Glass Angels

Angel Memories
 We are your angels, and we shall love you throughout eternity
These little hand made, Glass Angels, just big enough to hold in the palm of your hand, are cast in glass with a loved one’s ashes embedded into them. They are lovingly created for you to be able to hold them close to you at all times.

Internationally renowned glass artist Sallie Portnoy has joined together with ecological artist Trypheyna McShane to bring you this unique and exquisite way to honour and stay close to your loved ones, who have been cremated. Cast glass sculpture, both kiln fired and hot cast from the furnace, is Sallie’s specialty. She also works in clay, bronze, cement and polystyrene dependant upon the project. Sallie says: “Inspiration is a mystery to me. What I create surprises and excites me and offers a window into deep experiences of consciousness. My creative output filters through my fascination with human nature, the physical form, psychology, mysticism and the enigmas of ritual.”

Glass – An alchemist‘s dream.

“There is something about this material that is alive. Before being melted it is pure silica sand, after melting it is glass and it will be glass forever – there is an alchemy in this process,”

Glass is made from sand, silica, the simplest, most humble and abundant mineral material on our planet. Sand symbolically expresses the vastness of our Universe, both internally and externally. For every grain of sand on our beaches and deserts there are billions of stars in the sky. Matching, externally, these billions of galaxies internally, inside our bodies, there are also billions of atoms.

The little Glass Angels, that enclose a minute proportion of the ashes of your loved one, symbolise that nothing is in fact destroyed nor created but just changes form. In the same process that takes us through the fire of death, or the breakdown of matter through the soil which transforms our bodies, to ashes and soul, so does sand trans-form when taken through the extreme heat of fire to take on a new life in the form of glass.

Nobody knows when the ability to turn sand into glass came about. The theory is that around five millennia ago a fire was created on a beach or in the desert, and little pieces of glass were later discovered buried in the sand.  It is fascinating to know lightening can also turn sand to glass, because temperatures are so high.
Historians came to the conclusion that for this accidental discovery to take place, the sand involved in the creation of glass would have had to have come from an evaporated lake or sea. Sodium, salt, reduces the melting point of silica. Some sand is black, yellow or red. This is not silica; sand that contains silica is semi-transparent. The melting point of pure silica is incredibly high; so high that a simple fire would not have been enough to create glass. For that reason, when glass was first formed, there must have been sodium with the silica.

Silica is found in many of the rocks of our wonderful planet. You will recognize silica from its white colour. Most glass now is a mixture of a large amount of silica from fine white sand or pulverized sandstone, combined with smaller amounts of an alkali like soda (sodium bicarbonate) or potash to lower its melting point, and lime (from limestone) which helps stabilize the mixture and makes the glass stronger. Coloured glass is made by adding chemicals, particular chemicals create specific colours. Amber or brown glass gets its colour from iron sulphide. Iron-chromate creates green, and cobalt beautiful shades of blue.

The glass for your angels is heated in a furnace inside a mould. Once molten it can be worked. At this stage it looks like honey. It has to be worked quickly, because as it cools it becomes hard. Then it is ‘annealed’ which eliminates areas of stress in the glass to strengthen it, by cooling it down at controlled temperatures. The angels are then hand worked with love before they fly to you.
To order your Angels either contact Trypheyna at