Published on May 8, 2019 by Casey Lesser for Artsy - Link

10 Innovative Glass Artists on the Challenges and Joys of their Medium

Deborah Czeresko Meat Chandelier 2018. Photo by Jess Julius.

Glass is a volatile material. Working with it as an artistic medium can involve physical and mental strain, great expense, and a high chance of failure. And yet artists and designers who work with glass can shape it into anything from ethereal vessels to dynamic installations that resemble liquid. Glass is unmatched when it comes to the creative potential it offers.

Dutch artist Krista Israel sees working with glass, at times, as an obsession. “For me, it is not just any material I work with—I live, breathe, and think in glass,” she said. “It gave me a voice to tell my narrative and shape concepts.” Arriving at such a stage of mastery requires finely honed skills and trustworthy collaborators, not to mention a keen understanding of the medium.

“Glass is often used by artists, designers, and makers who don’t have much background in it,” explained Irish artist Karen Donnelan. “I think understanding some of the properties of glass and its history is a good starting point to making great work with the material.” A lack of this understanding, she added, can lead to derivative work.

But glass artists who focus solely on the medium have often been overlooked in the past. As American artist Deborah Czeresko noted, glass has “been pigeonholed as a craft material.” Only recently, she added, it has caught the attention of the larger art market.

Glass institutions like the Corning Museum of Glass and UrbanGlass have helped make the material accessible to more artists, Czeresko said. The Corning Museum’s show “New Glass Now,” which runs from May 12, 2019, to January 5, 2020, features 100 works by artists working in more than 25 countries who are taking fresh, innovative approaches to the medium. Below, we share the insights of 10 of the participating artists on the greatest challenges and rewards of working with glass, and what it takes to excel with it.