Loy Allen, Glass and metal Tomato sculpture, glass art. Image courtesy of American Craft Council Show
BALTIMORE, MD– Glass art was one of the major attraction at this year’s American Craft Council Show in Baltimore. Drawn from across the country, the glass artists presented stunning designs that captivated art lovers. While some of the glass artists pushed the boundaries of glass art, others embraced the traditional style of glass making. From flower vases to bowls, sculpture, and stained glass, the artists did not disappoint the teaming arts and craft lovers that had converged at the Baltimore Convention Center. While there were many very creative glass art artists at this year’s event, five of them stood out from the rest. Arts and crafts enthusiasts crowd their stands because of the exceptional quality and high aesthetics of their works. But more importantly, because their works were absolutely intriguing. It was fascinating watching art lovers as they struggle to understand and unravel the creative process that went into the creation of the masterful glass art pieces. Here are the five artists whose glass art captivated art lovers at this year’s American Craft Council Show in Baltimore.
Loy Allen’s glass art is captivating. They combine elements from nature to achieve high aesthetics. Flowers, insects, bugs, and reptiles are major sources of inspiration for Allen. Viewed before a light, the objects glow, giving life and movement to these static art objects. While some of Allen’s objects are for decorative purposes, others are utilitarian. Some of her bottle designs are hidden within beautiful flowers. Her stylistic approach is akin to the art of Art Nouveau. Like artists of that era, Allen is inspired by natural forms and structures. The flowers, plants, and curved lines inherent in her designs are reflective of Art Nouveau.
A native of South Dakota, Allen studied design at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where she graduated with a Bachelors of Art in 1975. Soon after, she went to study advanced glass techniques at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and at The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. Her works bring attention to the beauty of creatures that are often considered ugly.
Ed Branson’s glass art can be described as delicate beauties. Sitting on pedestals at the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, they glow brilliantly. Although many of Branson’s glass art are high in aesthetics, they were designed for everyday use. From bowls to vases and pitchers, all his designs are made to serve everyday purposes. The balance between utility and beauty is what owners of Branson’s creative glass art will have to contend with. To use or not t use. Branson’s art have their unique characteristics. While some of the shapes were informed by nature, others were the result of experimentation. Beyond his training with world’s glass art masters, Branson’s trust for glass and the desire to have fun with his creative process, has led to an amazing career in glass art.
Susan Gott’s glass sculptures show her brilliance and experience in the area of glass art. Influenced by mythological imagery, symbolism, and philosophies from historic and ancient cultures, Gott’s glass sculptures are outstanding. They show the experience of her travels and love of ancient civilizations, symbols of ritual art, and myths.
For more than 30 years, Gott has worked in glass, creating one-of-a-kind cast glass sculptures. Her brilliance in the area of glass art and glass sculpture has won her many awards, including the American Craft Council Award of Excellence. She has also won First Place in many exhibitions. Her work can be found in major galleries, private and corporate collections in the United States and across the globe.
Gott grew up in Virginia and Tennessee and resides in central Tampa. She has a Bachelor’s from Radford University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in glass from Kent State University. She also studied glass at Pilchuck, Haystack, Arrowmont, and Penland Schools.
Ernest Porcelli’s stained glass art is what distinguished him from other participants at the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore. Many of the visitors at the art event could not stop asking how he created such amazing stained glass pieces. His lamps were particularly magnetic as art lovers pack his stand just to see the lamps. The lamps with their multicolored shades cast new light and mood in their environment. In addition to the lamps are sculptural glass art, screens, windows & doors, and mirrors.
Porcelli’s stained glass art has brought him great recognition. In both 2004 and 2005, Porcelli was a finalist for the distinguished Niche Award. His work has also received notable attention in national publications, appeared in major motion pictures, and featured in museums and galleries nationwide. Working out of Brooklyn, New York, Porcelli has practiced the craft of stained glass art for more than 30 years.
Randi F. Solin’s glass art are riddled with mysteries. With every look, there is always something new to discover. At the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, guests looked at some of her pieces with absolute devotion as they tried to unravel their mysteries. Just when they thought they had discovered the hidden meaning, they found something new.
Looking at Solin’s glass art is like looking at an abstract expressionist painting. Lines intersect with lines just as shapes converge to create endless movement. It is like every element of design is in constant flux. That is what makes Solin’s glass art very engaging. Her Window Series, for instance, invites viewers to interact with the object. The experience is always different from one individual to another.
Solin’s Window Series is remarkably different from her other works. Her Emperor Bowl series borrow from ancient pottery form designed to hold one flower. Unlike the Window Series that are characterized by abstract expressionist tradition, the design on the Emperor Bowls are reminders of the impressionist landscapes. Aliyah External, for instance, is reminiscent of Claude Oscar Monet’s Water Lily Pond. Tiny leaf-like organism embraces the bowl just like Monet’s painting, creating magnificent optics.
The similarity between Solin’s glass art and painting is not accidental. Solin approaches her work two-dimensionally “like a painter to a canvas or a weaver using thread to create an intricate tapestry.” This approach to glass art allows her to develop her forms which are then taken through her complex coloration process. On her complex coloration process, Solin notes: “I build layer upon layer of color using glass in all particle sizes–powder, cane, fruit, and rod–like a painter’s palette, to create original homogeneous coloration and truly one-of-a-kind work.”
Solin’s glass art display at the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore shows her exceptional technical skill and highly inventive coloration style. As expected, her works are in major collections across the globe. She has also won many awards, and her works have featured in important museums and galleries in the United States and around the world.
Selecting the five artists celebrated here was most challenging. This year, like other years, featured exceptional glass art artists whose works are aesthetically pleasing. With their works, they attracted young artists and art lovers to their stands. Some of the artists also had demonstrations for guests who tried their hands at the glass making process. Loy Allen, Ed Branson, Susan Gott, Ernest Porcelli, Randi F. Solin are just a few of the artists that made the mark at this year’s event. Beyond the aesthetics of their works, their creative genius also captivated the audience at the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore.