As part of my reef project I have begun working on glass coral sculpture. A couple of years ago I made my first glass coral piece. This was a very delicate sculpture using 3 mm glass rods. I really enjoyed working on that piece. I kept thinking about that first coral sculpture while developing this body of work.
Drawing from Early Science
If you read around on my website you will find several blog posts about what drives my glass sculpture. I gravitate toward early science illustrations and glass model making. This taps into my own personal background and love of natural history in general. I often reference the 18-19th century illustrations. They offer highly detailed drawings of all types of reef life such as coral and star fish.
Creating the glass meander pattern of the brain coral.
Brainy Glass Strands
People sometimes wonder what artists think about while they work. This brain coral sculpture has stirred up a lot of memories. When I was about 11 years old my father (an eccentric Neuroradiologist) played a little joke on me. While visiting his office one day he asked me to go look inside a bucket. It was a human brain! We always had a lot of pictures and sculptures of brains around the house (dad created a lot of them.) So naturally I had to make a brain coral. I love the squishy meander pattern found in brain corals.
When I get an idea for a sculpture it usually takes place over a period of time. I may have a desire to create a brain coral but not just any old brain coral. I have to make it much more difficult for myself (smiley face.) Usually I see an image and something snaps in my mind. You know like the crazy scientist that goes “that’s it!” This coral sculpture is what they refer to in coral-speak as “open.” Meaning that the coral is feeding. To me brain corals look amazing when gazillions of polyps are swaying about.