October 1, 2015

Swedish Roots and A Roll-Up

Swedish Roots

A college friend is spending a few months in Sweden.   Recently she visited the Kosta Boda factory were glass has been made since the mid-1700’s.  She told of her experience of watching the glass blowers, their interactions with one another, and joy with which they worked.IMG_1850


I remember my visit to the same factory 30 years ago during my trip to the homeland of my ancestors.  It was a hot day in August.  I watched the glassblowers turn globs of glass into finely shaped vessels and forms.  Magic was happening in front of my own two eyes.  I didn’t understand enough Swedish to participate in their banter during the demo, but my enthusiasm made up for my lack of language skills. I wish I would have known then that glass would be the art form I would grow to love 20 years later.

As I watched the artists, I realized their glass pieces could not be made by just one person.  It took the talents of several glassblowers to bring the piece to completion. Each artist had specific and specialized tasks; each was vital in forming the final piece.

A Roll-Up

I now understand first hand the collaborative process of working with another artist.  About three years ago I made my first roll-up. The roll-up process begins with my creation of a rectangular fused glass panel.  The panel is then handed over to a glassblower.  The glassblower warms the glass panel in a furnace until it is soft enough to be rolled into a cylinder, which is then manipulated into its final shape. Beginning with a fused panel makes it possible to create designs that would be impossible for a glassblower to do alone.

The roll-up pictured below was inspired by a Vogue magazine tear sheet.


Vogue and a glass panel

The glassblower heated and rolled the tile into a cylinder…

Rolling up the cylinder

…and manipulated it into…

Manipulating the glass

…the final shape…

Final roll-up

…from the hands of two happy glass artists.