We talked to glassblower Rose Glass Art about her career and her incredible glass creations. Rose Glass Art first became interested in art glass when she was very young, collecting small glass figurines throughout her childhood. When Rose entered her teenage years she began experimenting with cannabis, as teenagers are wont to do, and so she started acquiring and building a collection of glass pipes which she admired for their quality and aesthetic appeal. When Rose finished high school she pursued and acquired a B.A. in Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, also known as MassArt, and the courses that she took for this degree helped to prepare her for a wide range of artistic pursuits, teaching her essential problem solving skills which she would continue to apply in her life and art for years to come.
When she first started attending classes at MassArt, Rose expressed an interest in learning to blow glass and a fellow student informed her about an internship program at the Diablo Glass School in Boston. MassArt sponsors this program, and their students can apply for internships at the Diablo Glass School so that they can learn glassblowing while also earning course credits that can be applied towards their degree programs. Up until this point Rose Glass Art had only taken a beadmaking class but she knew that she was curious about glassblowing and was fascinated by the process and the end result, so she applied for the internship and was accepted into the program. Rose Glass Art's mentors at the Diablo Glass School were Toby Walters and Christopher Watts, both instructors for the program with impressive portfolios of their own.
The Diablo Glass School program largely focused on furnace work or "hot glass" techniques. In 2016, Rose Glass Art took a hollow sculpting class from Robert Mickelsen, one of the earliest preeminent glass artists in North America, and that course would prove invaluable to Rose in her own art. Unlike other teachers that Rose Glass Art had worked with in the past, Mickelsen didn't withhold any information. When asked, he would answer his students' questions as completely as his own knowledge would allow. Rose Glass Art found Mickelsen's class to be so beneficial that she enrolled in the same class again a year later; she had spent the year applying what she learned in the first class, and when she attended the class again she picked up even more information that she had missed the first time. Rose also took a class from Micah Evans and Stephan Peirce at the Pilchuck Glass School, and she found a mentor in Salem Community College professor Katie Severance who persuaded Rose Glass Art to enroll in the scientific glassblowing program at Salem Community College.
Rose Glass Art's final project at Salem was a beautiful plasma lamp, a type of electrodeless metal halide lamp that relies on the properties of noble gasses. This project and other plasma lighting projects have been a central focus of Rose Glass Art's work for the last two years, and the end result is truly awe inspiring as she deftly blends the worlds of science and art to create pieces that no other glass artist can rival. Rose Glass Art's plasma lamps are made in two sections or chambers which are filled with different gasses at different pressures. In the piece that she made for her final project, Rose Glass Art fashioned a vessel shaped like a female body holding a large flower, and this section was filled with a low pressure mixture of argon and neon. That vessel was then jacketed within another vessel which was filled with high pressure krypton. When powered the lamp creates plasma discharges which glow and move around the vessel similar to a Tesla coil. This project was the culmination of everything that Rose Glass Art had learned in the fields of art glass and scientific glassblowing and the result is truly breathtaking.
Rose Glass Art's name isn't actually Rose, her first name is Angie and her middle name is Rose, but she chose to work under that name to highlight a thematic statement that pervades much of her glass art, a sort of simile that compares glass and plants and their fragile but surprisingly durable nature. The perception of frailty belies the endurability of these subjects; plants can be stomped on and destroyed but will often grow back stronger than before, and glass may be brittle but it is used as heatshields on spaceships and windshields on automobiles and in every new piece of technology. Rose Glass Art is often inspired by the struggles that people face in their every day lives, by her own rocky childhood and the struggles that we are all facing together, like impending climate change, and she sees the hidden strength and potential for growth that underlies these fragile situations. You can check out more of Rose's thought provoking work over on the Rose Glass Art Instagram page.