Author Topic: Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")  (Read 1098 times)

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Offline KevinH

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Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")
« on: January 15, 2007, 01:56:18 PM »
In another topic (http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,8895.0.html) I commented on a weight as "surface decorated", which was perhaps true enough from the initial photo seen.

But subsequent images showed it to be one with a fair amount of clear glass over the millefiori canes and that it was simply the magnification effect that made it look like surface decorated from the top view.

So, to save me hunting through all the books, does anyone here have a view on what terminology should be applied to such a weight as seen in a40ty's post? Maybe this is not really a very serious issue, but it might be fun to see what other folk think about terminology.

For additional consideration, below are three views each of two weights. One is a true surface decorated item by Jack Allan (has his sig cane in the base) and for this the surface has been finely ground to make it silky smooth. The other is a typical 19th century Venetian scrambled weight, which has a small amount of clear glass over the canes.

Jack Allan weight:
top ... http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-4572
side+base ... http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-4573
base ... http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-4574

Venetian scramble:
top+side ... http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-4576
side+base ... http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-4577
base ... http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-4575
(Please do not shout "hey, it's Chinese, 'cause it's got a rough ground base" ... that's how they were made in Murano in the later 19th century)

Any other uncertain paperweight terminology that could be discussed here?
KevinH


Offline Lustrousstone

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Re: Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2007, 03:53:23 PM »
As a know-only-little-bits-pieces-about-glass person, isn't the Venetian one cased (i.e., as is typical of paperweights) and the other uncased? Isn't surface decorated some decorative effect that has been applied after the piece has been assembled rather than just a tidying up process? For example, engraving, acid etching or enamelling


Offline KevinH

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Re: Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2007, 04:59:44 PM »
Christine, that's a good question or two! :) And it highlights the fact that there are differences in terminology even with the overall general field of glassmaking.

What follows is my own understanding and I welcome comments by others.

Yes, in a sense, you are correct. The Venetian scramble weight and the Jack Allan surface decorated one could be called "cased" and "uncased". However ...

"Cased" - this is usually (but by no means only) used in connection with hollow vessels, such as vases and bowls. It refers to a covering of clear glass that is not overly thick in comparison to the other layers of the piece. But for paperweights, the norm for a standard domed weight (except for work like the Venetian scrambled weight) is for the clear glass covering to be very thick as this is what provides the magnification effect. And I believe that such a thick coating would not be called a "casing".

But the truth is that I don't know what term is used by various paperweight makers when covering with clear glass. I just think of it as being "another gather" or "an applied coating".

The "after assembly" idea is a good way of thinking about things such as engraving, acid etching etc., but may not be accurate from the designers' or glassmakers' viewpoints. After all, a blank (undecorated) piece is often produced solely for the purpose of final decoration by such as engraving, but it is the engraving etc. that is the real "construction or assembly" (by cutting away the unwanted parts - somewhat like making a sculpture from a chunk of some material) which turns the blank into something special.

For paperweights, my view is that all of the parts of construction / assembly are as important as each other to achieve the required design, but a casing of clear on a vase might only be used to provide a glossy covering to an otherwise unaltered design. For instance, the use of the right amount of clear glass, together with the right form of final shaping, can be crucial in producing the best view of the internal design elements, whether they are millefiori canes, lampwork pieces or an abstract working of colours, bubbles, etc. If the dome of clear glass is not formed correctly, the internal parts will not be displayed properly and if the internal parts are set incorrectly, the error will be enhanced by the dome. This sort of "error enhancemnt" does not normally apply to "cased wares" because the amount of clear glass is not enough to enlarge any defects.
KevinH


Offline Frank

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Re: Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2007, 05:30:31 PM »
I think surface decoration can be a little confusing, I think it was me that first coined the term in the 1980's. But it should be thought of as applying decoration to the surface as part of the hot working to distinguish it from cold decorations which are invariably on the surface.

At the time cased glass was applied only to 'overlay' and no one (collectors/dealers etc) liked it being applied to glassware. There was a need for a shorthand to distinguish between the earlier style of Ysart glass and hence the term was coined. In the first Ysartnews I said:

Quote from: Ysartnews 1, October 1986
The enamels were sometimes laid on the surface at other times cased in clear glass.

The second newsletter contained the first in-print occurence of the term as part of a key to the photograph of the exhibition I held.

Quote from: Ysartnews 2, February 1987
18. Monart, Surface-decorated Vase, early. Height 7.5"

Annotated versions of all of the newsletters are on the site at http://www.ysartglass.com/Ysartnews/Ysartnews.htm
Frank A.
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Offline KevinH

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Re: Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2007, 05:58:27 PM »
Frank said:
Quote
At the time cased glass was applied only to 'overlay' and no one (collectors/dealers etc) liked it being applied to glassware.
I am not sure about your context for this statement, Frank. Apsley Pellatt wrote about cased glass in his 1849 book, Curiosities of Glafs Making .. so "casing" was definitely used in connection with glassware quite some time ago.
KevinH


Offline Frank

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Re: Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2007, 06:00:37 PM »
Yes I know but collectors did not accept it in the 80's as it had another use. I know I got a lot of problems using cased/uncased. As far as makers were concerned it was OK though.
Frank A.
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Offline glasstrufflehunter

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Re: Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2007, 05:44:00 AM »
Does the term 'overlay' apply only to colored glass? Could this clear layer on this 'surface weight' be described as a clear overlay?

Is there actually a term floating around out there to describe this type of weight?
I collect Scottish and Italian paperweights and anything else that strikes my fancy.

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Offline karelm

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Re: Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2007, 05:46:27 AM »
As a novice I am not  ;D going to show my ignorance by getting involved in this discussion.
I have however found this helpfull http://www.cowtown.net/mikefirth/gloswts.htm
Kind regards
KarelM
Karel
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Offline Frank

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Re: Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2007, 10:08:38 AM »
'Commonly', the term 'overlay' does only apply only to colored glass over clear. Glassmaking tends to use different terminology from glassworks to glassworks and some terms can be used for very different things. The dealing/collecting world has added to that confusion by often inventing or reusing terminology in yet another way. One of the benefits of the web is that the discussion becomes international and in time, we should see more commonality... maybe.
Frank A.
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Offline KevinH

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Re: Terminology (kicking off with "surface decorated")
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2007, 11:42:50 PM »
KarelM,

Thanks for posting the link to the Glossary of Paperweight Terms.

As with many other things, it should be noted that we may well come across other meanings for the same terms. The glossary shown (based on one by Larry Selman, which itself has similar details to an earlier glossary by Jean S. Melvin) is, quite naturally, influenced by American usage. Therefore, do not be surprised to find alternatives elsewhere for some definitions.

On the point of "not getting involved - or showing ignorance", well, you are involved by posting. And quite right too. Without questions or basic statements from those "less knowledgeable", the "knowledge" of the "more epxerienced" ultimately becomes just a matter of static information.

So, if there's a question in anyone's mind, do not be afraid to raise it just because you may consider yourself to "lack knowledge". I lack a lot of knowledge but by asking, and investigating, I now have some idea of where to look for possible answers. And much of the time, that's what I do in the GMB - tell folk about what I have found elsewhere. ;D
KevinH

 

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