Vermont-based glass artist Randi F. Solin uses a combination of techniques from Venetian glassblowing and the American Art Glass Movement. Her coloration process, however, is her own invention: “I approach my work two-dimensionally, like a painter to a canvas or a weaver using thread to create an intricate tapestry. My glass pieces are compositions, and, atypical to glass blowing in general, they have a 'front.' ... I build layer upon layer of color using glass in all particle sizes–powder, cane, frit, and rod–like a painter’s palette...”
Kauri Azul. Design by Randi Solin of Solinglass.
While Solin’s use of color has earned much praise (she is represented by more than 100 galleries nationwide), her new work is somewhat of a departure. Now showing at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, Solinglass’ Kauri Series takes its name from the giant coniferous evergreen trees of New Zealand. The wood of the Kauri tree is particularly lavish in its striations–the grain is described as fire-like. This alone would make Solin’s name choice apt. But I think it is the Kauri’s size and sculptural trunk that inspire the new Solinglass pieces. Measuring 23 x 6 x 7 inches, Kauri is made from two individual pieces “joined at the pipe to create a statuesque vertical form.” These new creations are also different from Solin’s earlier work in that they do not have a front. She states, “The viewer must encircle the piece to appreciate the organic form and subtle coloration.”
Randi Solin in her studio, left and Kauri Gossamer.
Solinglass offers three versions: Kauri Catalonia, Kauri Gossamer, and Kauri Azul. Each accentuates a particular palette. There is the cool Kauri Azul with its aquas and teals, and the warm Kauri Catalonia with its rusts and russets. A third design, Kauri Gossamer, pays close attention to texture and shine, using mostly clear glass. All of the Kauri Series also incorporate silver foil, which adds depth and iridescence. What is most interesting is that in many ways the Kauri series contradicts Solin’s earlier emphasis on two-dimensionality. Of course, playing with one’s art is a sign of ingenuity and skill. Kauri stretches Solin’s previous pieces almost to breaking point–but then, that is what glass as a medium can do. For other innovative applications of glass, be sure to check out the striking glass installations of Casali and uniquely crafted blown glass pieces by Ian Worling. See Solin’s new work March 26-29 at New York’s Pier 94.