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The Citrus Inlays Bowl began with a desire to showcase a gorgeous sheet of special production glass — creamy vanilla with streaks of transparent aquamarine. When heated, the minerals used to color the two glasses react to create a chocolate hue.
I have a need to complicate things, so I sliced the sheet of glass into hundreds of narrow strips and turned them on edge, showing the cross-section of the aquamarine streaks of glass pressing into their vanilla base. Tiny clear windows are interspersed with the opaque glass strips for glimpses of transparency. I arranged the blocks of strips facing in alternate directions to add more movement to the piece.
To spice up the neutral color of the bowl, I built in squares of red-orange murrine, which are themselves cross-sections of hand-pulled glass cane, which I create using a modern-day adaptation of the 16th-century techniques honed by Murano glassmakers. I pulled this cane back in 2021, but I know that not everyone shares my love of large swaths of saturated color, so it took me 18 months to figure out how to work into something that wasn’t blinding!
Fused, slumped, and sandblasted for a matte finish. Holds five apples or most of a standard baguette.
One of my favorite glass techniques is creating murrine. I load up a crucible with a carefully designed stack of sheet glass, heat it to 1500 degrees in a kiln with a hole in the bottom, and stand underneath the kiln, pulling the molten glass out into rods about 3/8″ in diameter. As you might guess, this an activity best reserved for cool weather! Once cooled, I chop the cane into short cross-sections, which display the layers of glass like tree rings.
Pulling the glass cane takes a few hours and requires constant attention. You don’t pull it constantly, but you have to give it a gentle tug every 35 seconds or so, which gives you juuuuuust enough time to get distracted between tugs and intentionally leave it for a minute or two. While my goal is to pull rods that are fairly consistent in thickness, of the course of a session, I often end up with several thick globs, reminiscent of deer knees.
Far from being a disappointment, these deer knees afford me a wonderful opportunity to make special components with a very organic feel. I stand them upright in the kiln, with tall sheets of glass among them, and dam them so they settle down into a thick brick of glass when heated. Since the knees are quite irregular in width, the glass flows a lot and makes interesting shapes within the brick. I’ll then slice the brick up on a tile saw to get three-ish fun inserts for use in other works.
The Cobalt Mint Platter is built around two of these inserts, bookended to make a flowing a diamond. On either end of the diamond, I arranged thin strips of creamy vanilla glass on end in a V shape to echo the shape of the central diamond.
In the corners of the platter, you’ll find cross-sections from the same cane pull, arranged chronologically across the platter in the order in which the cane came out of the crucible.
Bring autumn inside! Into the Wood was created for an exhibit at the Howard County Arts Center to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Ellicott City, MD. Artists were invited to make work inspired by artifacts in the collection of the Howard County Historical Society. My bowl was inspired by a carved wood pitcher.
Aiming to create a design reminiscent of tree rings, I combined shards of glass in browns and oranges, with just a hint of black, in a crucible with a hole in the bottom, heated it until the glass was molten and flowed out the bottom of the crucible, and allowed the taffy-like glass to spread across a ceramic shelf in my largest kiln.
The rim gave me an excuse to experiment with a technique I’d long been eyeing! To make the rim, I layered glass powders on a fibrous, flexible surface, doused them in water so they’d stick together, and squeezed and bent the surface to form fissures that reminded me of bark and let both the layers of glass be visible.
The heft of the bowl brings to mind the thick, solid vessel carved from an old-growth tree.