The Art of Glass

A season’s splendor suspended

The ocean is fused glass artist Verne Orlosk’s love, but when she joined New Hampshire Made one fall, she found new inspiration in that season — the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows of turning foliage, the opposite of the sea’s blues and greens. Born was a new series of fall leaves, capturing a fleeting moment of nature in glass.

The pieces are framed in shadowboxes, each with a glass back and front. Though people often ask her how they should be lit, she suggests natural light is best. LED lighting, she says, “never fulfills what I’m looking for.” As the light changes throughout the day, so too, in a way, does the piece — a morning sun versus bright afternoon brings out different colors, meaning every time you look at it, you’ll see something new.

The fall leaves series is just a sampling of her constantly evolving and varied work, which you can see in person at her studio on Hanover Street in Manchester. She also has a fine arts degree from Boston University, and formerly taught at the Currier Museum of Art. Today she occasionally offers workshops, and encourages the curious to stop by.

The process of fused glass is fascinating — learn more about it below, or visit Orlosk’s studio for a glimpse into how powdered glass turns into a work of stunning art.

Fused glass is in between blown and stained glass, says Orlosk. She sketches a leaf, layers powdered glass on the paper, and then fires it in a kiln. It sounds simple, but as you can see, the fired result looks much different than the powder, both the shape and the colors. The leaf will also reduce in size by about 40%, which is what creates the holes, mimicking the natural process of decay and insect damage. The holes appear where the powder is thinnest, so Orlosk has an idea of where they’ll appear, she says, but what they’ll look like exactly is always a bit of a surprise.

You can see more of her work below, but you should really visit the studio — the pieces are even more beautiful in person.

Categories: Local Artisans