Photographer Suzanne Saroff (previously) continues her Perspective series, using water and glass to warp the appearance of vibrantly colored dragon fruits, lobsters, cabbages and other flora and fauna. You can see more of her striking images including the still life series titled Shadows, on her website and Instagram.
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Colorful orchids, identical in size, bloom in UK artist Laura Hart’s studio. From their bilateral symmetry to their splashes of pigment, the glass designer’s perfectly crafted forms illustrate the strange exotic beauty of the plant species. With their soft and fleshy glass petals, Hart’s botanical sculptures appear as fully bloomed flower heads, each of which has a different pattern to reflect the diversity of the species. “My fascination with orchids spans decades and at one point I had nearly seventy in my conservatory,” Hart tells Colossal. “The explosion of color and perfume during the flowering months intoxicate the senses.”
Hart’s route to making glass sculptures has been a convoluted path alongside many creative pursuits. “Beginning with oils and canvas at around the age of twelve, treading the boards at seventeen, video production in my twenties and thirties, heritage building renovation, 3D animation design in my forties, and, at last, the glorious world of glass in my fifties,” she says.
Hart was unexpectedly brought to glass when asked to design a sculpture in steel and glass for a concept artist, and hasn’t looked back since. “I needed to better understand the glass making process in order to achieve the design, so I observed some wonderfully talented glass artists at work. I was utterly captivated and there the obsession began.”
Each flower is about twelve inches (thirty cm) in diamteter, and takes Hart up to ten days to make. She tries to recreate the species as faithfully and authentically as possible, whilst imbuing them with her artistic interpretation.
The artist creates orchid-shaped moulds using 3D modeling and animation software. “The templates for each flower are animated into shapes to simulate glass flow within the kiln to ensure that every flower will slump into the correct shape without stressing the glass in the process,” Hart explains.
Hart then cuts each petal individually and uses glass powders and frits for the first firing. “Veining is then applied from hair fine strands of glass created by pulling thin shards of glass through a flame. There can be as many as six firing processes to achieve the final result. The flowers are then sandblasted to create a satin sheen, and coated with a waterproof spray to bring out the color and prevent finger marks.”
The three-dimensional details in Hart’s glass orchids are added from cutting sheet glass which are applied to the petals and re-fired. “Once all the detail and color is applied to each petal they are fused together to create the flat flower shape. Finally, the flower is placed on the mould and fired to slump position.”
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French artist Julie Gonce's artworks imitate the beauty and detail of natural forms—budding flowers, moss growing within fallen branches, and dew delicately balanced on strands of fresh grass. Gonce has been creating her glossy sculptures since 1997, and uses her torch similarly to how a conductor uses a baton—with precision, passion, and timely delicacy. Her sculpted forms ask the viewer to be attentive to our changing planet, and to notice how beautiful and bountiful nature is as it continually replicates.
Gonce was raised around artists who ignited her creativity and influenced her to create unique work. “I grew up surrounded by artisans and artists, and I quickly discovered that I wanted a hands-on profession,” Gonce tells Colossal. “I chose glass by chance, but when I did a glassblowing training course I was immediately drawn to it.”
Gonce is passionate about preserving ancient French glassmaking techniques and uses traditional methods including glassblowing, lampworking, and glass beadmaking. When glassblowing, Gonce brings a rod of glass up to the required temperature and blows air into it to create a voluminous shape. Her lampworking involves two rods of glass which are brought together and stretched and sculpted into a chosen object. She then uses a glass beading technique which involves winding molten glass around a metal rod which she then cools and draws glass beads from.
Using two different types of glass (borosilicate and soda-lime), Gonce fuses her sculptures with natural forms: wood, seeds, mushrooms, paper, textiles, metals, bones, and even feathers. “Stitching is present in all of my sculptures, that’s how the materials are bound,” she explains.
Torchworking requires Gonce to be in perfect command of her body; by being aware of her breathing and movements she can create various shapes in molten glass. “At the heart of all of my creations, there is always the pleasure of seeing the flame and the glass melting,” says Gonce. “What I love about glass work is that there is nothing between the glass and the flame but the torch worker’s hands.”
Gonce’s relationship with the natural world is the source of her artistic inspiration, which provides her with a means of escaping everyday life. She gains motivation from living near a forest where she is constantly surrounded by ever-changing textures and lustrous colors which is reflected in the detail of her designs. “I need to live close to nature since it is my source of inspiration,” she says.
Gonce’s manipulation of glass creates movement as light dances upon her sculptures, much like how light ripples amongst flowers and plants swaying in the breeze. Gonce is currently exhibiting her sculptures at Galerie Collection in Paris alongside other several other French artists’ work. The exhibition runs until early 2019. You can see more of her pieces on her website.
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Artist Dylan Martinez combines several glassblowing and sculpting techniques to form hyperrealistic plastic bags from molten glass. Through these works, Martinez creates scenarios that obscure the viewer’s interpretation of reality and illusion. His curiosity in this subject matter is sparked by the fact that he was born red-green colorblind. This has presented Martinez an alternative way of seeing, and encourages his fascination with obscuring common perception in his glass-blown works.
“The trapped movement of the rising bubbles and the gesture of the forms convince the eye that the sculptures are just as they seem,” says Martinez in his artist statement. “What is fascinating is that our desires often override our true perception of reality and you believe what you think is visible as the truth.”
To begin, Martinez sculpts the solid glass or “water” that appears within each bag. Next, he adds a blown bubble to the top which is then smoothed out before he begins to hand sculpt each fold and wrinkle. Once complete, the sculpture is placed in an annealing oven at 950° F and allowed to cool for 120 hours.
Martinez recently opened a glass studio in White Salmon, Washington near his home in Hood River, Oregon. He has an upcoming self-titled solo exhibition at Echt Gallery in Chicago which opens on July 13. You can view more of the artist’s glass-based sculptures on his website and Instagram.
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In her ongoing series titled Perspective, photographer Suzanne Saroff creates fractured and skewed images of common foods as seen through vessels filled with water and glass objects. The images play with concepts of light and shadow resulting in distorted still lifes that appear almost like digital glitches. “With tools and techniques such as refraction, directional light, and bold colors, my photographs give everyday items alternate visual avenues of expression,” shares Saroff. “Taking shape via shadows or fragmentations, my subjects often become more than the singular and expected version of themselves.”
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Ben Young (previously here) continues to use exquisite manual techniques to transform sheets of glass into luminous sculptures that give a glimpse into a moment in time or space. The artist envisions, hand-cuts, and carefully constructs layers of glass to evoke water, often offset with organically-shaped concrete topography, as well as metal details like a diver, lighthouse, or sailboat. Young, who is based in New Zealand, describes his latest body of work on his website:
Sentiments of the Sublime explores the nostalgic many and collective perspectives of the relationship between man and nature. In creating work, by hand, that makes reference to the myriad of perspectives and experiences of others, Young’s work is both deeply personal to the viewer and at the same time exploring subject matter that is universal, connecting Young, his work and his viewers in a moment of awe and nostalgia.
Young recently had his first solo show at REDSEA Gallery in Singapore, and currently has a piece, At The Helm, on view at Black Door Gallery in Aukland. Young also offers prints of his sculptures and shares updates on his work via Behance, Facebook, and Instagram.
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Artist Kit Paulson has a broad interest in art, science, and history that intersects superbly in her career as a glass sculptor. Over the past several years she’s explored human anatomy through a variety of skull and bones pieces, as well as wearable objects like masks, armor, and even a pair of gloves. Paulson is currently finishing an MFA at Southern Illinois University and will be teaching upcoming workshops at Pittsburgh Glass Center, Bildwerk Frauenau, and Pilchuck Glass School. You can follow her most recent work on Instagram. (via Corning Museum of Glass)
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