glass

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Art Craft Design Documentary History

Glass: An Oscar-Winning Documentary Short on Dutch Glassblowing from 1958

March 24, 2016

Christopher Jobson

Glass is a 1958 non-verbal documentary short by Bert Haanstra that contrasts glassblowing techniques used inside the Royal Leerdam Glass Factory with more modern industrial machines. The first half shows several men at work using traditional glassblowing to create ornate objects like vases and mugs set against jazz music, while the second part shifts abruptly into the mechanized world of industrial glass production set to a whimsical score of more synthesized music. Also, there’s a ton of great smoking! It’s a really unusual little film that went on to pick up an Oscar for Documentary Short Subject in 1959.

Glass was made available by Aeon as part of their wonderfully curated selection of videos on art, design, culture, and news topics. (via Vimeo)

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Art Science

Artist Kiva Ford Utilizes Scientific Glassblowing Techniques to Create Unusual Glass Sculptures

January 29, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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By day, Virgina-based glass artist Kiva Ford (previously) fabricates one-of-a-kind glass instruments designed for special applications in scientific laboratories. By night, he retires to his home art studio where he utilizes his vast skillset to create curious glass vessels, miniatures, goblets, and other unusual creations working entirely by hand. Ford says his artistic practice is heavily inspired by his interests in mythology, history, and science.

Ford’s artistic observations of the natural world have begun to merge directly with his scientific glassblowing abilities in a number of new hybrid pieces. In Metamorphosis and Metamorphosis II, we see the sequence of a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly and an egg turning into a frog, all seamlessly encapsulated by handmade glass instruments, evoking the mystery of a ship in a bottle.

You can follow more of Ford’s work on Instagram and he sells hundreds of glass objects—mostly miniatures—through his Etsy shop. (via Hi-Fructose)

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Art Craft

Space Glass: Extraordinary Solar Systems and Flowers Encased in Glass by Satoshi Tomizu

November 19, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Glass artist Satoshi Tomizu sculpts small glass spheres that appear to contain entire solar systems and galaxies. Planets made of opals, flecks of real gold, and trails of colored glass seem to spin and loop like twists in the Milky Way. While photographed here in a macro view, the pieces are actually quite small and include a small glass loop so each piece can be turned into a pendant. I can’t help but be reminded of this pivotal scene from the acclaimed Men in Black film.

Tomizu’s glass work recently won a Atelier Nova Design Award and appeared at the Handmade in Japan Festival. You can explore much more of his work in this Facebook gallery and on his website. (via My Modern Met)

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Art

Delicate 'Knit' Glass Sculptures by Carol Milne

November 10, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Seattle-based artist Carol Milne (previously) fabricates flowing glass sculptures that mimic the delicate patterns of knit yarn. Contrary to the assumption that Milne has super-human ability to knit strands of molten glass by hand, the artist instead devised a somewhat complicated process that involves wax casting, mold-making, and kiln-casting. She discusses her techinques in detail in this video from Heather DiPietro. Milne also offers a PDF and a book about producing her glass work through the FAQ on her website.

Over the last year Milne’s artwork has appeared in the 9th Cheongju International Craft Competition, in the Creative Knitting show at the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum, and at the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. You can see more of her recent work at Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery in Pittsburgh.

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Art

Exquisite Marine Life Specimens Imagined in Glass by Steffen Dam

November 9, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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All images courtesy Joanna Bird Gallery unless otherwise noted

As a child, Danish artist Steffen Dam loved poring over his grandparents’ collection of scientific books and cabinets of insects. This fascination of how we catalogue and understand the natural world followed through to his artistic glass career, where Dam creates highly detailed “Cabinets of Curiosities” that mimic oceanic specimens suspended in glass jars and plates. The pieces are usually displayed inside light boxes to better illuminate every minute detail from the fragile tentacles of a jellyfish to a flourish of bubbles that seem to dance around many of his specimens.

A quote from David Revere McFadden’s essay Between Art and Nature, The Glass of Steffen Dam:

Steffen Dam invites the viewer to relish the sheer beauty of his “specimens,” but also to reflect on the meaning of nature as a mirror of the human mind and spirit. Dam has “captured” nature in his work, but he assiduously avoids simple imitation of life; the artist shies away from what he refers to as “cheap tricks in glass.” He seeks to strike a “balance between fiction and reality.” While his work is in no way intended to serve as pedagogic tools, as specimens in “cabinets of curiosities” often were, they are intended to engage the eye and stimulate the imagination. Knowledge about the forms, structures, surfaces, and colors of true natural specimens is not to be found in Dam’s displays of crystal cylinders, but another kind of knowledge—that of the visual poetry of endlessly varied forms—is freely offered. Dam’s little creatures, although frozen in glass, remind of how we read and feel both time and change.

Dam most recently had several pieces on view at Chicago’s SOFA Expo through Heller Gallery. You can also see several additional works at Joanna Bird.

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Photo by Christopher Jobson for Colossal / SOFA Expo Chicago

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Courtesy Heller Gallery

 

 



Art

Optical Float Paintings Suspended in Layers of Glass by Wilfried Grootens

October 30, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Artist Wilfried Grootens paints extraordinary figures comprised of dots and tendrils sandwiched between dozens of laminate glass layers. These strangely precise optical float paintings take on the form of some fantastic microscopic creatures and are sometimes reminiscent of the photos depicting the milliseconds before a nuclear explosion. The design of each cube is so precise, the thin layers of paint appear to completely vanish when viewed from a side angle.

At the age of 15 Grootens first apprenticed as a glass painter at the Derix Company in Germany where he learned to restore antique stained glass windows. Four years later he left on a near decade-long adventure to travel the world, play music, and experience the cultures of Asia and South America before eventually returning to his work with glass. In 1988, he received a Master Craftsman’s Diploma in Munich and by the following year had opened his own studio in Kleve.

Grootens will have work at the upcoming SOFA Expo Chicago through Habatat Galleries starting November 5th. (via ARTchung, Baby)

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Where the Shark Bubbles Blow, 2012; 9.5 x 8.25 x 8.25 inches; optical float glass. Painted, laminated, polished.

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Where the Shark Bubbles Blow 2015 PL 1 / Where the Shark Bubbles Blow E2 2015

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Where the Shark Bubbles Blow III, 2013; 9.25 x 8.5 x 8.25 inches; optical float glass. Painted, laminated, polished.

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