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Glass as Art

I have had the opportunity to broaden my horizons this past week in the world of glass art.

There is a need at the Jacksonville Center to put together some words about three women flameworkers in Floyd. Flameworking? At other times, what these women do was referred to as lampworking. How is all that different (if it indeed is) from glassblowing? I really couldn't even get this article off the ground at all until I did some research, and I can tell you: it was hard to stay focused for the lure of little sideroads on this history of man's (er, and woman's) use of glass and I was especially lured away by the pictures of creative glass art on the net. I had no idea.

It will come as no surprise to those who know my interests that glass jellyfish and flowers caught my eye right away--an early-modern perfection of one aspect of glass work as art. Perhaps you have seen the Ware Collection at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. I haven't, but if we go back to Boston, I certainly will make a point to, and become one of the 100,000 visitors this museum welcomes every day. These wonders of detail were created by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, beginning in the 1870s. Here are two good pieces about the collection and the creators with images of sea creatures and flowers in glass.

Totally unrelated (I think) to the kind of glasswork I was supposed to be focusing on is the neon glass sculptures on this page (click NEON ART) where my favorites are toward the bottom: Fire Ant and Staghorn Beetle. I want one of these to sit on my beside table as my counterpart for Ann's twinkling battery powered Christmas candle that keeps me awake every night. Imagine waking up to a glowing arachnid just inches from your face in the dark! Maybe I'll put it on HER side of the bed. But that's another story.

One of the three ladies whose work will be highlighted in the magazine article has an extensive gallery of images of her work that I like very much. Do take a look. A lot of it incorporates nature in realistic or impressionist ways. I look forward to seeing her work at the Jacksonville Center, as well as the work of the other two flameworking women of Floyd.

The completed article will contribute to an upcoming issue of FLOW MAGAZINE, a trade magazine for glass art and craft, which is an interesting read as well.

The take-home from this little excursion is this: there are far more interesting people in this county than I will ever even hear of, much less get to know; and two, I will never stop being amazed at the power of the need to create and all the forms it takes. What a uniquely human impulse and gift it is.


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You never cease to amaze me, and I fully agree with your last paragraph. The glass art you linked to here is phenomenal. I have loved colored glass ever since my mom began to collect Blenko vases in the 50's. We used to go to the factory and watch them blow the glass. It was so riveting.

When I visited those glass flowers at Harvard in the 1970's, they were dusty and stuffed in a corner. (Still quite stunning!) The theories that they illustrated were in disgrace. I hope its reputation has been rehabilitated, as art, if not as science. Personally, I never thought those hypothetical ancestors were as silly as the Harvard boys seemed to.

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