Saturday, April 03, 2010

Paul Bendzunas Hot Glass

We've just gotten some new pieces from Paul Bendzunas. I think Paul was one of the first glass artists we ever represented. We've been carrying glass for about 10 years now.

Paul talks about how he makes his work. "
Our glass is all blown from molten glass using five foot long hollow stainless steel tubes called "pipes". Each piece is started with a gather of the base color. The glass is gathered by twirling the pipe with its end submerged in the molten glass. Layers are then added that either contain designs, or clear glass, or colored glass.

The largest "tank" in the studio contains crystal, or clear glass. We also have a smaller furnace which melts three smaller crucibles, or pots, full of varying colors. These run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If they are emptied and cooled for a vacation or repairs, it takes several days for the glass to become ready to use again.
When the piece is finished except for the lip, or top rim, it is removed form the pipe by attaching a solid rod, or "punty" to its bottom and then being broken loose from the pipe. The top lip is finished, and it is placed into a special kiln, called an annealer to hold it at 910 degrees F. for several hours and then slowly allow it to cool.

To see more of Pauls pieces or to order click here.

Paul was born in Oswego, New York in 1951. He earned his BSEd at the University of Georgia, in Athens. He minored in sculpture, becoming fascinated with glass while in school.

He subsequently studied at Penland School of Craft. He then joined a cooperative craft community and continued to teach himself, designing and making his own equipment, developing his colors and refining his forms.

In 1980 he married Barbara, a potter, and began his own studio and family. They have a daughter and twin boys.

In 1990, the family bought land and a hand built house "We chose our place here because I need to have contact with the land. I can walk out my door and be in the woods. Our house faces a woods, complete with a creek with ravines and beaver dams. It is like living in a park. My images reflect what is around me. When I worked in my old studio, I had to go somewhere else to recharge. Now I can do it walking from the studio to the house."

When asked why he chose glass for his medium: "I like the immediacy of glass. I can conceptualize and finish a piece in one process. Glass is like watercolor. It needs to be in your mind ahead of time and done swiftly. If you lose a piece, you learn something and go to another. You learn to see the potential of the work and make allowances for those special things that happen when it is in process. You save the 'mistakes' you like and correct the others."

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