Playing with Broken Glass

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That’s right! Conservation students get to do all the things we weren’t supposed to do as children! (Except eating the paste – that is still frowned upon.)

We have spent the past week studying the conservation of glass with Stephen Koob, expert glass conservator from the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. Stephen’s class took a hands-on approach to teach us the delicate balance between the extraordinary durability and fragility of glass.

First we learned about the history of glass manufacture, its unique chemical composition and physical structure, and its deterioration and treatment. Afterwards, each student worked to reassemble two broken glass vessels. We experimented with Paraloid B72, various epoxies, and even some commercial products like Elmer’s Glue-All. We also practiced making molds and casting fills.

In the end we all learned not to fear the sharp shards, but rather to appreciate their fantastic qualities of strength, transparency, and form. Thank you to Stephen who was a great, practical teacher!

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