This listing is for a single glass strawberry sculpture. The base price is for the small (19-24mm high, not counting the stem size. Pricing for the medium to extra large sizes can be selected when you place the item in your shipping cart.
Many strawberries are shown in the pictures so that you can see them from several angles and see the size variations.
These glass strawberries are the most technically difficult berries I make. They are formed by the lampworking process, which involves melting Italian glass rods in the flame of a torch. The glass is melted over and around a loop in a length of copper wire of appropriate thickness, which then becomes the strawberry stem. Because of the loop, the stem can never be pulled free of the glass berry.
The process of making the glass strawberry begins with preparing the sepals (leaves). I make several dozen glass sepals in a range of sizes ahead of time. I keep them warm on a hot-plate so that later, when they are re-introduced into the torch flame and attached to the strawberry they will not crack.
I also pre-make fine threads of glass (called stringers) in several shades of green and brown. These will be used later to make the strawberry seeds.
Finally I'm ready to begin building the body of the berry onto the wire stem. This can be a difficult process because the glass must be shaped without allowing any portion of it to become too hot. Overheating this type of red glass can make it turn brown. Although the strawberries you see pictured here are a ripe medium red, I can also make them in a less-ripe orange red, or over-ripe purple red, or even a white "alpine" variety.
The strawberries you see in this picture have a shape referred to as "conic", but I can make them more globe-shaped, wedge-shaped or multi-lobed, just like real strawberries. The size can be anywhere from small (about 19mm high) to extra large (about 40mm high).
Once the shape is achieved, the time-consuming job of adding the seeds begins. Each seed is placed one at a time into its own recessed seat in a process that takes up to a minute per seed. The smallest strawberries have more than 100 seeds, and the largest have several hundred.
After all the seeds have been placed, it's time to finish the strawberry by adding the green sepals (leaves). This is the most dangerous time. The challenge is to keep the entire body of the strawberry evenly warm (about 900 - 1000 degrees F) while adding the sepals, because if any portion of the strawberry becomes too cold the whole thing will explode due to thermal shock.
Although in real life the sepals of a strawberry often curl upward, these glass sepals must be laid down flat and thoroughly melted to the surface of the strawberry. This makes the thin glass strong enough to withstand the weight of the glass berry without breaking off. However, if any of the sepals gets too hot (much over 1050 degrees F) in the process, the edges will soften and the sepal will melt into a shapeless green blob.
Needless to say, I explode many a nearly-complete strawberry in an effort to balance all these factors. This is especially frustrating after having spent hours to place all the seeds. But when I am successful in adding all the sepals without allowing the strawberry body to crack or allowing any of the sepals to melt, I'm nearly done. The final step before putting the strawberry in the kiln for controlled cooling is to melt the free end of the copper stem into a rough ball.
The photos above are representative of the glass strawberries I make in this style. THE ONES YOU RECEIVE WILL BE SIMILAR TO, BUT NOT EXACTLY THE SAME AS, THE ONE(S) SHOWN ABOVE. Each glass strawberry is priced according to its size. The initial price of $70 is for the Small size, which is 19 to 24mm high. Other sizes are offered for additional cost.
WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD
These glass berries are lifelike enough to fool adults at first glance. Never display these glass berries where they could be confused with real fruit. Never put them in your mouth, even for fun, or allow anyone else to do so. Make sure to keep them out of the reach of children of any age.