In creating delicate cast-glass open vessels imprinted with highly detailed natural forms, Charlie Miner employs a complex system of lost wax casting informed by his considerable background in bronze. First an original is made from carving wax, porcelain or clay; and, a rubber mold is made from the original. The wax piece is placed in a wooden form and completely covered with a soft plaster investment bearing air vents. Next, the wax is melted out by forcing steam through the vents. Once dry, a large block of plaster with a negative image of the piece is applied. The mold is then placed in a large electric kiln. Next the mold is filled with powderized 24% lead crystal glass is heated in an electric kiln, which often reaches temperatures of 1600⁰C degrees. It is then slowly cooled over the next week or two to prevent cracking. Finally, it is polished with sanding blocks impregnated with diamond chips. The process of creating a single piece may take upwards of three months.
The results are imparted with an irreproducible texture; often resembling stone, it holds all the attraction of glass. Miner comments, “These pieces represent my goal to have a body of work that is visually pleasing on both the interior and the exterior, but that retain a strong utilitarian feeling.”
Educated at Pilchuk Glass School, Miner founded Tesuque Glassworks in 1975. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Corning Glass Museum, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Tucson Museum of Art.