West Cork Craft and Design Guild - A guide to some of Ireland's finest craftwork.

Michael Ray

Michael has been designing and producing for twenty-five years, working in a wide range of materials including Ceramic, Glass, Metal, Wood, Stone and Leather.

Lustre Bowl
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He is as equally at home making a sofa, as he is designing lighting or sculptures in public spaces.

Michael offers occasional courses in glass fusing, various aspects of Ceramics and Sculpture and has a small gallery with his workshop where he will be happy to discuss individual commissions.

He is a member of the Sculpture society of Ireland, the craft council of Ireland and the Irish contemporary glassmakers society.

Michael's work can be found in public, corporate and private collections throughout the world.

Commissions welcome.
Visitors welcome by appointment.

Castlefreke • Clonakilty • West Cork • Ireland

Tel: 023 - 48069
Mob: 086 - 8224813


Glass Fusing Process

Fused glass is said to have been discovered about 4,000 years ago by Phoenician sailors who cooked a meal on a beach under the stars. When they moved their pots the next morning, the sand beneath had turned to glass. Art glass fusing virtually disappeared when the Romans developed glass blowing, resurfacing in the 1940s.

While there are many different kinds of glass, the essential elements are still sand and intense heat.

My Glass lights, shelves and vessels are made by layering glass and combining it with a variety of minerals, powdered glass and precious metals. These materials are known as "inclusions" and create the colours and patterns you see in my glass. Once the glass has been heated to fusing temperature (about 800°C) the colours of the inclusions are manipulated by changing the atmosphere within the kiln. The pieces then undergo a very slow cooling known as "annealing" after which the glass for jewellery is cut, ground and polished to reveal the colours and patterns within.

Glass fusing is not an exact science there are so many variables ranging from atmospheric conditions to the different melting temperatures of glass batches, this means that the unexpected often happens, and so often, the beautiful accident is impossible to replicate!

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Commissioning process

The commissioning process is approached as collaboration between the client and myself. Initial discussions establish the scope and budget for a project as well as define the functional and aesthetic requirements of the space. A site review is conducted whenever feasible or studies through site plans, sketches or photos. Special considerations such as structural requirements, lighting features, co-ordination and scheduling are also discussed at this time.

Proposal and conceptual design

Once an understanding of the project aims is reached, I will furnish a written proposal for conceptual design development. The conceptual design may include models, sketches, digital renderings and prototypes as the project demands. Continued discussions allow for further refinement of the work.

Fabrication and installation

Upon approval of the final design, an agreement is executed for the fabrication and installation of the work. In new construction or in cases where extensive site preparation is required, I will work closely with the architect and general contractor to ensure an orderly and timely installation. If the client is providing for installation, I will provide on-site supervision of required.

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