Glass is a magical material. It has so many possibilities and qualities, being soft, hard, transparent, translucent, opaque and anything in between. Ever since I worked with glass, I thought about the possibilities of making glass sculptures for outside locations. We managed to do so with blown elements and bend and fused sheet glass. The real breakthrough, however, came when we developed low-expansion glass that is capable of absorbing the differences in temperature, natural to our earthy climates. “Normal” cast colored glass will build stress when it heats up in the sun and suddenly cools down from a rain shower. It is a matter of time before that stress leads to cracks and ultimately the destruction of the sculpture.
In collaboration with Rudolf Banas, glass producer and alchemist, and Zdenek Lhotsky, the leading authority in kiln cast glass, it took several years and many trials to develop a low-expansion glass. This collaboration turned into a successful venture when Mr. Banas was able to create a range of colors on my request. What is specifically interesting, is that this glass when heated up goes through the process of vitrification. This is a change in the structure of the glass surface of the individual parts that are put in the mold; a crystallization that shows up as a vail-like change in color. Although this change takes place, the glass does end up homogenous after the casting cycle is completed.
Collaborating with Lhotsky Studio in the Czech Republic, we have successfully produced glass sculptures that have been placed outside since 2006.
Glass and its extraordinary response to light, absorbing and reflecting light in different gradations, makes it such an interesting and rewarding material to use in an outdoor situation. Due to the naturally occurring change in light, sunrise, daylight, sunset and night, the color of the glass shifts and it seems to even change the visual shape. Glass outside is a dynamic material that never seems to stop surprising the viewer in its many facets and coloration.