FRITZ DREISBACH (American, b. 1941)

Dreisbach Carved Glass Statement 17.10.12

My current body of glass work is built on a combination of earlier experiments with both organic, hot worked, blown glass and the more precisely tooled, ground and wheel-carved glass. The past 8 years I have experimented with new cut and carved glass objects.

I start by making thick, solid colored pieces of my own composition from a pot furnace. This insures that the color is all the way through the glass, not just a tiny micro-layer (veneer) of concentrated Kugler color under a thick layer of clear glass. I call these solid colored objects, “blanks.” They are hot-formed with lots of bit additions applied to the original gathers, and then “burned” smooth in the glory hole. My cutting follows those fluid bits to maximize the dramatic thick-to-thin variations which make up the final design.

As with much of my design oeuvre, I have strong influences from history; especially ancient (1st through 3
rd centuries AD) and also examples of medieval through Renaissance glass. My current interest lies with stone wheel cut and carved glass, more than traditional copper wheel engraving. For historical examples, please see specifically the “Hedwig Glasses.”

I have developed some favorite transparent tints from years of chemical research, developing and melting colored glasses. Many display a shift in hue as the wall thickness of the carved objects vary from about 2 mm. up to 5cm. (about 1/16” up to 2”).

My newest ideas are to create sharp edges for dramatic optical effects, in addition to the color changes caused by the wall thickness changes. As we know, hot worked glass, formed from the furnace, has rounded edges; no sharp angles. Paul Marioni sums it up perfectly: “Hot glass wants to ball!”

Sparkling optical effects are emphasized as the edges are sharpened and faceted like a cut diamond! Cold glass sparkles and twinkles!

And I am also experimenting with a variety of ground surface textures: from as shiny as hot glass, to the waxey smooth look similar to acid etched glasses popular in the early 1900s. These velvety surfaces help us to “see” the form more accurately, since the surface does not disappear into the shiny glitter.

Fritz Dreisbach