Stratified Glass 

Statified Glass

Stratified Glass
7.25 x 4 x 4 inches
Coldworked glass mug, coldworked fossil stone, polymer clay, paint, sand

Fossil stones have fascinated me ever since I used to find them by streams when I was a kid. Fossils are castings in mud of things that existed, in many cases, millions of years ago. A lot of things have been vaporized between then and now, but these time capsules in rock have managed to survive. Usually fossils in the area I live in are of ancient small creatures, trilobites and such, but the fossil stone at the bottom of “Stratified Glass” appears to have been imprinted with plant stems or branches. So I made impressions in the clay sections with raspberry and blueberry branches, poked tiny holes with an ice pick-like tool, and put sand in the paint to make the clay look more like the fossil stone.

Originally I was going to add the subtitle “with Fossil and Polymer Wabi Sabi” to the title of the piece, acknowledging my debt to the Japanese and Chinese trompe l’oiel tradition of Wabi Sabi (and also referencing the Beatles Rubber Soul title.) Eric Seritella inducted me into the Wabi Sabi lineage in 2012. Eric taught me such things as making impressions in clay with objects, how to use various tools, and the mindset of Wabi Sabi. “Polymer Wabi Sabi” was also a reference to my using polymer clay instead of natural clay. Manmade clay was much easier to combine with the glass rings than regular clay would have been. For example, it allowed me to fire the clay while it was still attached to the glass. I used SuperSculpey, which apparently is “loved by animation film studios around the world.”

In the end, I decided that the title with the subtitle was a traffic jam. As one of my painting teachers used to say, “Anything you can take out leaves whatever’s left stronger.” And the “Polymer Wabi Sabi” part perhaps comes off as a not good sort of flippant. So the subtitle went the way of the trilobytes.

It occurs to me now that the Corning Museum of Glass has something to do with this piece. I did the coldworking on the piece in the CMOG glass studio and was there quite often during this time period. The strata of earth are a metaphor for history, come, gone, buried, and revealed long after. CMOG has glass art starting with vials from the Near East made probably more than 3,500 years ago, and going up through many cultures to the present. It’s like an archeological dig through glass art history walking through the museum.