Copperglass series by Silva Sancho

Copperglass is a series of glass objects designed by Silva Sancho, a young Portuguese designer with a strong interest in materials and their boundaries. This collection constitutes the result of a material challenge involving Glass and Copper – copper wires used as subtle color notes in clear transparent glass.

The Beginning

Silva Sancho: I must relate this series with another project called ANTEFACES, in which I created a narrative through around 30 chronologically organized objects, to represent how people from birth to adult age change and evolve in terms of social interaction, how they choose to develop ” masks” to protect themselves. When I was still sketching some general ideas, I came across the thought of using clear glass to represent a pure soul, like a child’s spirit, and opaque colors or materials to showcase those social masks that partially cover that purity. The Copperglass series was born while working on that project, with that concept in mind, even though they were so different from any other piece that I produced that I decided to place them as another collection.

Copper and Glass

Silva Sancho: I tried first with aluminum, it melted into peculiar dark green bubbles. Copper, on the other hand, melts around the same temperature as glass, I didn’t know what was going to happen, to be honest, my master was advising me not to do that because it would either crack or turn greenish, so the only way to actually know was to try and see. I was aiming to use metal as color in clear glass, and copper has this beautiful rose gold shades, even when it fully oxidizes, copper changes its color into turquoise which is still beautiful to me. I was just dead curious to see what was going to happen.

Main Challenges

Silva Sancho: Around 5 pieces cracked in the reduction kiln and during the finishing, because copper conducts heat way better than glass, so when you’re cutting the piece with copper wires inside, the wires heat way more due to friction, automatically cracking the glass. Sometimes you can still save the piece, other times it becomes useless. It was also challenging to add glass to the piece with loose copper stuck with it, one wire lost in the glass kiln can ruin dozens of kilos of virgin glass.

The final objects

Silva Sancho: I never expected the copper to turn black. In fact, I intended to ”pollute” the glass, as I was working in the project (ANTEFACES) I mentioned earlier. So it was intended, the apparently random and chaotic pattern, the more wavy and organized, and the big polished gout with just a small concentration of wires inside. The color turned out to be a pleasant surprise, since you can still identify the metal like copper, without it being too obvious.

Interview with Silva Sancho | Photography Silva Sancho.