“Evviva 2,” by Mattia and Marco Salvadore, “Embrace,” by Scott Hartley, and “Dissipate,” by Herriet Schwarzrock, from Vail’s Piece Art Gallery, which specializes in glass art.
Dominique Taylor/Dominique Taylor Photography

Glass is unlike any other medium: its ability to absorb and reflect light makes it an ever-evolving opportunity to incorporate natural and artificial light into visually stimulating artistic pieces.

Evolution of glass

Historically, colored or textured glass had to be functional, mostly used in stained glass and vessels. But now its decorative and sculptural qualities are works of art on their own.

“Not so long ago that wasn’t the case,” says glass artist Jared Davis, who combines the brilliant sheen of glass with powdered and sandblasted glass to create nature-inspired sculptures. . “Now the glass is a real work of art.”

This Edwards house has a specially designed mantle with insets to display glass art from the Raitman Art Galleries. Much of Jared and Nicole Davis’ work, shown in the foreground, is inspired by local mountains, canyons, reservoirs and rivers.

Dominique Taylor/Dominique Taylor Photography

In the 1960s, American glass artists like Harvey Littleton began creating artistic glass pieces in small studios, rather than the traditional factory setting, which produced symmetrical, perfectly formed vessels. A decade later, Dale Chihuly and Ben Moore traveled to Italy to learn techniques from the masters, ushering in a new era of studio glasswork. Chihuly founded the Pilchuck Glass School in 1971, introducing a whole new generation to the art of glass. Since then, the modern form has evolved — even beyond decorative art.

“There are an infinite number of ways to bend and shape glass.” Brian Raitman, gallery owner

“Contemporary glass has generally been thought of as decorative art, but I think it can have an interesting and powerful narrative,” said Nicole Davis, who co-creates glass sculptures with her, antler chandeliers to colorful ships representing rivers and lakes. her husband, Jared, at their North Rim Glass Studio in Crawford. Through their figurative landscapes, they hope to connect viewers to the fragility of the environment, through the fragility of glass.

Meanwhile, Chihuly continues to push the boundaries of glass itself, generating pieces up to 4 feet in diameter to make “Macchia” or twisting 140 pounds of glass into 41″ x 18″ x 17″ colored spirals. dynamic in his “Rotolo” series.

“I want people to be overwhelmed by light and color in a way they’ve never experienced,” Chihuly writes on her website.

A Chihuly chandelier hangs above a dining table in this home designed by KH Webb Architects.
Scott Cramer

Bringing glass into homes

Kyle Webb, principal of KH Webb Architects, has incorporated glass artists like Chihuly, Lino Tagliapietra and Joel Berman into the homes he designs.

Chihuly’s chandeliers and freestanding pieces become the focal point of an entryway, dining room, or other home space. Webb has delineated a special space on the walls of the entrance and the living rooms for Tagliapietra’s elegant 3-4 foot glass canoes. And, he incorporated the unique textures, patterns, shapes, and graphic applications of Berman’s glass art, including glass stairs and textured privacy screen dividers, which break up open spaces.

“People want everything to feel open and light, especially in Vail, where square footage is often limited,” Webb said. “Glass walls are ½ inch thick, while a normal wall is 5 ½ inches thick, so glass saves space.”

He often inserts glass walls into bathrooms, especially toilets and shower stalls, as one cohesive glass design. Glass dividers on stairs open up an often dark space by bringing in light. LED lighting around the edges of glass panels stand out as accent pieces in kitchens and other main areas because the glass transmits light.

He also uses Lynnel’s installations of suspended glass art, walls, railings and backlit panels. The company generates unique designs on its glass through photo printing.

“They take digital photos and enlarge them to incredible detail,” he said.

Webb uses the CastGlass line, created by Berman and known for its handcrafted and sculptural textures, in the tiles. Tiles are inherently transparent and textured, but are available in a variety of colors and graphic interlayers.

Glassworks by the Ferro brothers, Latchezar Boyadjiev and David Patchen. Painting by James Van Fossan.
Dominique Taylor/Dominique Taylor Photography

The beauty of glass

Different techniques lead to a variety of glass art. Glassblowing involves blowing molten glass into a bubble with a blowgun. Cast glass uses molds to create heavier, transparent, yet bronzed pieces. Lampwork is another method; it’s a historical term for shaping tiny glass tubes using a gas torch to create small details, like flowers, or to make smoking pipes. Molten glass is the simplest technique; it uses sheets of colored glass fused into flatter sculptures or panels to be displayed on the walls.

While glass sculptures – from small pieces for mantels and shelves to large, life-size focal pieces – are the primary focus of Piece Art Gallery, the gallery also features seasonal decor, such as snowmen, bowls and containers. functional, glass jewelry, molten glass pieces and glass. Balloons.

“The fused glass pieces bring in the element of light,” says owner Eva Pobjecka. “Instead of a two-dimensional feel, the glass has the added third dimension, which makes it a bit more exciting.”

Glass can add a whimsical touch to homes, both indoors and outdoors, in gardens and around swimming pools. Cast glass birds and glass balloons, the latter measuring 10 to 12 inches, are some of Piece’s bestsellers, especially for homeowners who hang them from high ceilings or windows.

“Art should make you happy and give you a sense of visual satisfaction, and balloons often provide that,” she said.

She views glass art as a collectible art object that retains its value.

“When we talk about sculptural work, none of the other art mediums have the ability to absorb and transfer light,” she said. “It’s the best quality of glass. The glass sculpture creates such a dramatic effect. You have a different view of the same room in the morning compared to the afternoon – it is reflected differently. He really lives within you. The light gives it some movement, so it’s not just a stable piece.

A range of art glassware, including two pieces from Andrew Madvin’s ‘Thorn Vessel’ series and Ana Maria Botero’s ‘The One’, center, from the Raitman Art Galleries.
Dominique Taylor/Dominique Taylor Photography

Raitman Art Galleries has focused more on glass art over the past year, as glass adds so much color and shine to interiors dominated by trendy white and gray tones.

“People are looking for contemporary art and the glass is shining,” said co-owner Brian Raitman. “It looks brand new and sparkles and changes drastically from night to day.”

Andrew Madvin’s “Thorn Vessel” series was a “huge success”, with their delicate balance. Meanwhile, artists like the Davises are reinterpreting nature with their glasswoods and the “Riverway” series.

“There are endless ways to bend and shape glass,” Raitman said. “I noticed that contemporary art collectors have a ton of glass. They display it throughout their home or in a section of their home as a colorful statement, a shimmering corner of color.

Whether you incorporate glass into walls, privacy screens, lighting, or as freestanding works of art, glass has the ability to shine like no other material.

“No other material refracts, reflects and absorbs light like glass – and it can do so in the same room,” said Jared Davis. “Whether transparent, opaque or frosted, no other material plays with light – it can add to a space like no other medium.”