Krypton, being what chemists call a noble gas, glows when it's housed inside of a gas-discharge lamp. Craft the lamp's glass into specific letters and you get luminescent signage — like a red, neon "Open" sign. Hand-shape your own glass, however, and you can create something way more interesting than a boring old window sign.
Case in point: Embodiment. That's the name of the arresting sculpture pictured here. Crafted by Portland-based sculptor Eric Franklin, Embodiment took over 1,000 hours to produce. The sculpture stands at 78-inches tall, and actually comprises 10 separate pieces. Each component had to be sculpted individually by flameworking borosilicate glass before being carefully assembled into the full skeleton you see here. Franklin recently described the process to the folks over at Colossal Design Blog:
Every glass seal has to be perfect, and this piece contains hundreds. Everywhere one tube joins another, or a tube terminates, glass tubes were sealed together. They have to be perfect in order to preserve the luminosity of the krypton. If one rogue molecule gets inside the void of the glass tubing it can eventually contaminate the gas and it will no longer glow. There are times when the holes in the seals are so small that you cannot actually see them with your eyes without the help of a leak detector. Once the glass pieces are ready to get filled with gas, I pull a high vacuum while the glass is hot in order to evacuate any dust or water vapor from the interior surface until there are literally no molecules inside the void of the glass. Then the krypton can be introduced and the glass sealed off. It's an extremely tedious process, one I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with.
All photographs by Brad Carlile. Click to embiggen.