The Baskets turned out to be one of the best ideas I have ever had. I
had seen some beautiful Indian baskets at the Washington State Historical
Society and I was struck by the grace of their slumped, sagging forms.
I wanted to capture this in glass. The breakthrough for me was recognizing
that heat and gravity were the tools to be used to make these forms.
The essence of the Soft Cylinders is really at the point of the 'pick-up'.
First, a very detailed glass drawing -- we call it a shard -- is prepared
before the blowing starts. Then the glass shard is carefully placed on
a hotplate with hundreds of glass threads all around the drawing. About
halfway into the blowing process, right after the last gather of glass
has been dipped from the furnace, the gaffer comes down on it with the
glass and it fuses to the surface. This is the most exciting moment of
making the Soft Cylinder. The shard may crack at this point and the glass
threads go flying everywhere.
The Macchia series began with my waking up one day wanting to use all
300 of the colors in the hot shop. I started by making up a color chart
with one color for the interior, another color for the exterior, and a
contrasting color for the lip wrap, along with various jimmies and dusts
of pigment between the gathers of glass. Throughout the blowing process,
colors were added, layer upon layer. Each piece was another experiment.
When we unloaded the ovens in the morning, there was the rush of seeing
something I had never seen before. Like much of my work, the series inspired
itself. The unbelievable combinations of color -- that was the driving
The Seaforms seemed to come about by accident, as much of my work does
-- by chance. We were experimenting with some ribbed molds when I was
doing the Basket series. The Baskets started looking like sea forms, so
I changed the name of the series to Seaforms, which suited me just fine
in that I love to walk along the beach and go to the ocean. And glass
itself, of course, is so much like water. If you let it go on its own,
it almost ends up looking like something that came from the sea.
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