Fire & Ice - beginning to end

Jaco Roeloffs
Jun 30, 2019
5 min read
Dichroic GlassFound ObjectsGlassProcess
Dichroic Glass sculpture Fire & Ice installed at the home its new owner.
Dichroic Glass sculpture Fire & Ice installed at the home its new owner.

This glass was too good to be 'just a sample' waiting to be dumped. So I asked if I could have it. Essentially, Fire & Ice is a sculpture made from a found object.

I didn't specify this glass, I didn't pick the colours, I just saw the beauty in it waiting to be shown.

Sketches and ideas

A few early sketches below, trying to work out what I could do with these two pieces of dichroic glass.

sketches of fire and ice

Building the base

Form ply used to make the base and cavity.
Mesh cage that sits in the void of the form ply. This strengthens the cement.
My failed first attempt. This shows how thick the walls are.
Freshly poured cement.
End result, I drilled and chiselled the timber out where the glass will go in.
Just after the shape was cut with a Water Jet

Clamping System

We developed a clamping system to hold the glass in place. The system works by applying pressure evenly from the sides using steel plates. A solid 10mm plate on the back and 2 x 5mm on the face side. Two screws with a ‘wedge nut’ design pulls inwards when tightening.

Bringing it all together

The end result gives a rich glow in low light at night.

Brushed Stainless steel finishing

Brushed Stainless Steel band to finish off the sculpture
The steel finishes the sculpture off

The Brookfield Sculpture Show

The First Sculpture competition I entered was the Brookfield Show Sculpture section. Only a few kilometers away from my home.

This was where I met Ros Haydon and Judy Hamilton from Sculptors Queensland. They were asked to re-introduce sculpture back into the Brookfield show.

Fire and Ice breaks away from traditional sculptural materials, making excellent use of the strength and solidity of cement in the base while the glass pillars are used to reflect the ever changing colours of the atmosphere.Considerable thought has been given to the shape of the void between the glass pillars. It is this void that completes the sculpture, anchoring the piece to its environment.The stainless steel band acts as an effective ligament between the glass and the cement base.

Derek Johnston - Judge at the Brookfield Sculpture Show

Fire and ice is a sculpture made with dichroic glass. The glass glows red when facing a dominant light source, the reverse will always be blue.
The Sculpture Experience Fire and Ice is best positioned facing east in a large foyer or courtyard. The effect will then show blue glass in the morning when the sun is rising behind it. When the sun sets in the west and the light of the house/building shines towards the sculpture, a red glow will appear. Changing your viewing angle will also result in colour changes, for example moving up or down stairs and looking at the glass from another height.

The Shape

The negative space (cut out area) in the 2 panels of glass, forms a superellipse. This ellipse is also called a "Lamé Curve", the shape between a square and a circle (sometimes nicknamed a "squircle"). I was fascinated with this shape, and was looking for an opportunity to use it in my sculptures, it was just so different. Now, I see it quite often around me, for example the yellow plastic container inside a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg or designer table tops. The curve I chose for Fire and Ice was set to n=2.6

The Glass

The glass is 20mm structural laminated GJ ColourShift dichroic glass, made by G.James. This glass is strong enough stand frameless, grouted into the concrete plinth. It can withstand being outdoors, but an indoor setting will prolong the life of the sculpture.

The Visual Effect

Visual effects involving movement and light has an appeal with me. Which is why this glass caught my eye, it reminds me of the fluid movement of water and the opposite side of fire. The effect will continue to change and surprise you.

Mount Coot-Tha Gardens Exhibition

After the Brookfield Sculpture Show I entered it into the Sculptors QLD Yearly exhibition at Mt. Coot-Tha Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately my work was out of contention for any prizes because I won first prize at Brookfield. However I asked the judge Simone Oriti to give me feedback.

With Jaco’s work I appreciated the simplicity of forms/shapes and the subtle change of the glass colour. The silhouette of negative space also worked well in the setting in terms of framing some of the sculptural plants behind the work. It would also be great to see an even larger scale version of the work, bigger than human scale could create an interesting dynamic between the viewer and the work, hopefully Jaco gets an opportunity to explore this down the track.

Simone Oriti
Program Manager UAP - Judge at Sculptors QLD Yearly exhibition Mt. Coot-Tha Botanical Gardens.

A new permanent home

The new home of Fire & Ice in Brisbane
The sculpture is issued with a signed Certificate of Authenticity

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