The Process of Creating Liuli Glass
The creation of Chinese Liuli Glass is different from the processes for most modern day glass. For tableware or jewelry, glass blowing is favored since one re-useable mold can be employed. Liuli creation uses a type of kiln casting method sometimes referred to as a “lost-wax” technique that uses finely powdered glass mixed with a binding substance and colorants. Depending on the mold used, solid or semi-hollow shapes are achievable.
The process of creating Liuli Glass is notoriously difficult due to a number of factors affecting the success rate of completion including the instability of the molds used and the high firing temperatures needed to meld the glass paste into solid form. Each mold can be used only once, and a typical success rate is 60-70%. The specific method each artisan and studio uses differs slightly, but most require a total of 10-16 steps to complete a single piece.
The process of using powdered glass to form the main body of each piece usually means that exact replication is not possible; thus each piece will have slight color variations from one to the next. This amorphous and chaotic nature to the Liuli creation process is also a boon for crafters, since a wide diversity of color combinations and designs are possible enabling truly unique designs to be made.
The first thing people notice about Chinese Liuli Jewelry are its bright multiple colors. Normally, glass and crystal artwork can only be fired in one color. Any attempt to mix the colors will cause cracking during the firing process. Only Liuli Glass and others made in a similar way can contain multiple colors within one piece, allowing the creator to put even more artistic expression into each individual piece.
Each piece of Chinese Liuli Glass Artwork is unique for several reasons. The Handcrafted mold for each piece can only be used once since the high-temperature firing process normally destroys it. Also, the mixture of different colors varies from piece to piece, so two pieces can never be made exactly the same.
The first thing people notice about Chinese Liuli Jewelry are its bright multiple colors. Normally, glass and crystal artwork can only be fired in one color. Any attempt to mix the colors will cause cracking when burning. Only Liuli Glass can contain multiple colors within one piece, allowing the creator to put even more artistic expression into each individual piece.
Another typical feature of Liuli Glass are its bubbles. Liuli Glass work always contains bubbles trapped inside during the high-temperature firing process. Since the bubbles are random in number and location, some artists feel they add to the uniqueness of each piece and give it some life of its own.