glass

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Craft History

Archeologists Unearth a Roman Glass Bowl Dating Back 2,000 Years in Pristine Condition

January 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy Marieke Mom, shared with permission

Sitting a few miles from the German border, Nijmegen is the oldest city in The Netherlands, and after a recent archeological dig, it’s also the site that unearthed a stunningly preserved bowl made of blue glass. The pristine finding, which is estimated to be about 2,000 years old, is from the agricultural Bataven settlement that once populated the region. Featuring diagonal ridges, the translucent vessel was made by pouring molten glass into a mold, sculpting the stripes while the material was liquid, and using metal oxide to produce the vibrant blue. Archeologists uncovered it without a single chip or crack.

Around the time the bowl was procured, Nijmegen was an early Roman military camp and later, the first to be named a municipium, or Roman city. Archeologist Pepjin van de Geer, who led the excavation, told the De Stentor that while it’s possible the vessel was created in a German glass workshop in cities like Cologne or Xanten, it’s also likely that the Batavians traded cattle hides to procure it. In addition to the piece, van de Geer’s team has also uncovered human bones, pitchers, cups, and other precious goods like jewelry, which indicates the site was once a burial ground. (via Hyperallergic)

 

The excavation site

 

 



Art

Dreamlike Sculptures by Christina Bothwell Meld Ceramic, Glass, and Oil Paint into Otherworldly Figures

January 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Two Violets.” All images © Christina Bothwell, shared with permission

From her Pennsylvania studio, Christina Bothwell (previously) sculpts surreal hybrid creatures and figures that occupy the unearthly space between dreams and wakefulness. She works with a combination of annealed glass, pit-fired ceramics, oil paint, and small mosaic tiles, which each correspond to a conceptual element. “I always come back to the idea that the physical part of us is just a small part of who we are in our entirety,” the artist tells Colossal. “The translucent parts of my pieces are meant to suggest the soul or that part of us that is more than just our bodies.  The ceramic portions of my pieces represent our grounded, tangible parts.”

In her most recent body of work, Bothwell continues her explorations into the liminal and states of flux: a slumbering child appears to float from its sleeping counterpart in “Lucid Dream,” while another lies upside down in “Mood Swing.” Many of the sculptures are tinged with themes of magic, imagination, and escapism, which are reflected in the ways that human bodies meld with birds, monkeys, octopuses, and deer. She explains:

I was a sensitive child with eccentric parents who didn’t fit in. I didn’t even fit in with my family a lot of the time. It was like I was a changeling or an alien they were forced to live with. I felt like an outsider for most of my life, and it always felt precarious, unsafe, being who I was. For this reason, I think I identify with deer… despite their beauty and grace, they are not protected or valued (at least not where I live), and their vulnerability and innocence resonates with something deep within me.

Bothwell’s fantastical works will be on view at Habatat Gallery and Muskegon Museum of Art as part of the upcoming Beyond the Glass Ceiling, Influential Women in Glass exhibition and again this summer at Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee. Until then, explore more of her sculptures on Instagram.

 

“Simian Dream”

“Lucid Dream”

“Snail”

“Little Deer”

“Mood Swing”

“Speak No Evil See No Evil Hear No Evil”

Left: “Here and Now.” Right: “Safe Haven”

“Dream State”

Top: “New Sunday.” Bottom left: “Tea with Cows.” Bottom right: “Tea Party”

 

 



Craft

Kaleidoscopic Patterns Coil Around Miniature Snakes Exquisitely Cast in Glass

January 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Ryan Eicher

Intricate linework and trippy, geometric motifs flow through the minuscule glass-blown serpents by Ryan Eicher. The Maryland-based artist casts smooth, colorful gradients, rainbow stripes, thin parallel bands, and intersecting helices within the snakes’ coiled bodies, a challenge considering the structure of the patterns shifts as he shapes the forms. Each miniature creature stretches only a few millimeters wide, and many of Eicher’s most recent pieces feature a mishmash of lines and shapes created with artists like Future Glass and Emerson, among others. You can find details about those collaborative pieces on Instagram, and head to Etsy to add one of the tiny snakes to your collection.

 

 

 



Art

Imaginative Glass Specimens Are Suspended in Jars in Steffen Dam's Cabinets of Curiosities

January 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Heller Gallery

Held in tall, transparent jars are recreations of tiny jellyfish with wispy tentacles, plankton, and other delicate sea creatures by Danish artist Steffen Dam (previously). He sculpts the miniature organisms in glass and displays the exquisite creations in wooden boxes or medicine cases that evoke the 16th Century wunderkammers or cabinets of curiosities. Generally in the possession of aristocrats and monarchs, these encyclopedic collections predated museums and held objects that were valuable for scientific study and their ability to inspire wonder and awe. Although Dam’s sculptures reference the colors, textures, and shapes of real-life specimens, his imaginative works are inventive interpretations of evolution and biology.

Find more of the artist’s recent works on his site and at Heller Gallery in New York, where he’s represented.

 

“Wunderkammer” (2021), 
glass and illuminated wooden presentation box, 
35 3/8 x 27 1/2 x 7 inches

Detail of “Wunderkammer” (2021), 
glass and illuminated wooden presentation box, 
35 3/8 x 27 1/2 x 7 inches

“Pangaean Zoology” (2018), 20 elements in glass, 72 inches

“Marine Group” (2020), glass and illuminated presentation box, 13 3/4 x 39 x 7 7/8 inches

“Specimen Block” (2017), 
glass, 
11 3/8 x 11 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches

“New Medicine” (2017), 
glass and illuminated wooden presentation box
, 30 1/4 x 17 1/4 x 9 inches

“Marine Specimen Collection” (2018), 
glass, 
tallest 8 3/4 inches

Detail of “Specimen Cabinet” (2017), glass and illuminated wooden presentation box, 
39 1/4 x 24 3/8 x 9 3/8 inches

Detail of “The Journey to M31” (2021)

 

 



Art Design Food

Wine Streams Through Sea Creatures in Playful Glass Decanters by Charlie Matz

December 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Charlie Matz, shared with permission

In the sleek decanters designed by artist Charlie Matz, wine and other spirits trickle through a crab’s claws, a shark’s open jaws, and the belly of a branzino. The playful aeration vessels are handmade with borosilicate glass and position marine life at the necks of the carafe, ensuring that the creatures flush with reds and pinks with every pour. Matz, who works at the Chicago-based Ignite Glass, has a few of the decanters available in the studio’s shop, and you can follow his functional creations and new releases on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Comprised of Thin Panes of Glass, Illusory Sculptures Layer Fantastic Paintings into 3D-Forms

December 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images by Norbert Heyl, © Wilfried Grootens, shared with permission

German artist Wilfried Grootens (previously) suspends vibrant, textured paintings evocative of minuscule organisms, bacteria, and other microscopic creatures within sleek sculptures made of glass. He renders lines and geometric shapes on dozens of thin panes that, when pressed together into a larger composite, produce the appearance of three-dimensional forms encased within the transparent material. The resulting works are striking illusions that morph into different, otherworldly creatures depending on the viewers’ perspective, sometimes vanishing entirely depending on the angle. “It is these paintings within their special layered space that create a world unto itself, quite apart from the reality outside it,” the artist tells Colossal.

Grootens’s impeccably precise sculptures will be on view with Habatat Galleries in January and April. Until then, see more of his works on his site.