Glassmaking has been around since 3500 BCE, progressively challenging and adapting its form and function to satisfy our needs. But what happens when an artist meets the medium of sand and fire?
We’ve compiled a list of our favourite, delicate treasures. Yea, we could have included your grandmother’s favourite Lalique, but the advancements by contemporary artists have solidified that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to glass art.
So let’s raise a glass...to 6 contemporary artists transcending the medium and taking it to unimaginable places.
1. Dale Chihuly. Ikebana Boat Series. 1989-.
Well, this list wouldn’t be credible if we hadn’t included this pioneer of contemporary glass, Dale Chihuly. He’s carved out a name for himself, and his works have acclimated to a wealth of natural environments and architectural institutions. Our hearts melt for this psychedelic masterpiece that takes a titular reference from the strictly meditative art of Japanese flower arrangement: ikebana.
2. Jack Storms. Chroma Cube.
Jack Storms’ extraordinary technique of glass work involves hundreds of meticulously cut pieces of crystal glass that become a shimmering cube of reflective mirrors. His artistic process is embedded in the organic essence of his chosen material, to which he applies the Fibonacci Theory and its numerical sequences within nature.
3. Niyoko Ikuta. Ku-12 (Free Essence-12). 2011.
She’s not only big in Japan, Ikuta’s glass works are ethereal and spellbinding, and they’ve captivated the world’s attention.
“My motifs are derived from feelings of gentleness and harshness, fear, limitless expansion experienced through contact with nature, images from music, ethnic conflict, the heart affected by joy and anger, and prayer.” We applaud this metamorphosis from severity to pure grace.
4. Rashad Alakbarov. Fly to Baku. 2011.
Rashad Alakbarov is an artist from Azerbaijan, whose "light paintings” have unquestionably landed him on this list. His tactfully hung coloured shards of glass paint a beautiful scene that flickers with the zephyr in Fly to Baku.
5. Cathryn Shilling. Synergy Series I. 2013.
Cathryn Shilling is a British artist renowned for her intricately woven glass works that dance as patchwork sculptures. Shilling’s approach to the transparent medium explores the liquidity of glass and its sculptural transformation to convey human movement.
6. Kohei Nawa. PixCell-Deer#24. 2011.
“PixCell: Pixel (picture element) + Cell [“PixCell ” is a term coined by Nawa. In this entrancing sculptural work, the taxidermy base is engulfed by the artist’s effervescent use of the glistening material. An undulating cloak of spheric glass, toys with our perception by magnifying differing details of the encrusted deer.
We're throwing stones in the glass house and busting through the glass ceiling! These contemporary artists are revolutionising the medium and it’s crystal clear, there’s no glass half full, it's flooding with success.