Night Owl Glass

Jenn Szalkowski

 

Orange Dichroic Side SliderDichroic Cuff LinksOrange Platter Set
My glass work has an organic and simplistic design, emphasized by color and shape.  I strive for similarities to exist between my glass and the beauty within the natural world.  I wish for my glass to recall memories of a setting sun in a brilliant pink hue, the tumultuous night sky right before a storm or the waves swirling and crashing onto the beach.  I hope my customers will interpret their own personal memories to find a piece of glass that speaks to them on a personal and meaningful level.

Utilizing a glass technique called fusing; I can create a beautiful array of glass art.  Fusing involves cutting compatible glass into various shapes and arranging it in stacked layers which are then fired in a special kiln that reaches temperatures of 1500 degrees.  During the firing process the glass undergoes a slow transformation from a solid to a soft liquid.  As the temperature in the kiln climbs, the layers of glass slowly start to melt together to form one single layer and the edges soften and round out. When the glass is finished, the kiln is turned off and I wait, very patiently, for it to slowly cool, or “kiln-anneal”; this adds strength and durability to the glass.  The glass is then removed from the kiln, cleaned and the new glass gems, or “cabochons”, can now be used to make a variety of glass jewelry and home décor pieces.

To create my line of slumped glass plates, I first fuse a tile using the process described above.  After the tile has cooled completely, it is re-loaded into the kiln and arranged over a ceramic mold coated with kiln wash (to aid in release).  The kiln is then re-fired to a temperature of 1250 degrees and the glass gently slumps, taking the shape of the mold, resulting in a variety of glass plates and bowls.
A variety of materials can be used to add color and shine to my work.  One of the most popular materials is a special type of glass called dichroic.  Dichroic glass is coated with a special multi-chromium plating which results in a color-shift when light interacts with it.  This glass comes in a variety of color-shifts in both a solid form and patterned design.  When light dances across it, it sparkles and shines; it is synonymous with fused glass: it provides a “wow” factor.  I also use a special kind of dichroic decal material called Dicro Slide.  This material can be cut with scissors to create any design you can imagine.  The material is then applied using a basic decal application and fired onto or into the glass.  The resulting piece features the cut-out design and the color-shift properties of dichroic glass.

My newest collection of work is created using a fusible photo paper.  With this material, I can fire any photograph or image onto the glass.  Using this unique fusible paper and a special laser jet printer, I am able to create custom decals which are then applied to the glass before firing using a basic decal application process.  The image fires to a sepia tone and is permanent.  I use this material to create custom jewelry pieces and wish plates with the customer’s own photographs.

I am a proud graduate of Kent State University’s glass program.  I create each piece of my one-of-a-kind glass in my home studio in Cleveland, Ohio.  My work is constantly evolving as I crave new knowledge and exploration in glass.  I love sharing my talents through teaching classes and introducing others to the amazing medium of glass.  I currently teach classes at a variety of northeast Ohio art centers and galleries.