Artist Statement

Growing up in the city, I was a good and active student in school, played numerous musical instruments, danced, sang in a choir. In summers I spent time singing folk songs and weaving carpets, knitting and crocheting, doing garden work, alongside my grandmother. While everybody in the city predicted that I would go into politics in my home country (Moldova in Eastern Europe), my grandmother quietly nurtured my artistic passions. She once told me how my hands and creativity would take me a long way.

Since then, I have traveled different parts of the world, achieved numerous degrees in humanities, and all along continued to work with my hands. My attraction to creating glass art flourished when I studied lampwork handmade glass beads with Caitlin Hyde (now at Corning NY) in Carbondale Illinois. I spent the next year refining my technique. Currently I have my own studio in my New England home.

Making glass beads is like choreography to me. I plan and use my skills to conceptualize a bead, and in turn the glass, its colors, and the heat—just like dancers—build on my vision with their own naturally conditioned interpretations. I like that I am not 100% in control: the glass surprises me sometimes in ways that influence my thinking and make me a better artist – an artist who speaks the language of the glass but never speaks for the glass. In my first show of lampwork glass beads I featured a new concept I called "life drops". Here is an excerpt from what I told my audience about them:

To make this [a round bead] into a life drop, once the design is complete, I hold the bead in the flame steadily until gravity begins to pull the melted glass downward. The design, previously fixed, now assumes a new life: a life drop….No matter how pre-designed the life drops (no matter how pre-planned life), in letting them be led by gravity, I cannot predict exactly the pattern the beads will take. This emergence of a new identity for the bead parallels my desire to celebrate the fluidity and emergence of life.

From simple, round to hollow, multi-layered, complex geometric design beads, they reflect and transform my everyday while instantiating a moment in time, a feeling, an experience or a wish. These beads reflect conversations, people and relationships that are part of my surroundings.

The colors of the glass are sometimes outspoken and self-identifying and other times transcendental, quietly nurturing the bead as a whole. I work primarily with soft glass (Moretti) from Murano, Italy, and the color palette available in that glass is endless. Texture is another passion of mine that keeps fascinating me by ways it influences how the glass presents itself to the world and its wearer. Between a smooth, glossy look and a textured surface, rich in relief and dynamic, the beads inspire ways in which I think of reality from day to day: sometimes I go along, and sometimes I ask many questions, disturbing the surface and always learning something.

In spite of my continuous look out for expansion of my intellectual and physical capacities, the gravity of lampworking and glass beads has been pulling me more and more toward its center. I have been growing in the imagining and the making of glass beads because this process and its results constitute art for me and art has no limits. I feel that I have finally found a place where I can be limitless and always transforming and that place is behind a flame. With a mandrel and a glass rod in hand, I can go where no one has gone before :-) and explore beauty, identity and skill in just one glass bead.

Copyright © 2004     Liliana Cirstea Glenn      all rights reserved     created by Design-Sight