Discovering the Depths of Cast Glass Art

Visitors always find the glasswork at Brenda McMahon Gallery in downtown Gulfport captivating. We showcase the work of three glass artists, two of whom use a casting process. From the large sculptural work of Susan Gott to the detailed jewelry designs by Don David Designs, our artists use the casting process in different and intriguing ways.

What is Glass Casting?

Glass casting is an intriguing technique that artists use to melt glass and pour it into a mold, creating a stunning piece of art. The most commonly used techniques in this enduring ancient art form are kiln casting and sand casting. Artists are increasingly using the lost wax casting method, fueling the popularity of the method. This further enhances the appeal of this art form.  Glass casting enthusiasts have passed down this versatile and captivating creative avenue for generations.

glass disk on metal stand by Susan Gott
(Passages: by Susan Gott)

Kiln Casting

Kiln casting involves delicately placing chilled glass onto a mold inside a kiln. First, the kiln reaches scorching temperatures, causing the glass to undergo a remarkable transformation and flow into the desired shape dictated by the mold. Then, after the metamorphosis is complete, the object is gently cooled and annealed as the kiln gracefully returns to room temperature.

Sand casting

The artist carves or molds serpentine sand to create the basis for sand casting. Next, the artist fills the mold with molten glass using a ladle and allows it to cool. Finally, after the sand is removed, the artist reveals a flawlessly formed cast in the solidified glass.

Dewi Sri Cast Glass by Susan Gott
(Dewi Sri by Susan Gott)

 Lost wax casting

The lost wax casting technique involves artists creating a mold around a wax model, and then melting out the wax. This process enables artists to create intricate and detailed glass pieces. However, when casting thicker pieces, artists face challenges, and the annealing stage becomes more time-consuming. To ensure the quality of an eight-inch-thick piece of material, it needs up to three weeks of careful annealing in the kiln. On the other hand, a one-inch-thick piece often successfully anneals in just about 24 hours. 

One of our jewelers, Don David Designs, uses a lost wax casting process to make beautiful jewelry by placing the hand-cast glass on sterling silver.

Nest Necklace, Opalescent Blue Glass by Don David Designs
(Nest Necklace: Opulent Blue Glass by Don David Designs)

Susan's Technique

Susan frequently uses a rigid sand mold technique, which allows precision and the capacity to work on a large scale. First, she infuses interior images, symbols, inclusions, and color into the glass before it cools. Then, after annealing, each casting becomes one-of-a-kind due to the destruction of the individually created mold. Next, the surfaces of the glass sculpture can be enhanced with enamels, copper, gold leaf, patinas, and etching after grinding and polishing. Finally, the combination of glass, steel, and stone enhances the sculpture's natural elements. Susan expresses this ancient connection to the contemporary in an articulate yet raw manner while still preserving her aesthetic concerns through the use of sand casting.

glass artist Susan Gott pouring molten glass into a sand mold
(Glass Artist Susan Gott)

To view our collection of cast glass art, visit Brenda McMahon Gallery in person or shop our online gallery at

Leave a comment