A Lesson Remembered

The glass is cast into its sand mold, and it now cools in the oven.

The week’s wait, when not filled with furious activity on some other work, allows at least some minutes for quiet contemplation of what is slowly cooling in the oven.

One of the primary lessons I learned from my professor at Tulane, glass pioneer Gene Koss, is something I remind myself of daily.

Gene said that a form itself must be “right” long before you make it in glass. You see, (he said) glass is so seductive and beautiful all by itself, it can make almost any shape look good. He reached down into a bin of trashed pieces of glass and pulled out a chunk of broken glass. “Look,” he said, as he held it to the light, “it’s beautiful, isn’t it?” And it was, the way it caught the light and flashed color across the room.

Gene carried on. “But this is just a junk piece of glass. Trash. Now imagine this exact same shape is made of bronze or cast in aluminum. Look at this shape, and see it in an ordinary metal. Wouldn’t be so nice, would it?” And we all imagined the shard he held up being made in dull steel, and yes, it was just a kind of a lump of stuff.

“Now imagine,” he continued, “that you make a shape that would look great in bronze. And THEN you cast it in glass! How beautiful would that be?!!”

And he was right.

The shape must talk to me, before the beauty of the glass blinds me to its form. The form must be right, before the seductive brilliance of ever-changing glass overlays it, and seduces my eyes…

This is so true.

What the Passage of Time Presents

A week wanders idly by, it seems, but eventually the day of awakening comes. The heavy lid of the cooling oven, now at room temperature, grates slowly open… There are too many parallels with unearthing elderly objects from ancient tombs to contend with here!

I pick up the piece, still in its hard sand cocoon. With a little careful pressure, the sand comes off, chunk by chunk, and I get my first glimpse of the glass that has been my thought and dream for so long. I hold it up to the light, and the glass comes alive with the light… Truly, the piece is born here, as light floods through it for the first time… A moment of silent contemplation… fine art glass sculpture…

I silently acknowledge the beauty in the piece, carefully wrap it up and bring it to my Gallery in Clearwater.

Now this beauty needs a way to show itself!