We get lots of questions about glass in the studio, so I thought we might provide some info to help you understand “Why it is our material of choice”!
Is it human-made or natural?
When most people think of glass, they think of it as a human-made object. But glass forms in nature also:
- Volcanoes spew molten rock which cools rapidly and is called obsidian.
- Lightning strikes quartz-rich desert or beach sands and forms brittle tubes of melted sand that form fulgurites.
- Meteors that fly through the earth’s atmosphere and impact the ground with intense heat form terrestrial debris which cools quickly and are called tektites.
- Silicious skeletons of marine creatures (algae, sea sponges) are shed onto the oceanic floor and form natural glass.
Glass is all around us. Think about it. What would our world be without glass? It
- Helps us control the temperature of our surroundings.
- Aids our vision.
- Facilitates communication through fiber optic cables.
- Is in packaging and tableware.
- Helps express our identity in the form of art.
- What does glass not do? Its applications are endless.
State of Matter
For us, glass is a state of mind, but in reality, it a state of matter. It gets created when molten material cools so rapidly that there is not enough time for a crystalline structure to form. In solids, atoms arrange themselves in ordered lattice-like structures. Atoms and molecules move randomly or flow in liquids. The final cooled glass forms have atoms that are rigid – they cannot flow, and they are not in lattices. Glass is called a rigid liquid.
Most people think of glass as a solid. It’s fun to expose people to it in its more liquid form. When we work with it in the hot shop it is kinetic, it flows, it expands, it contracts, and it dances with us. Glass is beautiful in its clear state, where you can take advantage of its optical qualities, and it is fascinating when it takes on color. It is a fantastic play material. You can make it into one form if you don’t like it you can remelt it and form it into something else.
- Glass is ambiguous; it can last for thousands of years or shatter in an instant.
- The art that is made from glass reflects the personalities of those who work it.
Michael’s joy is exploring his love for color and different forms.
Patrick focuses on patterns and the repetition of elements probably due to his strong musical background. Glass is attractive to me as a scientist because when you work it logically, it is process-oriented.
Once you become competent at the steps and how to make the primary forms, you can start to recombine them and make glass follow your lead. I look at boundaries as something to go beyond and try to mimic geological concepts, like a kid with a chemistry set and no instruction manual. I try to use everything, all my background, and knowledge while exploiting all the resources at hand.
Without glass, how would we recognize ourselves? Its reflectivity allows us to see ourselves as we genuinely are. Or maybe not.
Enriching lives through artistic self-expression.