Glass Artist Nanda Soderberg

Rejected and recycled objects get a new take on life

$30, recycled beer bottle vase

Glass artist/designer Nanda Soderberg of Concord has a new spin on glass. Rather than starting with glass rods or glass sheets, he uses discarded bottles from recycle bins and cut-glass bowls from thrift stores and gives them a new life.

He followed this vein of work after practicing texturing techniques on old beer bottles. Suddenly, something ordinary was transformed into something beautiful. And he says, “There are tons of ugly glass in the world and just heating it up can turn it into something beautiful.”

Using the traditional glassblower’s pipe in a “glory hole,” a hot furnace for re-melting glass, he spins “found” bowls and centrifugal force flattens them out. A series of cut-glass bowls were spun and given a mirror finish on the cut side for an optically pleasing design that is borrowed from the past but  lives again as contemporary design. Several of these pieces were commissioned by Barneys in New York City.

Using discards, wine bottles are “puffed” out using a blow pipe, resulting in a shapelier silhouette with high shoulders and a narrow “waist.” A series of brown beer bottles are made into tumblers with a nice polished edge and sheets of gold leaf to complement their new station in life. Also shown here are plain brown beer bottles given a fine filigree of design.

Soderberg is originally from Hawaii and received his Masters in Fine Art from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007. He will be teaching recycled glass techniques at the famed Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Wash., this fall. A few pieces are available online.


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