Etsuko Ichikawa’s Glass Pyrograph Uses Molten Glass To Scorch Abstract Designs On Paper


We’ve seen many artists use unlikely tools to fashion their creations. The Glass Pyrograph series has to be one of the most unique, with its abstract designs scorched onto large sheets of paper using molten glass.

Made by Tokyo-born Seattle artist Etsuko Ichikawa, the abstract patterns come in varied designs. Some look like fumes slowly cursing through the air, while others appear like viscous substances swirling in a pool of fluids. Either way, each one makes for a mesmerizing sight, especially once you learn about the artist’s process for making them.


To make the Glass Pyrographs, Ichikawa removes fiery, molten glass from a kiln while it burns at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit. She then wields the glowing, burning glass over a large, thick sheet of paper using sweeping, expressive gestures, leaving it with burn marks that vary depending on how the components have been manipulated. She describes it as similar to photography, where light is recorded on film, “capturing and eternalizing the immediacy of a moment.” It’s important to note how easy it is to make mistakes during the process of creation – linger over a spot on the paper a little too long and the whole thing can end up catching fire (paper, after all, has an auto-ignition point of just 451 degrees Fahrenheit).


Check out Ichikawa’s Glass Pyrograph collection directly from the artist’s website.


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