Sculptor Ben Young (previously) just unveiled a collection of new glass sculptures prior to the Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design (SOFA) Fair in Chicago next month. Young works with laminated clear float glass atop cast concrete bases to create cross-section views of ocean waves that look somewhat like patterns in topographical charts. The self-taught artist is currently based in Sydney but was raised in Waihi Beach, New Zealand, where the local landscape and surroundings greatly inspired his art. You can learn more about his sculptures over on Kirra Galleries, and follow him on Facebook.
Emulsifier is a curious glass sculpture designed by artist Thomas Medicus. The piece is built from 160 glass strips that are hand-painted on four sides with complimentary images. Only when the object is rotated and viewed from the right angle do the images appear. Watch the video above to see how it works.
When first contemplating these glass sculptures by Seattle-based artist Carol Milne, your imagination runs wild trying to figure out how she does it. Glass has a melting point of around 1,500°F (815°C), so how could it possibly manipulated into neatly organized yarn-like strands that are looped around knitting needles. The answer lies in a technique invented by Milne in 2006 that involves aspects of knitting, lost-wax casting, mold-making, and kiln-casting.
First, a model of the sculpture is made from wax which is then encased by a refractory mold material that can withstand extremely high temperatures. Next, hot steam is used to melt the wax, leaving behind an empty cavity in the shape of the artwork. Pieces of room temperature glass are then placed inside the mold which is then heated to 1,400-1,600 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the type of glass. Afterward, the piece is slowly cooled over a period of several weeks, followed by a careful excavation process, where Milne delicately chips away like an archaeologist to reveal the final piece.
As part of this year’s DUMBO Arts Festival, sculptor Tom Fruin installed his famous plexiglass house, Kolonihavehus, in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The multi-colored house was lit from inside and temporarily inhabited by performance duo CoreAct who engaged in a collaborative physical performance that is described here by DUMBO:
The colorful glass house is inhabited by two performers, who portray everyday dilemmas and lifestyle paradoxes in a subtle manner. They have lost the ability to meaningfully discriminate, and are trapped in a long chain of procrastination, mirroring our current social patterns.
Artist Chris Wood works with colored glass to create colorful, prism-like mazes and mandalas of light installed vertically on walls. Her most common material is dichroic (meaning ‘two color’) glass, a material invented by NASA in the 1950s that has a special optical coating meant to reflect certain wavelengths of light while letting others through. At some angles the glass appears completely reflective, somewhat like a mirror of gold. Wood has constructed a number of different glass, mirror, and other light installations which have been carefully documented on her website. (via My Modern Met)
Self-taught artist Ben Young is a man of many exceptional talents from surfing and skateboarding to repairing furniture and working full-time as a qualified boat builder. He’s also spent the last decade exploring the art of sculpting with glass, an endeavor that’s become increasingly rewarding as galleries and collectors have started to take notice.
Using sheet after sheet of carefully cut glass, Young builds both abstract and realistic interpretations of waves and bodies of water, undoubtedly influenced by growing up near the beautiful Bay of Plenty on the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Many people assume his work is made with the help of machines, or maybe even 3D printing, but instead everything is done completely by hand, from his initial sketches on paper to the manual cutting of each glass pane, a process he aptly describes as “a lot of work.”
Honeybees Swarming a Floral Hive Cluster. Photo by Ron Farina.
Though it may seem implausible, these translucent orbs bursting with activity and life are made entirely from glass by New Jersey-based artist Paul Stankard, largely considered to be the father of modern glass paperweights. While many will find his work instantly recognizable, if you’re like me, you might have been unaware that modern glass paperweights existed. Stankard is a pioneer in the studio glass movement and his techniques have helped change the course of artistic glass for the last few decades.
After battling undiagnosed dyslexia for his entire youth (at one time graduating the bottom of his class), Stankard struggled greatly to identify his life’s calling. While in college he discovered scientific glass blowing, the manual process of creating scientific instruments out of glass for use in laboratories. He was instantly hooked and for 10 years worked with industrial glass. Eventually the pressure of a growing family at home lead to an experiment with the creation of glass paperweights in his garage to supplement his income.
When Stankard suddenly directed a decade of industrial glassworking techniques into the interpretation of flowers, bees, vines, and leaves encased in glass, it wasn’t long before an art dealer discovered his work and he began to create art full-time. His pieces now appear in over 60 museums around the world including the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Louvre.