I have been working in glass for 43 years; 10 years as a glassblower, 33 years in furnace-formed solid sculpture, concurrent with 18 years of cast glass sculpture. Glass is a unique material where light has a natural voice, light is contained within glass. This gives rise to qualities of color and form that are unique to glass. The weight and refractive volume of glass creates a structure for color and light. It is quite unique and fascinating.
My work in furnace-formed glass follows a pursuit of color and form. I celebrate color, an internal symphony that glass embraces and magnifies. The term “furnace-formed” signifies a concentrated period of time, days or weeks, devoted to exploring form and color in hot glass. This is a physical and cognitive dialogue between myself, other glassmakers, glass, and time. Working at the furnace is heavy work, which fosters a partnership with other glassmakers, wherein collaborative effort brings a glass piece to completion. Only time spent learning the skill of craft will allow an artist to achieve a mastery of intent with glass.
After cooling, pieces are brought to the coldworking studio where a meditative process begins. The pieces created at the furnace are then redesigned with carving and polishing in the coldworking studio. Coldworking allows an artist to radically change the forms created at the furnace. By cutting away segments of color, light is carried deep into the core, which creates a new sculpture from within. In glass, light magnifies color, color influences form, form becomes external and internal. With transparency, color becomes a sculptural component.
In the cast glass sculptures, the initial sculpture is a Styrofoam maquette. A rubber mold is made of this maquette, then wax forms are made from the rubber mold. With this method, I am able to create a diverse array of wax forms for casting. Each sculpture is a unique lost wax casting, the mold is destroyed in the divestment of the cast sculpture. Each sculpture also evolves considerably after the piece is cast in glass. After the metamorphism from wax to glass, I respond to the sculpture with an immediacy of recognition. Perhaps the weight or the level of transparency impels me to rework particular lines or remove volume to streamline the form. This process is completed with electric grinding tools, diamond pads and silicon carbide grit.
My need to alter the cast glass form and explore qualities of color is the same creative urge that occurs with the furnace formed pieces. I see the initial glass pieces as one step in a sculpture, as material for further creative development. All the pieces are a beginning, a possibility to open a pathway for new work.
Glass continues to engage me. I follow a path that is an evolving, continual dialogue between myself and the material. All the information gained on technique, process and finishing is instrumental in the planning and completion of new work.
I think of my sculptures as streamlined forms that contain a sensory thought. With abstract form, line and mass, I strive to connect the viewer to the memory of transitory moments and experiences. I work to discover my own language of form, to create sculptures that bring a shared identity with my audience.