Glass is a volatile material. Working with it as an artistic medium can involve physical and mental strain, great expense, and a high chance of failure. And yet artists and designers who work with glass can shape it into anything from ethereal vessels to dynamic installations that resemble liquid. Glass is unmatched when it comes to the creative potential it offers.
Dutch artist Krista Israel sees working with glass, at times, as an obsession. “For me, it is not just any material I work with—I live, breathe, and think in glass,” she said. “It gave me a voice to tell my narrative and shape concepts.” Arriving at such a stage of mastery requires finely honed skills and trustworthy collaborators, not to mention a keen understanding of the medium.
“Glass is often used by artists, designers, and makers who don’t have much background in it,” explained Irish artist Karen Donnelan. “I think understanding some of the properties of glass and its history is a good starting point to making great work with the material.” A lack of this understanding, she added, can lead to derivative work.