounds. Rene Lalique's studio designed quite a few hood ornaments when they were in fashion in the Art deco period, here are 2 pretty famous ones.

I'm still a bit concerned about how long it will last on the car BUT the client was pretty chuffed with it so I think it will be very well looked after.

I worked on this commission for some time. There were various challenges as outlined below. Needless to say I learned a lot making and recreating this tiny but spectacular object in crystal.

Above image top row L-R

1. The original metal hood ornament screwed on to the radiator cap

2. Pouring a good wax has been difficult due to the shape. I switched to a harder wax to get better detail and make it easier to pull the wax out of the mould. I lost lots of paws before I did this)

3. A couple of hares in red wax, sprued (ears and paws) and ready to invest. Sprues give air, a pathway to escape. Without them, the glass may not be able to fill those tight spaces.

4. Another wax in a pale microcrystalline. The sculptors wax (victory brown) I often use is too soft for this figurine.

Above image bottom row L-R

5. I cast 5 hares to make sure I got at least 1 or 2 good ones to work with. Red is one of the most expensive and trickier colours to cast. I tried 2 shades of red. An orange-red crystal (on the right) and a soda-lime glass striker. The pale glass on the left will 'Strike' to pink-red after firing with the correct temperature ranges.

The 6-day firing was longer than usual for pieces this size BUT there is very little area attaching the ears to the head and in my prior firing one just popped off!

6. After firing and initial cleaning.

Orange-red hare on the left (3 came out quite well), pink-red on the right both had problems with suckers (small holes).

7. Orange-red crystal held up to the light.

8. The CHOSEN one (sitting on a new black ebonite radiator cap). I picked the one with the least problems. Cut off the sprues, reshaped the ears and paws where the sprues had been attached (then polished them) and then shaped and polished the base.

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