Chapter 7: Delicacy and Detail


How to Make Your Creative Dreams a Reality:
Strategies to Cultivate Your Talent

Chapter 7
Delicacy and Detail

Delicacy and detail are clearly important to artists, but there is a difference. 

Detail is generally regarded to be a minor feature that contributes to the whole. Delicacy is about color, grace, and form. When I combine nuanced detail with delicacy, a poetic illusion is created celebrating nature frozen in time. 

On close inspection, once the viewer focuses on the design’s detail there’s a trompe l’oeil assumption of credibility. I imagine the viewer would assume, when viewing such a high level of detail, that the work must be an accurate representation. 

In fact, detail is the under pinning of my illusion that suggests organic intelligence. 

Another part of my evolution into the realm of artistic delicacy was the labor-rich technique of layering. During my career I focused and developed techniques for crushing glass into powder, rolling other glass into the powder, and overlaying transparent colors over opaque glasses in order to communicate the botanical intelligence of the design. Over my career color became – and remains -- my primary focus. 

Slowly over the years, the work became less about botanical accuracy and more about a referential cluster of flowers, berries, bulbs suspended with pollinating insects floating in clear glass. Exploring color for the sake of beauty, and becoming blissed out when the composition reads well, is a special moment when the glass is taken out of the oven. 

When I overview my work, I can imagine a visual center line running through the many years of experimenting with a wide range of colors, textures, shades, and forms all coming together in a personal celebration of creativity. 

Over the course of a half-century at the glass working bench, I’ve developed a menu of techniques to produce delicate illusions. 

Every artist’s transition from detail to delicacy will follow a different path. In my case, my techniques evolved from working as a scientific glassblowing technologist producing custom precision instruments used for medical and organic chemistry research. This gave me a platform from which to interpret nature in a personal way. From the get-go, I was able to employ a detail-oriented precision that was borrowed from my work in industry. 

Art-making is as varied as there are artists working. You take advantage of the skill-set you know and you make it personal. You go beyond the practical, and you go beyond making product. 

You learn from your process and build on your personal vocabulary, fusing your detail into the realm of delicacy.