For his latest project, titled the Abyss Table, designer Christopher Duff of Duffy London constructs a detailed cross section of the sea bed from sheets of glass and wood. Inspired by mythology, he designed the piece of furniture to look like one belonging to an ancient deity, capable of pulling up chunks of the earth for his own decorative use. From above, the table resembles a topographical map laid flat, but when viewed from the side, it becomes a multilayered and multidimensional model of a three-dimensional mass forged over millennia.
The brilliance of the Abyss Table lies in part in the conflicting nature of its form and function. By its very definition, the table is not an abyss but the exact opposite: a protruding surface capable of supporting objects. Here, the liquid surface of the ocean is transmuted into an imperturbable solid, and fluid space becomes sturdy and unbroken.
On the website of Duffy London, the preliminary image of the table, which will be released this fall, is accompanied with a line from Friedrich Nietzche’s “Beyond Food and Evil:” “And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” This oft-quoted passage, almost always meant metaphorically, finds a very literal manifestation here. Contained in this table, the dark, unknowable emptiness that consumes the human mind moves poetically into the home, merging its mysteries with the normal routines of domesticity. Each image shown here is a digital model from which the actual table will be built. Take a look. (via Colossal)
Glass artist Mike Gong crafts incredibly detailed, psychedelic marbles ranging from 13 to 63 mm in diameter. Each marble is uniquely designed with remarkable attention to detail. Gong creates small galaxies of color and depth, bringing a sharp eye and highly attuned craftsmanship to the medium of glass. Some of his designs even have silly faces, and even the ones that don’t all reflect Gong’s trippy aesthetic (some of his designs are named Acid Eaters). While you can get an idea of the intricacies of Gong’s marbles with a two dimensional photograph, his designs really come to life when they are allowed to spin and turn at the touch of a human hand. Not Just Marbles has a selection of Gong’s marbles available for purchase, ranging from $275 to 1,100. Brian Bowden at Pbase also has a substantial image archive of Gong’s marbles, some available for purchase. (via my modern met)
Japanese artist Mika Aoki creates intricate glass sculptures inspired by natural forms, creating new, clear, alien-like worlds. Aoki’s glasswork resembles biological specimens and systems. Her amoeba-like entities are displayed in clusters, as growths or adornments on a malfunctioning car, or in glass containers, as if they are specimens to be collected and studied. Sometimes, Aoki illuminates her glass, enlivening her organic forms with the presence of light. In her work, she contextualizes the fragility of glass with the hardness/coldness of scientific classification and automobiles, underscoring the delicacy and temporality of her designs. Important to Aoki is her medium’s transparency, and that she is able to control its solid-liquid-solid state, manipulating a material that is nearly invisible. Of her material, she says, “Unless light shines on it, we can’t confirm the existence of it because it is transparent. But once the light shines on it, glass truly emanates a special presence.” (via my modern met)
Christina Bothwell, an American artist, is creator of all things weird. These fantastic yet strange beings (Bothwell’s sculptures) are both creepy but inevitably inspiring. Bothwell’s intriguing sculptures invite the viewer to imagine fantastical worlds; ones where these weird creatures could potentially exist in.
Most often made from cast glass and clay, her made-up creatures are sometimes fitted out with found objects that serve as limbs and other body parts. The glass allows for a more ethereal, surreal feel; it also allows for a soft light to radiate through the figure, simultaneously revealing beauty yet the imperfections found within the glass. This aspect of the work is representative of Bothwell’s interest in notions of vulnerability and childhood innocence. Christina states that her ideas are in many ways autobiographical; the pieces certainly arise from what is going on in her current adult life, or what has gone on in her early childhood. (via Feather of Me)
In the age of digital photography and Instagram filters that make things look fakely old, glass artist and photographer Emma Howell uses a technique that is opposite of the easy, fast-paced methods popular today. Not only does she go to painstaking lengths to print an image, but she uses the unconventional surface of glass. Howell crafts hand-blown vessels and prints landscape images on them using the technique of the wet plate collodion – a photographic process that predates the Civil War. The result is a subtle and moody piece that’s a conversation between photography and form. She tells Wired Magazine, “Most people are not able to experience a place that is unaffected by the human presence. So I’m creating a way for others to experience this in a way that’s more than looking at a flat print of the cliché beach we all see and know.” The shape of the glass informs what the image is. A ripple or imperfection is meant to echo waves in the landscapes.
Howell’s pieces are irregularly shaped, so she had to build her own camera to accommodate them. She studied how large format cameras were constructed and sawed a barrel in half to act as the camera’s body. Afterwards, she fashioned a mount that allowed her to attach a traditional lens to the barrel. After six weeks of trial and error, she had a working design and began shooting.
The process of transferring an image to glass is very involved. Howell hikes to remote areas with a miniature chemistry lab and darkroom in tow, working on the fly to mix up photosensitive chemicals, coat glass, expose shots, and develop the image – all in the span of 15 minutes.(Via Wired)
Kate Clements is artist whose primary focus is kiln-fired glass. These delicate icicly glass crowns are representative of many things: power, decadence, excess, and decorum, but the fragility of their forms undermine the seeming permanence of this status symbol. There’s something fanastical and menacing about these glass sculptures. The mythological associations one encounters upon regarding these crowns inspires a sense of wonder and magic, the consequences of which our old fairy tales can never seem to stop reminding us. Of her work, Clements says:
“I construct decorative, non-functional glass headdresses to initiate a new conversation about narcissistic female adornment. Throughout history the cultural construction of feminine identity has contributed to a persistent desire by women to transcend what nature has given them physically. I believe these gestures of transformation are made selfishly and with pleasure, in hopes to achieve a fantasy. The glass headdresses function as a separation between viewer and ‘wearer.’ This distance enables the ‘wearer’ to be transformed into the fantastical creature; however, this distance is only a counterfeit perfection.
I am interested in women’s attempts to fit popular cultural representation and how often this results in a suspension of their critical self-awareness. How women’s efforts to fulfill these representations can lead to feelings of guilt and the simultaneous assertion of individual power and the creation of a ‘feminine mystique.’ Finally I am interested in the adornments of the celebration of the ‘perfect’ woman. These celebrations can include beauty queens, exotic dancers, and ironically in it’s most extreme manifestation: the bride. ” (via my amp goes to 11)
Anna Ter Haar is interested in forms that drip and suggest malleability. Whether she applies this idea to furniture or fashion accessories, the effect is similar: the viewer becomes immediately aware of the impermanence of the objects that she transforms, while at the same time aware that the ultimate practicality of the objects is not entirely lost. She primarily uses paint, wax, and glass, substances that become their most malleable when heat is applied. Her work also captures moments in time; her glass and chair sculptures seem to be caught mid-movement and mid-transformation.
Self-taught artist YaYa Chou grew up in Taiwan, but has lived in Los Angeles since 1997. Her Soft Tissue series, collected here, combine glass sculptures with drawn schematics on paper, both of which strive to explore the protected anatomy of people, plants, and animals on a conceptual and figurative level.
Especially when juxtaposed, these pieces indicate an interesting study of the body: where eastern ideas of emotional organ frequencies meet western philosophies of organism functionality. Chou’s work playfully dialogues with our own creation and confinement of thought.