Artist Jared Davis to demonstrate his unbreakable love of glass art Saturday
Glass art demonstration with Jared Davis 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12 The Red Flower Gas Studios, 1755 Bonanza Drive Unit C (435) 649-3001
There is more to glass art than heating, blowing and cooling, says Jared Davis.
It takes dexterity, timing and vision, according to the North Rim Glass Studio artist.
“Glass is definitely a harsh mistress,” Davis said. “Because it is a moving, molten material, it wants to do its own thing because of heat and gravity. So getting it to do what you want it to do is a challenge.”
Davis and his wife Nicole intend to show how difficult and beautiful glassworking can be at a private demonstration at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12 at The Red Flower Glass Studios, 1755 Bonanza Drive Unit C. The event coincides with a new joint exhibit by Davis and painter Jylian Gustlin that will open at 6 p.m. Friday at Gallery MAR, 436 Main Street. The opening reception is free to the public.
The Davis’ plan to work with a smaller version of his studio, which is based in Crawford, Colorado.
Instead of four ovens, the couple will work with two, Davis said.
“We also have another person helping us, but for the demonstration, it will just be the two of us,” he said. “Of course, we won’t completely finish the piece, because we won’t be around for the cooling process. We may just work it and then let it crash and burn.”
Davis uses what he calls a “soft glass.”
“It’s not like Pyrex, window or other scientific glasses, which allows us to work at a relatively low temperature,” he said. “We heat it to about 2,200 degrees (Fahrenheit) and then anneal it at 960 degrees.”
Cooling the glass, called annealing, is different than with other materials.
When steel is annealed, it is slowly cooled in air or quickly submerged in water to reduce the harshness of the steel in preparation for shaping, he said,
“Glass is different because it’s an insulating material,” Davis said. “You have different stresses inside a glass piece, depending on how you joined the glass together. So you want to make sure you get the piece as stress free as possible as it cools, so it won’t crack or break when you start to grind it into the finished work.”
Working with lower temperatures also allows Davis to create colorful pieces with differently colored glass.
“If you have to work with really high temperatures, the heat oxidizes the glass, and burns out the colors,” he said.
Lately, Davis has enjoyed working on the pieces after the glass has cooled.
“There are times when I want the work to look like stone or have an earthen look, along with the clear glass finish, so we sandblast to create surface textures and patterns,” he said. “Sandblasting glass diffuses the light and sometimes scatters the light. That allows the pieces to glow in a different way than when the glass is shiny.”
Davis was first lured to glassworking when he landed a job at a glass production studio 26 years ago.
“Their assistant quit the day they hired me,” Davis said laughing. “He left a message and they never saw him again. So they asked me if I would help blowing glass.”
In 1995, Davis began to study the art with Swedish glass masters Jan-Erik Ritzman and Sven Åke Carlsson in their studio before returning to Colorado to open a space of his own, he said.
“Ironically, my father is an artist in New York, and I never intended to follow that route,” he said. “I never thought I’d fall in love with the craft as much as I did.”
Davis enjoys working with molten materials, and how quickly he can physically create a piece of art.
“It’s not like chipping away at a stone, or molding clay or painting,” he said. “You get to take a molten material that is running at 2,000 degrees and make a sculptural form by manipulation. Being in the studio and creating something right in front of your eyes has an attractive lure to it, especially for impatient people.”
An earlier version of this story misstated the venue where Davis will hold the glass blowing demonstration. It will be held at Red Flower Gas Studios, while the exhibit will still be shown at Gallery MAR.
This story was updated to reflect that the glass blowing demonstration will be a private event.
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