“crashing the kiln”

Piles of broken vintage glass, milky colors, and lots of fire. Today I’m asking ALL of the questions – I need to understand how Philadelphia based glass artist Amber Cowan does what she does!? So many teeny tiny bits of glass, assembled into gorgeous sculptures, wall hangings and installations. Also, I had to find out if her neck hurts. Spoiler alert: it does. You can listen right up there under “Rosaline Ombré Bouquet”, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First, a few of my favorite pieces that I’ve written about before. The detail… IS… INSANE…

Right?! Ok, let’s get into this. Right off the top we talked a lot about this recent, super duper green, piece titled “Bridesmaids Forest”

The snail … 

Oooh, and look at this! Talk about finding a gem… this is a photo from Amber’s Instagram feed at her favorite source for old glass {note the pile of milky blue shards in the background}

Wow. I want to go to there … and I don’t even work with glass!

Next, this is a peek at “Ginny’s 16 Piece Snack Set” made from, yep, a 16 piece snack set just like this one…

A stunning transformation, again.

Oh look, here’s another one. This is the piece Amber read the note about… the broken blue candy dish that a complete stranger sent to her.  “Sky Mountain with Coy”

Gah! Gorgeous! Please note all of those teeny tiny little glass balls that Amber painstakingly makes. Seriously cannot get over that. I suppose that’s why these quick, melty bud vases are necessary in her practice…

Love. I also love that her cat made it into this shot. They always do that, don’t they?

I asked if she ever combined those super quick melts with her very intricate little pieces, and she has in fact. These are two pieces, from 2013. They are part of her “Wedding Compote” series …

And now, onto the green “Hands and Handkerchiefs”, some of her newest work…

Ah, so good! I had to show these in-progress shots too, again from Amber’s Instagram feed. Fingers being melted into their new ‘handkerchief’ holding positions. I also thought that shot on the right showed the scale nicely – I didn’t realize they were this big!

And here we are, back to that little green snail from the beginning, but now, Amber OWNS the mold…

Ah-mazing. I predict many many many snails in Amber’s future. Just a hunch.

And finally, here she is in ‘flame-working’ action. And ps., she was right… I don’t consider this a “small flame”!

Oh boy, that was so good. Thanks so much to Amber for sharing all of her thoughts, insights and advice! If you want to send her old glass just reach out to her right here. Oh, and if you want to sign up for her class in Venice next spring, the link to the school is right here, and listed below. Thank you to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and giant high-fives to you for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Send Amber vintage glass
  2. Amber on Instagram
  3. Heller Gallery, NY
  4. Art Miami
  5. Salisbury University, Maryland
  6. Michiko Sakano
  7. Corning Museum of Glass
  8. Paul Stankard
  9. Pilchuck Glass School, Washington State
  10. Oprah article about Amber
  11. Abate Zanetti Glass Courses, Murano Venice
  12. Glasstress 2017, Venice
  13. Recipe for PIECAKEN! … you’re welcome.


comments (5)

  1. Julie /// 11.26.2017 /// 1:27am

    I found this fascinating!! Beautiful work – I would love to see it in person.

  2. marc cardwell /// 11.27.2017 /// 11:56am

    hmm, this one didn’t download in my downcast app, and i’m subscribed to it. did anything change w/ the address?

  3. the jealous curator /// 11.27.2017 /// 8:55pm

    no, there was some glitch with itunes… should download now!

  4. Karen robey /// 12.14.2017 /// 11:51am

    OFF the CHAIN!!! I had the pleasure of seeing her work in person last year and this year at Art Miami during Art Week Miami! It was the highlight of my art week last year! Truly gorgeous work!! Another tidbit was my Chuck Close sighting this year. What a great experience it was to attend and exhibit for the last two years. A lot to learn and great art to inspire any artist. And Amber’s work was at the top of my inspiration chart! Thank you for the interview.

  5. “bending spoons (and medieval laws)” - fooledbyart /// 02.12.2021 /// 10:28pm

    […] Amber Cowan on the podcast, episode no.115 […]

Instant Max AI Instant Profits AI Immediate Byte