While blog hopping last month, I received a startling surprise. Feral Glass, the subject of this weeks feature, knocked my socks off. Unique and inspired, this glass artist has a veritable feast for the eyes. Be sure to follow the links provided in the interview for an extra treat!
How did you get started in glass sculpting? I started making Garden Glass for my own pleasure and to give as gifts. I have great sun here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I wanted to make the most of it. While my flowers were asleep, I figured sheets of colored glass would add some interest. And then one thing led to another. If you want some details on my early experiments, see my blog on Glass Kites or on my outdoor hanging panels http://feralglass.blogspot.com/
Where you get your ideas for your creations? I get inspired by shapes I see or ideas I have. I have done series based on geographic places (one series focused on Francis Drake's voyage around Cape Horn, one series was inspired by the exploration of the Nile). And I also base them on flowers or other plants that I have seen in my travels. At other times it is pure whimsey. Like my garden punctuation marks... I just noticed that most gardens are not well puncuated... just a bunch of run-on plantings. So I created accent pieces, as it were.
Do you have a piece in your shop that is your favorite? I have created some pieces which were very special to me. It was a real lesson in the "business of art" when I had to face selling my favorite "children". I usually give my very favorite pieces away as gifts to friends. Of the pieces which I still have, I like Gravity Games and Homage to Absinthe.
Glass is such a fragile medium, does it take quite a few pieces to get it right? Glass can be fragile, but it can also be pretty tough stuff. Stained glass is twice as thick as regular window glass, and a lot more shatter-proof. Even dropping a piece on a cement patio usually results in minor chipping on the impact edge. Amazing, really. It has to do with the annealing, or slow cool-down period, when they make the glass. Some of the easiest glass to work with comes from Wissmach Glass in West Virgina. I drive over there a few times a year just to get re-supplied. Their glass cuts like butter. Some other glass is much less well behaved, and often shatters in unwanted directions. The price of the glass is no indicator of how well it will cut. Getting the right direction in the "grain" of the glass is important in some designs, such as the two favorites I listed above. I did a large panel of a Civil War field artillary piece (cannon) for a reenactor friend. Making the thin spokes on the wheels (and the even thinner dark gray shadows of the far wheel's spokes) was the time I had to make many, many attempts before getting them all right. But novices may be pleasantly surprised by how well-behaved most glass is, and how rarely you get cut. Getting the solder to behave well is actually more of a challenge.
What are your future plans and what other venues can we find your art? I am taking this one step at a time. This year I will do a Spring and a Fall outdoor festival, plus a Christmas sale at my local art center. Next year I hope to be juried into two larger prestigious shows, as well. I have some grand plans for large outdoor installations, including a 200 hundred tube version of my Five Tubes sculpture. I also want to take a class in welding and brazing, get a cutting torch, and make some larger outdoor glass and brass sculptures. Stay tuned
Check out Feralglass on Etsy to purchase this extraordinary work.