Craft Center Gallery

gallery display of glass pendants. hanging glasswork around a window.

For the Right Price! 

glass rods and beads on displayOn the side of aesthetics, there a few principles or guidelines I like to follow.  The visual depth of glass, the optical effects of glass, and the melting process central to flameworking are three aspects of the art that I want to emphasize in the final product.

On the side of commerce, some of the principles to keep in mind are durability of the product, as well as the time and cost of production.

The first of these aesthetic principles is an emphasis on utilizing the visual depth that glass allows.  This entails techniques such as layering designs or complex intertwined strings of color in a clear or transparent matrix.  Synthesizing this principle with more commercial ones leads to the copious use of clear glass.  Clear glass provides the depth necessary without high costs.  The effect is magical and effective.  However, in these pieces I have generally had to abandon the encasing of opaques with clear in both solid and hollow work for reasons of time and cost; an effect I am fond of for giving a subtle depth not unlike a lustrous coat of car paint.

The second of these aesthetic principles is utilizing optical effects of glass.  Magnifying effects of glass domes, as well as refracting effects of glass can be used to allow different viewing experiences depending on angle and lighting effects.  The glass domes on pendants and marbles, as well as thin layers of transparent colors are some of the applications of emphasizing optical effects.  Synthesizing this principle with our commercial need to create durability leads to many large magnifying domes or marbles. This is because glass is strong under compression and weak under tension, domes and spheres are some of the strongest structures you can build with glass.  I find domes and bulbous quite pleasing and use them extensively.  However, I do chafe under just having these as designs; adding a variety of longer, thinner, and more vulnerable elements for variety.  This leads directly to breakage.  Most directly, pendant loops are vulnerable, a vulnerability I cannot see a way around that is not a hideous aesthetic disaster.

The third of these aesthetic principles is some emphasis on capturing the liquid state of glass that the piece goes through during the process of flameworking.  Some of that emphasis is literal: the gentle thickness gradation as the molten glass drips or is pulled and twisted, or the beading effects of molten glass pulling in on itself.  Some of that emphasis is more metaphorical: I like subjects that suggest movement or liquidity.  Glass is effective at depicting sea life because it fulfills both the literal and metaphorical: the sinuous curve of a shark moving through the water both bends smoothly while simultaneously suggesting freedom and movement.  In other subject matters, an eye pendant hangs moist and glistening, seemingly waiting to blink.  Sea life can be encased in clear, surrounding a delicate shape in a tough, solid coating (such as these jellyfish).  Depicting that level of delicateness outside a thick coating of clear is fraught with fragility, despite its appealing nature.  The thin fins, prickly spines, and undulating extensions of sea life is hard to depict in durable form.

These pieces thus are a blend of aesthetic and commercial principles that both succeed and fail at certain levels.  My opinion is that the pieces here largely work, but the omissions and failures do occasionally make me pause.