Glass Jewelry and home objects.

New York, United States

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penelope rakov

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penelope rakov


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About PenelopeRakov

Sales 160
On Etsy since 2007

My process...

I started making jewelry because it seemed like an economical way to keep getting to make glass art. This makes me laugh a little now, but I am so thankful that I have a loyal customer base, that continues to follow my work, and it does afford me the space to keep making work. I am a lucky girl.

I've broken down the steps to help illustrate how my work gets made. I have a video that will be available this week so you can see these steps in action... stay tuned!

Step 1

When I set out to make a new murrini pattern, my first step is pulling “stock cane.” Glass “cane” is a long thin strip of colored glass. Before I get to this stage, I order colored bars of solid glass from the manufacturer. (The stages of melting and mixing colored glass is also an interesting topic, but for our purposes, I will start my explanation of process after I have my colored bar of glass.)

During a typical hot glass working day, I generally pull ten new canes. For each one the process is very similar, and even meditative. I will pre-cut at least two colors for each cane: One interior color and one exterior color. The colored chunks of glass are then put into a cold kiln, and slowly heated up to a temperature of around 1000 degrees. That is hot enough for the chunks to be sticky, but not hot enough to melt them completely, yet. The glass I use melts at around 2000 degrees.
Step 2

When the colored glass reaches 1000 degrees I use a steel pipe, called a punty rod, and stick it into the kiln to attach one color (we’ll call it “color a”) to the end of the pipe. The pipe is my “handle,” and allows me to maneuver this tricky, beautiful material. My assistant will also pick up a colored chunk of glass (“color b”) in the same way. They will then heat “color b” to a molten viscosity, and drop “color b” on top of “color a.” At this point “color b” covers the interior color, resembling a dip coat on soft serve ice cream.
Step 3

Once I have the colors layered, I then encase them in a clear layer of glass. At this point, my assistant will make something called a “post,” which is a flat shape of clear glass on the end of a steel pipe. To stretch out this “cane,” I attach the end of my colored glass to my assistant’s “post.” When they are stuck together, we each hold onto our pipes, and walk away from each other. The thick mass of molten glass gets pulled thinner and thinner as it stretches between us as if we were pulling out a long jump rope. After the cane is pulled, we leave it on the ground to cool to room temperature.
Step 4

After I have pulled enough stock canes, and they have cooled to room temperature, I cut them into much shorter lengths (about the length of a golf pencil), and gather them together to form a new pattern. Now they look like a bunch of pencils stacked in a cup. I bind this new pattern together with two steel wires wrapped around the outside of the bundle, and heat it up in the same kiln I heated the original colored chunks.
Step 5

The process is repeated and the glass can be pulled and re-bundled, from this point, many times. Each time I pull the pattern it gets more detailed, but I also run the risk of it getting muddled as well. The real trick is knowing when to stop.
Step 6

When I have decided a pattern is finished, and it has cooled to room temperature, I slice the pattern up like pieces of sushi. For this, I use a tile saw. After cutting, the surface of the slices are very rough, so each slice goes through the sanding and buffing process to smooth out the surface to prepare the pieces for jewelry (or whatever I’m making). This process is also lengthy, but not nearly as complicated.
Step 7

Once the silver work is created for the slices, they are set and now the glass is ready to wear!

Shop members

  • Penelope Rakov

    Owner, Maker, Designer

    I got my BFA from Alfred University in 2000, and spent a few years making pottery and being part of the ceramics community before getting my MFA at Tyler School of art, and concentrating on working with glass. I started making Jewelry in 2007.

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