Alexis Simmon Kanarek
As a very impatient young person there was a saying I heard often: “The slower you go the faster you get there”
This made more sense as time went on and especially spoke to me when I started casting glass.
Casting glass is slow.
Shy and introverted as a child, the key to my world was a box of color that led to a life long infatuation with the prism of light. I understood the concept of lost wax casting as I spent many hours in my father's dental lab shaping hot wax over the Bunsen Burner and casting my designs in plaster.
My journey has had many artistic side roads and unplanned adventures along the way proving as catalyst to greater self-knowledge and freedom of creative expression. The search for new technique has lead me through a varied jewel toned palette. My toolbox contains an array of skills and accomplishments, among them working as a professional designer and fiber artist, color always my intoxication and motivation.
A side road led me to a glass casting workshop in Mendocino California. The beauty of this magical place primed my senses for the experience I was about to have.
Casting glass is a many step process of moving a solid glass billet into a kiln fired sculptural form. I loved the detailed complex nature of all of the steps involved. The tools, supplies and knowledge needed were challenging. And the colors! Brilliant light infused delicious flavors of leaded crystal glass! I was hooked. The journey began then took 33 months of research, trial and error.
Glass casting is a very slow process. Many supplies are used and it is labor intensive. First a sculpture is made from wax and then plaster molds are poured. The wax is melted out of the mold leaving the reverse of the finished piece. Glass is then placed in the kiln with the mold and firing begins. The actual firing and slow cooling of the kiln takes almost a week. I learned to take each step slow with care and thought. The result has brought me to my creative home.
I went very slowly and I got to where I needed to be.
The subject of the sculptures was inspired by trips to junkyards with some of my students. The disposed machine parts that were the stars of the industrial revolution spoke to me. I found the shapes inspirational. The combination of the “idea” of solid rusty metal machine parts executed in illuminated glass is thrilling.
The glass sculptures are made of forty-five percent lead crystal. The glass comes from New Zealand and is the very finest available. They are lit from inside with an LED tube light and placed in an acrylic base. Custom colors are available.