"Glass is an evil mistress. Strong but fragile, seductive yet temperamental, dangerously sharp while elegantly smooth. My work explores the contradictions between the common perception of glass - smooth, shiny, 'glassy' - and the rough unrefined beauty hiding beneath its polished surface."
Bob Woldow approaches art the same way he approaches life. 'A fork in the road doesn't mean you have to choose either direction. If the road's not taking you where you want to go, create your own road.' He challenges the traditional approach to glass - shiny, transparent, smooth - by stripping away the polished surface to reveal the material's hidden "distressed" beauty. The most common reaction to his work is fascination, followed by the question Bob has heard countless times, 'What is that? Is it really glass?'
Bob's technique is 'strip method' fusing. He fuses strips of glass, hand-cut by the hundreds, into patterns which are them repeatedly cut into sections, rearranged, and fused into patterns of increasing complexity. After grinding and polishing by hand to a smooth finish, he removes the shiny 'glassy' surface through a combination of sandblasting and acid-etching. The result is a unique honed matte surface best described as 'translucent ceramic'.
Bob Woldow has taken classes at the Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle and at Bullseye Glass in Portland, Oregon. Most of his training, though, is self-inflicted. Unlike most glass artists, who focus on the "hot" aspects of their work, Bob emphasizes "coldworking" - the laborious steps of grinding, polishing, sandblasting and acid-etching. While classes helped, most of his skills were developed through trial and error. "At some point, you've just got to get in there and get dirty and wet."
Selected Exhibitions & Awards
American Craft Council Show, San Francisco, CA, USA, Fort Mason, 2009
American Craft Council Retail Show, Baltimore, MD, USA, Baltimore Convention Center, 2009
Bellevue ArtsFair, Bellevue, WA, USA, Bellevue Square, 2008 & 2009
Early Works in Fused Glass, Seattle, WA, USA, Avalon Glassworks, 2005