Jamie Harris

3 piece(s) in the gallery



ARTIST Q & A

Why do some art glass pieces contain bubbles?
Most viewers of studio art glass who ask questions about bubbles are usually confusing the qualities of studio glass with that of factory-made lead crystal. Lead crystal is usually seen to have very few noticeable bubbles. In part, this is due to the technical qualities of how it is melted in the factory setting; however, to a far greater extent, crystal has fewer bubbles because of the limited processes used to shape it. Foremost of those--lead crystal is usually colorless. One of the ways studio art glass has established its uniqueness is in its sophisticated use of color and the complex technical ways in which it is shaped. Thus there are forms and imagery that are possible in studio glass but not in factory glass, and it is those advanced techniques that invariably lead to bubbles in the glass. Additionally, often studio glass can become quite large in scale (note you almost never see crystal pieces exceed 2 feet in dimension), and with mass comes the increased possibility of bubbles. In short, bubbles should always be seen as a natural and unavoidable consequence of the superior shaping and coloring possibilities inherent in studio glass.

What does the term “Incalmo” mean?
The Italian term incalmo refers to the technical process where two (or more, in the case of my work) separate glass bubbles are joined together to create an object with a segmented look. The process begins with the glassblower opening up the end of one bubble; although the opposite end is still attached to the blowpipe, the other end is opened and flared to resemble the lip of a cup. On another blowpipe, the glassblower opens up another bubble (typically of a different color) so it too resembles the lip of a cup. Then the two "lips" are heated and joined together, while one of the two bubbles is then broken off from its blowpipe. This then leaves one bubble attached to the other blowpipe, now half one color, half another, which can then be shaped and formed.

Where in the artistic process do you affix a name to the pieces?
I sign my pieces when I put them in the box leaving the studio, not a minute before. Although the blowing process is immediate, my work comes alive during the slow and laborious carving that occurs in my cold shop, and I often make last minute changes on a piece after reflecting on it for weeks.

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