Hot Glass and Cold Cuts




Partners in life and career create a singular vision.She cuts glass. He blows glass. But they work together to create each piece.The partnership of Michael Kraatz and Susan Russell is 30 years strong. The couple met teaching high school art in Lebanon and as independent artists built a 1,200-square-foot studio in Canaan.The "stele" shown here is a good example of their collaboration. Kraatz sketches out the shape of the design that is "framed" in either cold-rolled steel or wood, while Russell designs the pieced interior.To create the flat glass, they pour 2,000-degree molten glass onto a metal table. "It's like very hot pancake batter," says Kraatz. Working together, and very quickly, the couple stamp simple geometric shapes into the hot glass. Kraatz adds, "We do talk about it at length before we begin, but those 60 seconds don't give us much time to rethink it, and that is a good thing."Russell cuts and grinds the cooled slab into pieces and rejoins them with lead channels. The shapes she cuts are generally rectangles - each, in a way, a frame for the glass on glass design within.Kraatz's blown "bullseyes" are occasionally also leaded into the design. Each has a bit of color but much restraint is shown. Why so much clear glass? "Because you can see through it," Kraatz explains. The garden stelae reflect and refract local colors in an outdoor setting and as lone sentinels or in groups. They reflect the seasons, too.Kraatz also teaches at AVA Gallery and Arts Center in Lebanon and has recently started to blow tumblers again. In New Hampshire the duo is represented by the McGowan Gallery in Concord. They have completed commissions for free standing pieces and wall works for private concerns across New England.

Calendar

Popular Articles

  1. Is This the Oldest Known UFO Photo? One NH Researcher Finds Out
    Ryan Mullahy, a UFO writer and researcher, set out to either verify or discredit the photo.
  2. Lyme Disease: Separating the Myths From the Medicine
    Lyme disease is here again and stirring controversy
  3. Learn the Basics of Paddleboard Yoga
    Paddleboard yoga is gaining popularity. Get in on this new aquatic trend with tips and advice...
  4. Best of NH 2014 American & Seafood Restaurants
    In this section you'll discover where to find the best steakhouse, creamy and comforting mac and...
  5. Discover the Secrets of Story Land
    An insider’s guide to historical curiosities, forgotten fairytale lore and pre-Disney...
  6. Join Jeff McLean and the NH Rebellion
    Why would people undertake a 150-mile walk from Dixville Notch to Nashua in January? Because they...
  7. A Close Encounter With Betty Hill
    In time for the Exeter UFO Festival happening at the end this month (August 30), David Mendelsohn...