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Glass in Modern Art

For centuries, humans have utilized the mind-bending medium of glass to create art.

For centuries, humans have utilized the mind-bending medium of glass to create art. These days, studios create using a vast array of techniques that have been carefully developed over time, including stained glass, beadmaking, and glass blowing. Let’s take a brief look of three modern glass artists who are living and creating today.

Stuart Low is a modern stained glass artist hailing from the UK. He creates architectural pieces, such as windows for homes or shops, as well as prints and panels. His wide range of experience allows him to customize his work and jump between disciplines to create pieces fitting of his client’s orders – from screen printed colour on toughened glass, to suspended work on cables.

Sarah Downtown makes contemporary glass beads and jewellery, by employing a traditional technique known as lampworking. This involves melting coloured glass rods using a high temperature flame, before annealing them in her digital kiln. She loves the nature of glass; it’s unpredictability and fluidity, and enjoys the surprises that sometimes come from working with such a mutable element.

Dale Chihuly is an American glass artist who constructs large-scale sculptures from blown glass. His works are both unique and technically challenging, taking the medium to an entirely new level. Chihuly began his career as a glass blower, but after losing the vision in his left eye and the fluid use of his right shoulder in two separate accidents, found himself no longer able to hold the glass blowing pipe. So, he began to instruct others instead, stepping back to become “more choreographer than dancer”, in his own words. “Once I stepped back, I liked the view.”

Each of these artists has taken techniques from the past and brought them into the modern day; shaping the future of glass art for generations to come.