|meditation in glass |
Meditations in Glass
Meditations in Glass
"If I could put time in a bottle
Ill tell you just what I would do"
In a song lyric of Jim Croces, the time bottle is a fantasy item, something like Alladins magic lamp in the old Arabian tale. Many model ships have been built in bottles, but no one has yet perfected the method of capturing time. Except perhaps master glass artist Mark Einert, whose one-of-a-kind glass sculptures evoke not so much an image as a motion through space, according to a time measure all their own.
Mark attributes the fluid style of his glass and the elegance of the shapes to his work with Tai Chi and linking breath with bodily motion, explorations that he made at the same time he was training as a professional glassblower in Boulder, Colorado. Mark sought out the martial arts for a particular type of body and mind training, which the Chinese approach provided. The practice of moving his body according to choreographed patterns through space, in slow motion, and with high attention, influenced his outlook on life in general and left its mark on all of his handiwork in his chosen medium of glass.
Mark is the son of a science professor. He learned very young the art of grinding scientific lenses to high accuracy and also worked with gems in lapidary cutting and polishing. Marks original designs in perfume bottles and paperweights show his extensive study and practice of faceting and facet-cutting.
He was influenced by both hard science and science fiction ideas, though he had to hide his first science fiction magazines in the woodpile since his father frownedon the genre. He attributes some of his imaginative range and openness to altering techniques and materials to the beneficial influence of that speculative fiction. Marks early ambition ran more along the lines of becoming a mad scientist than a professional artist, but he also did a great deal of drawing as a boy, and he returned to this medium in college. With his experience as an artisan and draftsman, he was ready for work in glass when he discoveredthe Bryan Maytum studio in Boulder.
Something about the qualities of glass interested Mark from the outset. He had studied gems and crystals, and he had developed a fascination for certain glass paperweights, which appealed to him as frozen or preserved moments of time. Mark apprenticed in the glass studio there as a glass blower, learning the craft thoroughly, and then proceeding to do production runs of perfume bottles and glass lamps using the traditional furnace and glass-blowing pipe.
Mark spent several years perfecting his technique and skills in the Maytum studio. He eventually became a supervisor and trained several apprentices himself. Later he helped set up another studio, for artistic glassblowing, with Susan DeMarke. Several other distinguished glass artistsamong them Steve de Vries and James Clarkalso had their apprenticeship in the Maytum studio.
Even a glance at Marks glass sculptures will lead you to marvel at the moments of time he has captured in his glass. Mark will tell you that to produce a glass piece that flows and twists in space smoothly without a glitch or a notch or a kink requires superb control and unremitting attentionjust as Tas Chi does. The creative process takes place while the glass is heated to approximately 1600 degrees fahrenheit to make it viscous and flowing like honey. In this state, Mark says, the glass imprints with your motionyour gesture leaves its sign in the glass. Feedback is immediate on whether youve been smooth or jerky in your movementsany lapse in theartists attention shows in the hardened glass.
Marks work shows his careful use not only of exquisite glass blowing technique, but also centrifugal and centripetal forces that come into play when the molten glass is spun or rolled on the rod. After meeting the artists of the Grass Valley Graphics Group, through mutual friends, and encountering the Reductionist art approach, Mark expanded his study of sculpture.
The work of Brancusi, in particular, with his Bird in Space and other unique forms, showed Mark new directions in which to go. Mark feels that his work in glass, particularly the freeform glass sculptures, follows the lead of the materials and techniques themselves, and how the molten glass can flow in space. A glass artist must develop technical mastery and also an intuition for the work, a non-thinking expertise of motion. Going with the flow is an easy characterization of Marks work; moving meditations captured or energy forms in glass might be a more accurate description.
Another area that Mark has studied and explored in his work is the bending of light through glass: refraction as in his lens-grinding and gem-cutting work. His faceted-glass bottles are first shaped from the molten glass then faceted on a grinder and polished to smoothness, yielding a combination of the blown-glass quality with geometrical exactitude of faceting. Mark has also been imaginative in his use of coloration in his work.
He makes extensive use of the chemicals and materials that create iridescence (as in the traditional carnival glass) and colored glass within clear glass, in seemingly endless combinations. Marks flowers and abstract patterns captured within clear glass are also small marvelsand large conversation piecesto set on a shelf or a table.
If one could put time in a bottle that bottle should be made by Mark Einert, so that it would hold the time withoutbreaking. And it would look the way it should on one's table: just like a bottle of time.