Pearlescent Lusters in Glassblowing
My start with the lusters:
Being related to Louis Comfort Tiffany, I have carefully studied his interests and tried to compare them to my own at the time I started blowing glass (1987). As I saw it, there are many similarities, but there was one area that I thought that I would not want to touch: metallic lusters. Tiffany was fascinated by the effects of various metal salts sprayed on the surface of the hot glass creating a cloud of toxic fumes which coats the piece in a rainbow of colors. As I started blowing glass, I decided that, for health reasons, I would forego thinking of lusters as an available decoration.
Years later, I found pearlescent lusters. I started with a palette of three colors and was led to twenty-five. The more I used them the more I wanted to use more. Since about 1999, the majority of my work utilizes pearlescent lusters. I woke up one morning to realize that I was beset by the same intrigue with lusters as Tiffany; I had simply backed into a twenty-first century way of achieving a look that a century ago could only have been done using toxic fumes in the studio. The pearlescent lusters, on the other hand, are a good deal safer than most of the class colors used in the studio.