Explore this Artist’s Innovative Technique. Look, but Don’t Touch

Acid colours and gelatinously glittering strands make these knitted masterpieces look almost as if they’re made from confectionery. But the truth is cooler, and sharper: each of sculptor Carol Milne‘s deceptive pieces is made from cast and coloured glass.

Come Together

The Washington-based artist conjures up these artisan pieces using New Zealand lead crystal in her home studio. But the journey to this concept took a much more roundabout route. The young Carol, a self-taught knitting aficionado entranced by the craft circles that would take place in a local yarn shop, pursued studies in Landscape Architecture until her senior thesis, straddling art and landscape, persuaded her to fling herself into a career as a sculptor.

Black Hole

Working now in cast glass and metal, Carol has managed to combine her dual passions for art and knitting through a surprising realisation: whilst knitting with glass is difficult, knitting with the wax threads used by cast-glass sculptors when creating decorative molds is very much possible.

Carol now weaves together wax threads in a style perfectly resembling knitted fabric, coating the finished piece in a heat tolerant material and then melting away the wax inside to create a perfect mold. The tunnels left by the melted wax are filled with molten glass, left to cool, and the mold broken and removed to reveal these delicate and fascinating pieces. By replacing the supple yarn with brittle glass, Carol’s pieces make us take a second look at the form and surface itself.


Just don’t expect her to make you a Christmas jumper.

THE PLUS: Have you always been creative?
Carol Milne:
I truly believe everyone is creative.  But I have always been a non-conformist.  And taking the leap to being an “artist” is more about a willingness to blaze one’s own path in the world than it is about creativity.


TP: What attracts you to glass specifically, out of all the sculpting media?
Like a high-maintenance friend, glass is continually challenging. It requires extreme care in handling, attention to detail and lots of special treatment. The challenge keeps me on my toes. It is also an incredibly beautiful material. It captures light in a way that makes it kinetic without it actually changing positions. 


TP: How long do each of the pieces take to make?
Picasso would say that each piece took me my whole life to make. But to be exact…time depends upon the size and complexity of the piece being made. Three weeks is usually the minimum amount of time from start to finish. However, larger works can take two months or more.


TP: You’ve grown this collection over the course of many years – what inspires you to start a new piece?
Inspiration is over-rated. I simply show up in the studio every day and work. Sometimes “magic” happens. Sometimes I simply do the drudge work required to complete the “magic”. 

Every which way

TP: As a craft-based artist in an increasingly digital world, what does handcraft mean to you?
I am captivated by and very involved with the digital world, however, working with my hands is how I digest and process what is happening in the world around me.   Working with my hands “centres” me.  It forces me to concentrate on eye/hand coordination, on directly manipulating materials and seeing cause/effect up close and personal..  Handcraft is my way of thinking.

Missing a Few front
Purple Reigns
Tippy Toe
Three-way split