What has drawn me to sculpting glass reef life is the infinite variety of pattern and movement. Just within one species of coral you can find a huge range of pattern structures. This is what first drew me into sculpting coral. My first problem was one that has always plagued artists. I needed detailed drawings and specimens to use as models. The more scientific drawings I uncover the more exciting things have become!
Sculpting Glass Coral Patterns
The forms of coral are so diverse just in terms of basic shapes. At first I was drawn to the delicate intricacy of fan corals. These are ideal forms to explore in hand-torched boro rods. Recently I have begun to study other coral species such as brain coral, cauliflower coral, and finger coral. In the upcoming months I hope to use blown glass elements in a new series of coral forms. It is challenging to design forms using both glass rods and blown pieces.
The ability to suggest movement in reef life really excites me as a sculptor. During the past months I have focused on sculpting glass seaweed forms. I was drawn to the branching pattern of the seaweed stalks. In the glass sculpture Seaweed I played with the depth and swaying motion of the seaweed tendrils. Many reef creatures imitate one another. Some soft corals look like seaweed or anemone. And some star fish species look like crazy walking seaweed! This kind of Doctor Seuss play ground of the coral reef inspires me.
Curling Feather Stars
When I first started to learn about Feather Stars I was mind boggled by the incredible grace and movement of this creature. It looks like a plant but it’s really an animal. As the Feather Star retreats it curls into itself. This creates some of the most beautiful curving forms found in the ocean. I have been a bit obsessed sculpting glass into this form. One advantage I have is my small hands. I have been able to fit my hand down inside the Feather Star sculpture to fuse the glass. I hope to return to more variations of this wondrous creature.