Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Working with glass

glass workshop
Glass is an interesting material, to say the least. It is a hard and fragile, and yet as an amorphous solid it is slowly moving as gravity pulls on it— just look at the window glass in old homes. Glass is also quite flexible, and can bend significantly. Glass is also a wonderful material for the use of color due to it's translucency. Color may be viewed on the material itself, and also projected onto a surface by a light source. Glass may also be formed in several different ways— cast, blown, scored and then broken, or cut with a water jet.

When working with glass, the question is not if you will injure yourself in some way, but when. Whether you are working with molten glass or trying to avoid tiny shards of glass, there is a high probability of being hurt in some way, regardless of how much care is taken. I've taken splinters of glass in my fingers and have been cut on the edge of a sheet of glass (with a square edge) countless times. However, for me the dangers of working with glass are worth it, as the end product is always much cooler than I imagine when it is being designed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Art Glass Miniatures - Bullseye

mouth blown glass bullseye
These mouth-blown glass bullseyes are another aspect of Szal Design's Art Glass Miniatures. Since the glass is made by hand, the diameter varies from between 3 and 3-1/4 inches. The edge of the glass is smooth, since the lip of the glass is folded over on the back by about 1/8 inch. The back is fairly flat, while the front gets thicker at the middle and has a glass "stump" of varied shape where the bullseye was broken off the blow pipe. Since each bullseye is made by hand, each is different, but the color and feel of the piece remains the same. There are 12 different colors, and each bullseye comes with a five and one-half inch hanging loop, through a drilled hole at the edge of the bullseye. When compared to the randomly designed miniatures, these are opposite in nature— simple and elegant.

Art Glass

stained glass window
Szal Design Art Glass currently encompasses two areas. The first is the design and creation of custom leaded glass panels— windows, skylights, interior partitions, and other types of panels. I started working in leaded glass in high school, and was able to pursue it during college and after. I use only the finest materials when creating my art glass, including a commitment to using only mouth-blown glass. While I have primarily made abstract panels, I am happy to work with my clients to create the perfect art glass panel for their needs.

stained glass lamp
The second area that Szal Design's Art Glass encompasses is that of art glass luminaires. The current series of lamps is named Prana, and comes in 13 inch, 24 inch, and 51 inch heights. The initial concept for this lamp was to create a contemporary art glass lamp that used an entire sheet of mouth-blown glass. This design became the 24 inch lamp. The 13 inch lamps each use half a sheet of glass, and the floor lamp uses two sheets of glass. The lamps feature a square column of mouth-blown glass with an exposed upper lip of glass on a solid wood base. The exposed glass lip is the end result of the making of the sheet of glass, and is quite smooth. Internal cross-bracing maintains structural rigidity of the lamps. The lamps are available in a variety of different glass colors and base woods, and can be seen in great detail on my website and at my Etsy shop.

Salvaged glass Miniatures

art glass ornament
The pieces above are 6 of the hundreds of these art glass miniatures that I have made. Over the years as a glass artist, I have been saving thousands of pieces of glass, all scraps from my projects. Until I started making these, I had no idea what to do with them, and the thought of discarding (recycling) them did not appeal to me. I guess that's the frugal side of me coming out, but I never could bring myself to take these out of my workshop. I had many boxes full of scraps and no plan to use them.

That changed when my wife an I were planning our wedding. Being very budget conscious we were trying our best to allocate our monetary resources in the most efficient way for our wedding, which meant that we probably wouldn't be doing much of anything for favors for our guests. Then my wife planted the idea of making a favor by using my boxes of scrap glass. I could use my stock of solder and other materials to make them, making it an affordable option for our wedding. So that's exactly what we did, and all our guests loved them! They compared and traded them, and became a conversation piece and brought our guests together. My wife and I decided then that they should be shared, and they are now a permanent part of the Szal Design Miniatures.

Each of these leaded glass ornaments is unique. They are made from small scraps of different types, textures and colors of glass. Some pieces may have a color theme (such as mostly blue & purple, for instance), but they are not created with any type of color or design in mind. Each piece is small, with between 3 and 7 pieces each (5 pieces on average), and each varies in size but with maximum dimensions under 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches.Their design is dependent on the glass scraps I have on hand, and my state of mind when I'm making them. I have no preconceived notion of what they will look like. My goal is to create a stimulating composition of glass. Some items may suggest a certain design, such as a figure or animal, but in my experience different people see different things in these pieces, which is the exciting thing about them. 

I hope you're excited by these as much as I am. It feels great to be creating wonderful and interesting art by using every scrap of glass that could so easily be thrown away. I am happy to make just one piece for you or make 100+ pieces. Please visit my Etsy Store for current pricing, and please contact me with any and all questions. Bulk pricing is available.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


copper foil covered glass scraps
As the title of this post implies, I've been setting up (another) blog. My old blog on my website is a pain to work with, so hopefully this will be better. It already seems loads better, which is good.

I am a glass artist in the Boston area, specializing in leaded glass. I have recently started categorizing my business into two main areas I call "Art Glass", and "Art Glass Miniatures". Art Glass refers to traditional leaded glass panels, and also a series of leaded glass and wood luminaires (lamps) that I have developed. I can do any sort of custom glass work that you'd like. Art Glass Miniatures is like it sounds—small pieces of art glass. These are ornament to suncatcher sized items, and besides my ability to create custom designs, feature two main products. The first is a series of mouth-blown glass bullseye ornaments, while the second are ornaments made from scraps of glass that I would otherwise be discarding.

I'll go into further detail about all of my art glass works in future posts, but this is all the time I have for now! All of my currently available art glass pieces may be found on my Etsy shop.