While most people are content to knit sweaters and cozy hats, artist Carol Milne uses her needles to craft incredible glass sculptures in a complex and lengthy process that she invented in 2006. Milne’s unique glass knitting has been exhibited all over the world, drawing considerable praise and prompting a lot of people to ask, “How did you do that?”
Seattle-based Milne tested techniques and materials for a few years before ultimately settling on the glass knitting process she currently follows. To start, Milne sculpts and weaves a wax model of the finished project using a special type of wax that is both elastic and slender. Next, she surrounds the wax model with a refractory mold material that’s built to withstand extremely high heat. Using steam from a pot of boiling water, Milne melts the wax out of the mold, leaving a hollow cavity that she then fills with glass chunks.
Milne places the glass-filled mold in a kiln, heating the material to between 1400 and 1600 degrees Fahrenheit. The glass melts within the mold, and is left to cool for weeks to prevent any cracks from forming. Finally, once the glass has fully cooled, Milne chips away at the outer layer of the mold, eventually revealing an incredible knitted glass design beneath.
In this video, Milne discusses the specifics of one of her glass knitting projects:
Want to try your luck at knitting glass? While it took Milne years to perfect her process, the various steps to knitting glass are documented in a useful book that’s aptly named Carol Milne Knitted Glass: How Does She Do That?. For more articles on artists who use anything-but-ordinary mediums, check out our articles on book artists and nontraditional sculptures.