Glass - Back to the Future!

Presenting Author:
Tyra Oseng-Rees

article posted 06 April 2016

Tyra Oseng-Rees explores the physical and aesthetic properties of fused recycled glass, combining scientific and practice based approaches. Using a combination of design engineering and design thinking methods the research postulates an emergent theory that waste glass can be used for architectural applications. The resultant material provides structural integrity and necessary aesthetic qualities required by both architects and end users.

With an art and design background and an inherent desire to understand the material properties, Dr Oseng-Rees’ research establishes the necessity for knowing the structure of the material before applying industrial design methods. This requires the research to be based on both material science and creative design principles.

Her vision is to pioneer new applications and sustainable manufacturing processes using recycled glass. Part of that vision is the desire to establish a new discourse amongst scientists, engineers, artists and architects. The outcome will address material and building specifications for indoor and outdoor installations as well as creating end-user acceptability of the products.

The aesthetic investigation of a new recycled glass material

Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees
Senior Research Associate Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, ALEX Design Exchange, Alexandra Road, Swansea, SA1 5DU

This paper is building upon previous publications by Oseng-Rees, T.,, and will be discussing, from the artistic perspective, the innovation and development of a new glass material and artefacts made from recycled container glass. The practice based approach was imperative in the artistic response to the recycled glass material which led to the artefacts that were exhibited at the Turner Museum of Glass, Sheffield 2016.

The dual pathways of the research project, physical and aesthetic, suggested the possibility of a novel approach to the formulation and resolution of research questions within the project. As a design engineer the primary research question is to establish if the material properties are fit for purpose, using quantitative means of measuring stability and strength of the glass.

The results of the material property testing is beyond the scope of this paper, however, the outcomes from the material testing, informed the second phase of the research, which in this case was a qualitative one. As aesthetic questions tend to arise as a result of practical work, which may or may not lead to the discovery of hypotheses, it became apparent that both scientific and practiced based approaches were found to be appropriate in the evolution of this project (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005).

This paper will explore the aesthetic investigation of the recycled glass material such as colour, texture and translucency by using various sizes of glass cullet and changes of kiln cycles. It also discusses the development of the production of three-dimensional devitrified objects through a three-phase-process of fusion, slumping and undertaking a devitrification process.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2005). The Sage handbook of Qualitative Research (Vol. third edition). London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Oseng-Rees, T. & Donne, K., 2015, Innovation and development of a new recycled glass material. Glass Technology: European Journal of Glass Science and Technology Part A., Vol 56, No 2, April.pp. 43-51, ISSN 1753-3546

Oseng-Rees, T. E., Donne K. E., Bender, R. and Brown, R. D. H., 2014, Developing design criteria for fused recycled glass tiles, Craft Research, Intellect Journals, Vol 5, No 1, pp. 55–79, ISSN 2040-4689

Dr. Oseng, T., Prof. Donne, K., & Bender, R., 2009, Physical and Aesthetic Properties of Fused Recycled Bottle Glass, Making Futures: the crafts in the context of emerging global sustainability agendas, Plymouth, UK, Vol 1, ISSN 2042-1664 257.