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Chris Blade & Katya Filmus with the finished Glenfiddich glass stag head.

Chris Blade & Katya Filmus with the finished Glenfiddich glass stag head.

Chris Blade & Katya Filmus of the National Glass Centre, Sunderland have produced the first in a series of iconic crystal glass stag head sculptures to crown new point of sale display gondolas, as part of a £1M re-branding exercise, for Glenfiddich. It is anticipated that up to 21 of these exquisite casts will be unveiled at major airports worldwide.

The cast was commissioned from National Glass Centre as they have the specialist resources & experience to meet the exacting standards required for a project of this complexity.

Ian Taylor, Global Marketing Manger for Travel Retail at William Grant & Sons said: "From the outset we wanted to create a piece that was far closer to art than to retail furniture. As the project progressed it became obvious that we needed to work with the very best glass team available, and that meant Katya and Chris at the NGC in Sunderland."

The first Crystal Head graces Heathrow's Terminal 5 and is the 'jewel in the crown' of Glenfiddich's re-branded travel retail display. The second & third were unveiled in Frankfurt & Dubai airports at the end of 2010. JFK, Hong Kong and Singapore will soon grace them.

The primary sculpting was done at Windsor Workshops, London & the process of manufacturing in glass was then handed over to Chris Blade as project manager at the National Glass Centre, which is part of the University of Sunderland and Katya Filmus.

Each Crystal Head uses 50kg of the finest 30% lead crystal glass. The antlers are made separately & bonded after the final polish with hydrofloric & sulphuric acids.

The photos essay illustrates the production methods.
The Lost Wax process was selected as the most appropriate process for this project. Moulds are made using plaster & silica, reinforced with layers of wire. The glass is then melted into the mould in a kiln. It must then be cooled very slowly. For this project the annealing cycle was in excess of 6 weeks.

Photo essays of other casting projects may be seen by following links below:

  1. Casting a human head in glass
  2. The complete production process of a major Award for AkzoNobel. See the finished Award here
  3. Other glassmaking processes