Helen Millard es una de las mejores grabadoras estilo camafeo de vidrio, desarrollando su propio estilo, usando combinaciones de vidrio color donde da diseño a la superficie para describir su fascinación y amor por la naturaleza.
Cada obra es soplada por Helen Millard en el corazón de la industria de soplado de vidrio del Reino Unido: Stourbridge, West Midlands.
Muchas piezas son por encargo y puede tomar entre treinta y cincuenta horas para realizarse, un pingüino, por ejemplo, puede tomar una hora de tallado.
El vidrio con la téccnica de camafeo fue la mayor contribución individual al mundo del vidrio hecho por los tallistas de camafeo de Stourbridge en el siglo 19. Más de un siglo después, Helen nos da un gran legado que continúa con sus propias visiones traducida al vidrio en el arte.
In recent years Helen Millard has established a rightful place as one of Britain’s top cameo glass artists. Helen became interested in cameo glass when she was a student and a spell working in France gave her further expertise in Graal glass, a variation of cameo glass developed in Sweden in the early 20th century.
She returned to cameo glass when she came to Stourbridge in 1996 and saw the cameo and engraved glass in the collections at Broadfield House Glass Museum. Blowing her own blanks, Millard has pioneered a staggering cameo process, unique to her, in which three identical size ‘eggs’ are blown, cooled and sliced into three, reheated and shaped into new bubbles, blown and finally carved. Each egg is blown in different combinations of three colours. When the ‘eggs’ are cold they are cut into three horizontal pieces.
All nine pieces are then reheated and the bubbles are reformed but using the bottom of one egg, the middle of another and the top of another, a process which is incredibly difficult technically as well as time-consuming. When each egg is finally blown to the required size the blank glass consists of three horizontal bands each with three layers of colours. The cameo blank is then carved with sandblasting to remove any unwanted areas while the finer details are achieved by hand using diamond burrs and the copper wheel lathe. Helen can achieve as many as nine or ten different colours and by juxtaposing different shades of the same colour many more subtle tones are created.
Her favourite subjects feature exotic designs of parrots, turtles, penguins, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, and snakes in tropical forest scenes. A restrained series of bowls feature insects or lizards in three-dimensional relief with the tracks of the creature in delicate shallow engraving around the body of the vase.
Many pieces are commissioned and may take between thirty and fifty hours to complete, one penguin for example can take an hour to carve. Helen also carves floral subjects often with a new approach to that pioneered by the greatest cameo carver George Woodall in the late 19th. She has also had the privilege of using George Woodall’s carving tools.
Cameo glass was the single greatest contribution to world glass made by the Stourbridge cameo carvers in the late 19th century. Over a century later Helen continues that great legacy with her own visions translated into cameo art glass.