When Art Meets Science

color rendering of the virus

I was asked to do a fused glass sun catcher.  It needed to be round with some version of the geometric shapes on the original image.  The project seemed doable and so I made a proposal.  What I didn’t know at the time was that the design was of a virus.  Who knew they are so visually compelling?  The color palette needed to suggest both the geometric shapes and the gradations of a sphere.  It seemed an opportunity to explore the use of tint tones that Bullseye glass discusses in their article Make It:  Tint Tone Plate.

layering the glass

I had been curious about exploring ways to  use tint but hadn’t gotten around to doing it.  Using tint to create a virus out of glass somehow seemed a natural fit.  The way color saturation plays out in glass is what makes walking into a cathedral feel mystical to me.   It’s the part I enjoy the most.  But now I needed to manipulate the saturation and it seemed that I was approaching this aspect of working with glass from a very different angle.  I was never much of a science person in school (maybe I was just in the wrong classes?) but as I played with the layers of glass, the different thicknesses, and combined them to create the gradations I was looking for, I felt as though science had stopped by my studio to say hi.

catching the light

I couldn’t achieve the full range of tint that I needed for this project with just the color emerald so I incorporated aquamarine and  Kelly green to broaden the spectrum on both ends.  The layers combined colors and different thicknesses of glass.  They were most effective with the lighter tints. The subtle shifts did not show up as much as I had hoped and the progression to deep green isn’t as smooth but all in all it turned out to be pretty effective.  I learned more about manipulating color tint with glass and how beautiful a virus can be.  The opportunity to explore a scientific design with glass art was an interesting gambit in a conversation to be continued.

Michelle Caron