Simple elegance... That's the goal for my three dimensional
stained glass objects. Rather than adorning a creation with a multitude
of filigree, decorative soldering, beads, bangles, and jewels, I prefer
to select the glass to fit the mood of the piece. It's not that I never
use any of those "decorations," it's just that I use them very sparingly.
Glass is all about the transmission, reflection, refraction and diffusion
of color and light. Complementary and contrasting colors and textures are
what determine the character of a work. The interplay between glass and
light creates contrast between sparkle and shadow, brilliantly
saturated chroma and dark hues. Depending on the light, a particular
piece of glass can be either a plain drab white, or an explosion of
iridescence. It is the glass which dances with the light, and it is the
dance which communicates emotion.
I've been fascinated with fire for as long as I can remember, and there's
nothing more satisfying than throwing a sheet of glass in the kiln and
bending it to your will. Glass sometimes doesn't cooperate, though.
On the rare occasion, you can put the same make and color of glass with the
same mold that you've used numerous times before, and that glass will fold,
or fall, or stretch in ways you've not seen before. Part of the fascination
with this kind of glass work is opening the kiln in the morning to see
what the night-fire has wrought.
Making the mold is where most of the creation occurs, though. Before you can bend the glass to your will, you must define that will in the body of the clay. The creativity within clay is virtually boundless, while the compliance of the glass to that clay is quite limited. It is the introduction of the versatility of clay to the rigidity of glass under the electric fire of the kiln, and finding how far you can stretch the overlap between the two that creates and defines the challenge of this technique.
Once again we have the interaction of fire and glass. Here, the
manipulation of the glass is so much more direct and immediate; the flame
of the torch so much more visceral than the electric elements of the
kiln-fire. Here, you push and pull, stretch and compress, shaping the
gooey mass to your liking. At these temperatures, there are no colors,
save orange and yellow. Soften some blue rod, wind it onto the mandrel,
then white, and black. The glob on the shaft resembles something from
a B-horror movie. Shaping it, the colors flow and flatten together, unseen.
As the mass slowly cools, swirls begin to appear, then areas of dark
and light are discernable, and finally, when the colors begin to appear,
you discover whether you have managed to envision the outcome...
or, if you made the outcome match the vision ;)