Pāte de verre is a method of kiln firing that uses powered glass. Glass that has been previously melted is crushed and placed in a heat-resistant plaster mold, then fired again in a kiln. After it is slowly cooled, the glass is taken out of the kiln, removed from the mold, and finished by polishing.
Although it seems to be a simple technique, pāte de verre is extremely delicate and time consuming. In this 30-minute video, glass artists Shin-ichi and Kimiake Higuchi show how they create their work using a process that they have been studying and refining since 1987.
Kimiake demonstrates the making of a cabbage leaf, while Shin-ichi creates a mosaic piece. The video was produced at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, where the Higuchis have spent the last several summers teaching the pāte de verre technique.
Although they have no formal training in glassworking, the Higuchis have become highly respected teachers and studio artists. Shin-ichi, who studied architecture and design, later worked with Ettore Sott-sass in Italy. Kimiake studied music and painting in Italy, and then worked as a potter in Japan.
Today, this husband and wife team lives and works in Japan. Their intimate glass sculptures, which express a love for nature, are considered by may experts to be among the finest pāte de verre works ever produced.