Pâte de verre



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Pâte de verre literally translates as paste of glass. For this technique very fine glass powders and frits are combined with water and often gum Arabic, to form a paste. The paste is fired in a plaster mould to create the form required. This technique is a very old technique dating back to ancient Greece. It became popular again during the Art Nouveau period, predominately in France with artists such as Gabriel Argy-Rousseau, Henry and Jean Cros, Albert Dammouse, Francois Decorchemont, Amalric Walter, Emile Galle and Georges Despret, honing the technique.

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General Technique

Forming and shaping

Specific Technique

Pâte de verre

Properties & Qualities


Art Sculpture Sample Making





Sample Information

Date of creation



11.5cm Height x 18cm Diameter

Culture & Context

Records of this technique have been discovered as far back as the Mesopotamians. Over time the technique fell out of favour but was revived in the 19th Century. It is currently very popular technique in kiln work with notable artists such as Alicia Lome creating beautiful and complex forms. Testament to the current popularity if the technique is Tone Ørvik and Max Stewart’s book Pâte de Verre: The Material of Time, published in 2022.


I enjoy using the delicate technique of pâte-de-verre as it gives an ephemeral quality to the glass. In my practice I question how to navigate knowing and uncertainty; the space between the known and unknown. These themes are reflected in the precarious nature of the work’s structure. I chose my approach to the material to reflect the themes of the work.

Process & Production

The first step is to create a clay or wax positive from which a refractory mould is created. This mould is built up in thin layers so that it can be removed more easily after the firing process. It also allows for a finer mix on the surface of the mould and a stronger reenforced final layer, often incorporating glass fibers. A thin and strong mould is key to a successful firing.

This mould is then filled with the glass paste, this is done in layers, building up the piece slowly. Once the glass layers are complete the center of the form is filled with talc and then the mould with the glass inside is dryed slowly overnight in a kiln.

Once dry the pieces can be fired to the desired temperature. These pieces are fired at very low temperatures to keep the opacity and matt finish of the glass surface. In the firing process the outer layer of each individual grain of glass melts, just enough to fuse together into a whole. The end result is a glass that looks very like ceramic.

Recipe Details

Plaster mould = plaster silica in 1:1 ratio, for final layer add glass fibres

Glass form = bullseye glass powders/frits and water


Craft Maker

Fiona Byrne

Library Contributor

National College of Art & Design Ireland


William Croall Photography Mowenna Kearsley