Tuesday, February 20, 2018

How it's Made: Behind the Scenes with Elias Studios Glass

Glass Circle Pendant-Green Multi / Glass Circle Pin -White Multi /
Glass Circle Pin-Blue Multi / Glass Circle Pendant - Brown Multi

There is a simple explanation why our Glass Circle Pins and Pendants are consistent customer favorites in our museum shops. Elegant and exquisitely crafted, the soft swirls of these pieces perfectly round out any outfit. We love them so much we have made them available online for the first time! In addition, the duo behind these artful accessories has allowed us behind the scenes for a sneak peek at their process. Take a spin with us to the coastal village of Westport, Massachusetts, and into Elias Studios in this edition of "How it's Made."

For over 30 years, the husband and wife team of Jennie and John Elias have collaborated to transform blown glass into unique, wearable art. 
John began his career as a potter and transitioned into glass blowing, finding an appreciation for the immediacy of the process and focus it required.  With a little help from a 2000 degree furnace, John gathers molten glass on a blow pipe to create a base. Small chips of glass called "frit" are then fused in lustrous layers to this base. 

The frit is slowly melted, meticulously layered and twisted to create movement and rhythm across the surface of each piece. The objective is to create a small work of art with all the ebullience of a larger one.
Once the colors are completely heated onto the base glass, the spherical gather is cut from the pipe and pressed between paddles to flatten the shape. A torch is employed to enhance metallic hues and then the glass is placed into an annealing oven to slowly cool. 

Each piece is completed with either a pinback or a pendant loop, allowing it to go forth to fulfill its accessory destiny.  The completed creations are kaleidoscopic canvases, balancing rich color and fluid movement in a fusion of technical skill and creative innovation.

Now we've come full circle on our coastal constitutional to Elias Studios, and we hope you feel inspired! Learn more and view our entire collection of Glass Circle Pins and Pendants here:


To view our entire collection of unique jewelry, visit the Museum Shop online: https://www.artinstituteshop.org

Proceeds from all purchases support the Art Institute of Chicago's many programs.

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