Glass Artwork Literally Mirrors Nature’s Best Creations

Bertil vallien

As the temperatures neared 60 degrees the first Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska, the city’s botanical gardens capitalized on the brilliant sunshine and warm weather for a beautiful exhibit.
Although the brightly colored glass artwork was inside at the Lauritzen Gardens, the walls and ceilings made of glass made the visiting guests feel as if they were outdoors. A nationally-recognized glass artist by the name of Craig Mitchell Smith is the latest artist to combine his creations with the beautifully cared for flower and plant gardens.
Combining sculpture installations with natural plants and blooming flowers makes sense. Since glass artwork can find no better model than the blooms created by nature, the combination is a perfect match. Tucked in and among force bloomed plants, the glass artwork is one more indicator to the residents of Omaha that the long cold winter is on its way out. Although the weathermen in the region are never too sure that the winter weather will leave by the first day of spring, residents know that any cold and snowy day can not last long. Blown glass sculptures, mixed among poppies and intentionally grown dandelions, are the perfect reminder for anyone who is doubting spring’s eventual arrival
Glass Artwork Is a Perfect Mix in Many Natural Settings
The Omaha botanical gardens are not the only space to incorporate contemporary glass art into outdoor settings. The botanical gardens in Denver recently displayed large glass orbs by Dale Chihuly throughout many of their outdoor spaces. While glass bulbs in various shades of blue were floated in ponds to resemble exploding bubbles, other contemporary art galleries were created among ferns, native grasses, and flower beds.
In Phoenix, desert botanical gardens have often featured glass artwork to combine man made with nature made creations that cause visitors to look several times to separate the two. The brilliance of the greens in the spiking glass sticks sometimes look more real than the natural grasses. Glass studios are growing in popularity throughout the country and as more artists learn this skill from the masters, the art they create continues to grow more varied and spectacular.
Understanding the Basics of Glass Blowing
Free blowing and mold blowing are the two major methods of glassblowing. Free blowing is created by humans and mold blowing is created to some extend by machines. In common with both methods, the change of raw materials into glass cannot take place until the temperature of 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although the combination of glass artwork and nature may be new to some, the process of glass art blowing is ancient. More specifically, the invention of glassblowing occurred the same time as the establishment of the Roman Empire. Clear back in the first century, the art of blowing glass began to spread throughout the empire. Like many other arts of the time, the massive expansion of the Roman Empire also extended the knowledge of glass blowing as an art.
Hundreds of years later, a ceramics professor by the name of Harvey Littleton began the “studio glass movement.” Along with the chemist and engineer Dominick Labino, the two began experimenting with melting glass in a small furnace and creating blown glass art in the early 1960s.
Like many skills that started to produce objects that were needed for cooking and serving, glass blowing and forming techniques soon became very popular art forms as well.
Glass Blown Objects Are Popular Collections
Like any collection, glass blown art can be valuable. If, for example, your home features one or two specific colors, glass blown art can easily add to your collection and decorations. Pieces that have been created by machines are plentiful and inexpensive. And though they are not what serious collectors have their eyes on, these manufactured pieces can provide affordable decorations for the general public.
Understanding the art form itself will help glass collectors decide what they are looking for. And while famous artists sell pieces that are both collectable and expensive, beginning collectors may find that they can learn to identify works by local artists. These local pieces, while still beautiful, are less expensive and easier to find. In addition, some local artists will create pieces made to order. More serious collectors will find glass art in any price range.

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May 2024