My next uni project is based on Sustainability.
To work with glass takes quite a lot of energy. The kiln I use for fusing and slumping is electric, and it could easily be said that the installation of solar panels to power that kiln could make it, in time, more sustainable than it is at the moment by using the national grid.
Lampworking the glass uses tanked propane and oxygen. The oxygen tank could be replaced by an Oxycon which is run off electricity, but even though I have researched this I cannot find any information to say which would be better for the environment.
Propane is classed as a 'green fuel' as it's carbon content is much lower than other gases therefore its carbon footprint is lower. Although it is still classed as a fossil fuel it is one of the cleanest burning ones.
To make this project more sustainable than I would usually work - I am only going to use glass that has had a previous purpose. In this case mini wine bottles. I collect mini wine bottles wherever I go because it seems to be such a waste not to do something with them - and over the years I have managed to collect quite a few of this shape.
When you melt glass you have to work alongside the 'coefficiency of expansion', which is simply a measurement that tells you the rate that the glass will cool expand and contract when it is heated and cooled. Glass with different COE's will not work together as one will cool down quicker than the other and cause a thermal split... the glass will simply separate, or shatter. So, it is a risk when working with recycled glass as you obviously don't know what the COE is.
But my reasoning is that the wine producer for these bottles, PROBABLY orders them from the same place each time, which PROBABLY uses the same recipe to make the glass, therefore they might PROBABLY work together when melted. It's a risk. :)
This project is therefore going to be one to try and raise awareness, to try and make people think twice about just throwing things out, to encourage recycling and upcycling and to show that you can create something new out of something old.
I have decided to make a clock out of the bottles... I found a beautiful glass flower made simply out of blue wine bottles which inspired me to follow that shape. From this image I have built up a mood board showing the things I will use and highlighting the things that are happening to our planet right now that we need to address. The clock part will indicate that time is running out if we don't make changes now.