Rene Culler

Rene Culler Glass

"Glass is a changeling material; it can be translucent or transparent. As light is absorbed or rejected, glass can change its mood with the weather or time of day. An object composed of many types of glass mimics semi-precious stone. Rather than carving it harshly, I gently twist and blow my glass to create soft, beguiling forms that appear as ephemeral as smoke."

Rene Culler takes a painterly approach to glassblowing; selecting and combining colors to create objects that suggest a mood. With her "Smoke" series in ecru and turquoise, the soft surface quality of the glass is tactile and enticing to the touch like a worn, semi-precious stone. Visually, the combination of transparent and translucent light-reactive glasses resembles fire-born igneous stone.

Culler has blown glass for nearly 20 years, and delights in her recent work. Her process involves smoke and steam as she shapes the glass using wet paper or blocks. First, she fuses compatible glass colors and rolls them up using the traditional Murano pastorelli technique. The actual glassblowing takes place after much preparation in cutting, fusing, rolling the plate, and making cups from which to work. After a surface cleaning, the cup is picked up and the design is distorted with a tool to create the "smoke" effect. The smoky bubble is gathered over with clear glass and then blown out into the desired form. Great care must be taken during blowing as each color responds differently to the heat. Upon cooling, the surface of the object is sandblasted and resin-waxed. There are no shortcuts to create these special works of glass.

The artist's work has appeared in many collections and publications, including "500 Glass Objects," published by Lark Books.