Famous, Unique & Imaginative Blown Glass Sculptures & Art 2020 [Updated]
Glass blowing as an artform has existed for centuries. Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians made glass tiles and other decorative items for use in temples and homes. Today, glass artists work against previous limitations to create sculptures both large and small that defy gravity and showcase glass in many forms.
Glass is one of the more popular mediums for artwork today, and great works of glass art can be found around the world. Below are some of the famous and unique glass blown art pieces that show the versatility and beauty of glass as an artistic medium.
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List of Famous Glass Blown Sculptures & Glass Blowing Art
1) Dale Chihuly’s Summer Sun
Regarded as one of Dale Chihuly’s most quintessential pieces, Summer Sun is a 5.5 meter glass installation that captures the sun’s fiery brilliance in glass. The piece is made of 1,573 individual glass elements that altogether weigh about 2,000 kilos and twist and turn from the center of the sculpture to form a spherical shape.
Although quite imposing, the shapes of the glass elements create a sense of lightness and movement that balances the density and weight of the sculpture. At night, the sculpture is illuminated to enhance its glowing yellow, red, and orange colors.
Summer Sun has been displayed at the New York Botanical Garden, the de Young Museum, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, London’s Berkeley Square, and other places around the world. Chihuly is known for his large, brightly colored glass art and is passionate about making his artwork visible to the general public.
2) Dale Chihuly’s Sapphire Star
Another famous sculpture by Dale Chihuly is Sapphire Star. Part of the Reflections on Nature installation in the Royal Botanical Gardens in London, this piece juxtaposes Chihuly’s Summer Sun. This piece is icy, sharp, and powerful in its form.
While spherical, Sapphire Star possesses none of the flowing playfulness of Summer Sun. The sculpture is made of straight, pointed elements that jut out from the central point of the piece. Chihuly’s use of dark blue at the center of the piece and light blue and white glass on the tips of each element help to exaggerate Sapphire Star’s form and make the sculpture stand out from the green landscape on which it sits.
Chihuly was, as the title of his art installation suggests, inspired by elements of nature and the interconnectedness of the natural world, and we see this in Sapphire Star.
3) Harey Litteton’s Lemon/Red Crown
Harvey Littleton’s Lemon/Red Crown is an excellent example of his signature design aesthetic. The sculpture was made in 1989 and is one of a series of pieces that take on similar shapes. It is made of twelve large and small glass elements that are fused to form a circle.
Each piece of glass is bent to create a sense of fluidity. The sculpture is made of 18 layers of glass that are cut and polished to show the colors inside. Littleton’s Lemon/Red Crown showcases his experimental artistry.
As the founder of America’s studio glass movement, Littleton pushed against perceived limitations in glass sculpting and enjoyed making pieces that had organic movement and form. Lemon/Red Crown is currently on display in the Milwaukee Art Museum.
4) Carol Milne’s Knitted Sculptures
Carol Milne has been called a “lone pioneer” in her version of glass sculpting. She knits with glass to create intricate, lifelike glass sculptures of knit fabric. Her pieces range from glass knitting on needles to teapots and large sculptures.
Milne refers to her work as “a salute to work in progress.” Her pieces capture the flowing drape of real knitted fabric and are delicate in structure. Milne uses the entire rainbow in her pieces, which range from pastel yellow and pink to deep blue.
When asked about what her work represents, besides knitting, of course, Milne explains that her pieces are a metaphor for social structure. Individuals, like yarn, are weak on their own, but when woven or joined together, become much stronger.
5) Raven Skyriver’s Lifelike Marine Animals
Washington State glass artist Raven Skyriver and a team of fellow glass artists created a lifelike sculpture of a sea turtle in 2018. The turtle’s colors and form make it look incredibly real. Skyriver is a student of William Morris and works on sculptures of marine life as an expression of gratitude for their existence.
His work is shown in museums and galleries across the United States. In addition to the sea turtle sculpture, Skyriver has also created sharks, whales, octopuses, and seahorses.
6) David Patchen’s Bloom
Glass artist David Patchen has made a variety of different glass collections that are inspired by nature. The most alluring may be Bloom, a series of organic shapes that “reveal something unexpected.” The sculptures range in color from black to bright orange, and look like a sort of flower or deep sea creature.
The outside of the sculptures consist of a solid color, while the inner petal-like parts are highly detailed and varied. Patchen hopes that when people view the pieces in Bloom that they will “consider what it could be, how it evolved, and what inspired it.” The thought-provoking sculptures can be found in galleries across the United States.
7) Jack Storm’s Magik Chroma Cube
Unlike the other pieces discussed in this article, Magik Chroma Cube and other sculptures by artist Jack Storms are created using a cold-glass process. Storms works with lead crystal; cutting, grinding, and polishing it, then gluing dichroic glass to the crystal to make geometric, flashy works of art.
It can take six to twenty-four weeks for Storms to complete an art piece due to the demanding and detailed nature of his process. His work is “a chaotic display of color” that “not only passively draws attention, but demands it with urgency.” Indeed, works like Magik Chroma Cube are showstopping in their vibrancy and sharp design. Magik Chroma Cube glitters in dozens of different colors as it refracts and reflects light.