Thursday, June 21, 2018

How it's Made: Modern Glass Design from Epiphany Studios

April Wagner, "Rabbit Lives at Claire's House"

We came for the color and stayed for the handmade. Welcome to the Midwest, where the folks are friendly and the artisan glass is gorgeoous. Today we are in the Pontiac, Michigan, studio of April Wagner, artist and founder of Epiphany Studios, to learn more about the creative process behind her delightfully dazzling glass designs. You're in for some inspiration and education in this edition of "How it's Made."
  April in the studio, photos by Sebastian Sullen

Initially, April designs each piece with careful consideration of form and function. The designs are then fabricated by a team of at least two people in her studio. This process involves solid sculpting the object in front of a 2400-degree reheating chamber using molten clear glass. Next, colors comprised of minerals and metallic oxides are mixed in to create the layers and patterns, followed by a clear glass overlay. 

April has been creating paperweights for over 20 years. Her signature style is showcased in both the Rainbow and Sea Urchin paperweights, evocative of underwater creatures or flowers and shapes found in nature.  

Color in glass is not like color in paint. For example, mixing blue and yellow does not make green;  copper, depending on the elements it is mixed with, can be either green, red or blue. April has spent many years honing her expertise in color theory and technical abilities associated with her craft. By mixing multiple colors, she creates vibrant, layered objects that are beautiful to behold. 

When fashioning her Heart Paperweights, April puts playful color into a representational shape. By manipulating both contrasting and complementary colors, the idea is to evoke the dynamic emotional intensity of love.

A passionate animal lover, Aprils affection for her two rescue cats inspired these sweet slumberers.  Using a mix of colors in a cute curled shape, the Black Glass and Calico Cat Paperweights are a daily desktop reminder of the joy animals bring to our lives. 

April Wagner, "Primary Fete"

For even more info on April's adventures and her production process, watch her video here.

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

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