Almeric Walter was born in Sevres in 1870 and is famous for his work in pate-de-verre glass. He received a lengthy training at the Manufacture Nationale de Sevres which provided him with a solid understanding of model and mould making, painting, and enameling. At the same time French Decorative Arts were experiencing a creative rebirth as such masters as Galle and Daum were transforming the techniques, forms, and decorations of art glass.
Pâte-de-verre as a basic concept was produced by Ancient Egyptian and Roman glassmakers, prior to the first century AD. At its simplest, the process includes filling a refractory mould with granules of glass, heating the glass in a kiln until the grains fuse into a single mass, cooling and breaking away the mould, followed by cleaning and selective polishing of the glass. The benefit of this method is that colors can be specifically placed within the mould, creating elaborate decorative coloring. The difficulties of the process are numerous; mould breakdown, imprecise temperature control, unwanted color flow, gaps in the fused glass, inability to view glass during firing due to mould, destruction of mould during firing process, and difficult color placement in a three-dimensional mould. Walter produced editions of his pâte-de-verre pieces, which means he either perfected the ability to reproduce the moulds and waxes in quantity, or in keeping with his formal ceramic training, created a master mould from which to make numerous wax copies. He also excelled at placing and keeping different colored glass exactly where he wanted them. He developed a glass paste with a high level of lead, which created a softer glass which fired at a lower temperature. This was ground into a very fine paste and painted on the inside of the mould before filing and firing.

Image Copyright © Fumio Sawa Fine Art, 2014. All Rights Reserved