THE BEAUTY OF GLASS

I’ve always been fascinated by the process of glass blowing.

"BlueBackwash" by Canlis Glass

Ever since I was a child, when my family first visited the famed Cornish Museum of Glass, I’ve been captivated by the experience.

I remember very little else about that trip. We lived in Toronto at the time, and I’m not at all sure how we ended up in New York State.

To my young mind, the glass museum was clearly the highlight of our trip.

Glass blowing is an ancient art, indeed, dating back to the 1st century BC. Its discovery, during the time of the Roman Empire, is believed to be purely accidental as so many discoveries are.

As the story goes, some sailors, while cooking a meal over a hot fire, were surprised to see that sand – buried beneath the hot coals – had melted into a liquid stream.

A stream that, when cooled and hardened, turned into the substance we know today as glass.

Of course, this is just a story, and no-one really knows for certain how glass first came into existence.

Nonetheless, glass making has been coveted throughout history. In more recent times it has become a popular medium for expression, akin to paintings and sculpture.

And like paintings, sculpture and other works of art, glass art typically has a story to tell.

This is especially true when the purpose of a glass blowing goes beyond mere function into the realm of beauty and aesthetics, borrowing inspiration from Nature while interacting with the play of light.

More recently, the Studio Glass Movement – which originated in America and later spread to Europe – has infused the art of glass making with a different kind of emphasis.

The artist is now both designer & craftsmen, infusing his work with technical knowledge while creating one-of -a-kind rather than mass produced wares.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have the famed glass artist Dale Chihuly in our midst.

Chihuly was co-founder of the Pilchuk Glass School, just outside Seattle, which describes itself as an “international center for glass art education”.

More recently, I’ve been introduced to the work of the equally talented glass artist J.P. Canlis, of Canlis Glass.

In the case of J.P. Canlis, his work has indeed been inspired by Nature – reflecting a youth spent in his native Hawaii.

He continues to be influenced by the water – creating waves of glass that echo the waves of the ocean. A champion surfer, his love of the sport and the water is ever present.

I invite you to further explore the wonderful world of studio glass art, by visiting any of the above websites, including Canlis Glass.

Go ahead.

Inspire yourself.