Sean O’Donogue grew up in the south east of Ireland, an area rich in ancient crafts. At just 15 years of age Sean fulfilled his dream by being accepted into Waterford Crystal on a five year apprenticeship, after 10 years Sean became a Master Blower. Needing a new and exciting challenge Sean decided to leave Waterford after 14 years.
He found that challenge in Australia, finally settling in Noosa, Queensland. Inspired by the Reefs, Rainforests and his days at Waterford, he continues to create his craft, glass blowing extrodinary artworks.
Now in his state-of-the-art electric studio (the only one in the Southern hemisphere), Sean has created a glass ball, as a paperweight that looks down on Australia, as if you are looking through the clouds from outer space. It is a design Sean has been perfecting over the last few years.
Lampwork paperweights have objects such as flowers, fruit, butterflies or animals constructed by shaping and working bits of colored glass with a gas burner or torch and assembling them into attractive compositions, which are then incorporated into the dome. This is a form particularly favored by studio artists. The objects are often stylized, but may be highly realistic.
The paperweight is made from 100% recycled glass and the studio in which it is made is emission free. Sean uses coloured glass particles with steel tools to create images on the glass. The material Sean uses was designed by NASA and used
Sean has created a wonderful range of variations using this technique, maps of Australia, handprints, we are hoping for the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge. Glassblowing involves three furnaces. The first, which contains a crucible of molten glass, is simply referred to as "the furnace." The second is called the "glory hole", and is used to reheat a piece in between steps of working with it. The final furnace is called the "lehr" or "annealer", and is used to slowly cool the glass, over a period of a few hours to a few days, depending on the size of the pieces. This keeps the glass from cracking due to thermal stress. Historically, all three furnaces were contained in one, with a set of progressively cooler chambers for each of the three purposes. Many glassblowing studios in Mexico and South America still employ this method.