Meet Helen Wheldon Pollitzer
As a hot glass artist I have studied at the Corning Studio, Corning, NY; Pratt Institute, Seattle, WA; and Bullseye Glass, Portland, OR, learning many different techniques including kiln casting, mold making, sand casting from the furnace, and the lost wax process. My background includes a BA and Master’s Degree in Art History.
Having lived in various and diverse locales from Florida to Newfoundland while growing up, and traveling extensively as an adult, my art is derived from a broad, cross cultural view of life. Together these experiences have enhanced my sense of spatial relationship, the ability to achieve balance and stability between elements within a piece, and overall color harmony.
The infinite patterns that surround us are influential in my work. Whether a clump of fallen leaves or the reflected patterns of light on a shiny surface, the question is always present, “How can I adapt this to glass?” The objects themselves have equally diverse origins. They may have a historical basis, having reached their final form through a metamorphosis, or conversely, some pieces suddenly appear as fully developed concepts. Some works are laden with meaning, and hope to be thought provoking or be a commentary, while others are simply meant to be enjoyed as part of our environment through an explosion of colors and pattern.
ARTIST STATEMENT –
Art is a vehicle to communicate an idea. Art can teach history, or make a statement, be it religious, satirical, or political; or simply be a record of current events. It can engender a wide range of feelings or responses in the beholder. If a work of art is successful in any of these it has lived up to the intent and expectations of the artist. If a work of art compels us to revisit it again and again, never tiring of studying it, or simply enjoy looking at it, then it has fulfilled its raison d’etre – it’s reason for being, and is successful.
Art speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the invincible conviction of a solidarity that knits together all humanity. Joseph Conrad (adapted)
Glass is a fascinating and amazing medium, at times solid, at others soft and bendable, or liquid and flowing, then ‘super-cooled’ back to solid and usable. It can be a sculptural object or functional art. The play of light and shadow within a piece, combined with reflections on the surface, draws the eye of the viewer in and creates a connection. I am drawn to the three dimensionality of glass and the challenges of coaxing a medium from its rigid breakable state, through intense heat into a completely altered shape.
The manipulation of softened or molten glass, whether kiln casting or fusing, is a multi-step process fraught with critical moments and opportunities for failure, but also with vast and fascinating possibilities.
In kiln casting, a mold is used to contain and shape the glass. The glass filled mold is heated in the kiln until the glass reaches a molten state around 1600 degrees F. It is then slowly cooled and annealed for many hours for strength and durability. Although it is returned to its rigid state, it is transformed into a new shape and can appear to flow and have movement from within.
Typically, ‘fused glass’ is created using mostly sheet glass. It might be cut, stacked, combed, slumped, recut, re-fired, reshaped and often ‘cold worked’ after firing to achieve the final product. As with kiln casting, temperatures up to 1550-1625 degrees F are used to bring the glass through its formative stages. There are many dramatic moments during the creation of a finished piece, when a work in progress can be lost due to the high temperatures needed for forming as well as during the cold working process. Patience is a first requirement in fusing, nothing can be rushed and many hours of work can be lost in a moment if the correct calculations are not made and met when kiln firing glass.
Email: DHPdesigns@hotmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org