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Gallery owner
Anne Reigstad

Ymir Glass Design

Through the Looking Glass

I borrowed the title from Lewis Carroll's novel where Alice enters a glass room through a mirror to see what the world is like on the other side. I bet it is almost like looking into the depth of dichroic glass jewelry.
Like my two business partners I have always had a passion for the creative process - either by using the written word, or a medium that could be formed into visual art. The visual part almost got the best of me when I went to school in Copenhagen to become a window display designer. But after I finished school I made a 25 year long detour into journalism in my home country Norway, working as a newspaper journalist.
After moving to Maine 20 years ago I ventured into another area of creativity, and studied web design - a skill I now use to promote the jewelry business I share with my husband Robert Harris.
15 years ago I was put on a new path when my husband came home from work and said we needed a hobby. He suggested we both learned how to make stained glass panels. We approached this new challenge with great interest, and I loved every moment of learning the trade and making panels. But one day I saw a picture of dichroic glass jewelry, and I was hooked. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a kiln and that beautiful sparkly expensive dichroic glass.  
For several years I also worked as an instructor for Bangor Adult Education, teaching stained glass.

A pendant made from many layers of
dichroic glass.

Dichroic glass can also be used in a more subtle way to create more delicate looking jewelry.

We spent over a year experimenting and learning the skills of making dichroic glass jewelry before we took our jewelry to the market. We established our business, Ymir Glass Design – named after a giant in Norse mythology. We became members of United Maine Craftsmen and have enjoyed participating in many of their shows.
We make our jewelry mainly from dichroic glass and art glass – fused together in a kiln at near 1500 degree F.
Dichroic glass has become popular among glass artists and jewelry makers because of its vibrant colors and intriguing shine.
Because dichroic glass is a spinoff from the space industry, it is often referred to as "space age glass". The dichroic coating was originally developed by NASA and used in satellite mirrors.
Because of the coatings' ability to reflect almost all light energy, we can find it in Halogen lights, infrared lasers and movie making equipment.

Facts about dichroic glass

Actually, the term dichroic glass is incorrect. Dichroic is a coating so thin that it has to adhere to something, and glass is an ideal medium.
Many molecular thin layers of melted quartz crystal and metal oxides are deposited onto the glass in a vacuum chamber. It's a complicated process that makes this glass among the most expensive in the world.
What we experience as color is the frequency - or wavelength - of light that is reflected back to us from the object we are looking at. The color we see is dependent on how much of the light is absorbed by the object, and how much is reflected.
If less then 1 % of the light is reflected, the object is black. If more then 90 % of the light is reflected, the object is white.
What's so intriguing about the dichroic coating is that all light energy is either reflected or transmitted. The coating itself is colorless.
So, why does jewelry made from dichroic glass have such vibrant, bright, sparkling colors?
The coating forms a crystal structure comprised of many layers, and the layers reflect different wavelengths of light. In other words; it's the thickness of the coating that determines what color we experience.
More technically, the layers produce an interference filter. This interference effect can also be seen in nature, in a dragonfly wing or a bird feather.

The pictures show a small part of the process of making dichroic glass jewelry - from cutting the glass to melting it in the kiln.

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