Glass can be so fragile yet last for centuries.
What most think of in more utilitarian terms, Greg Rawls turns into art. He works in fused glass, a process in which different pieces of glass are melded together at high temperatures in a kiln.
The Beaufort resident's "Sea Glass" installation placed in the top 100 at the Grand Rapids, Mich., ArtPrize contest that displays work from artists nationwide. "Sea Glass" consists of colorful bowl-shaped pieces arranged to resemble a coral reef. It is one of several of his works that will be on display through March 2 at ARTworks in Beaufort.
Rawls discusses how glass becomes art.
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Question. How did you get involved in fused glass?
Answer. I worked with stained glass for about 10 years then got into fused glass. I got to thinking about what I could do with all these scraps of stained glass after I had created a piece. That led me to investigate fused glass.
Q. What is it about glass that you find interesting?
A. The difficulty of it. Not just physical but the mental difficulty. It's so complex. The translucence and the reflection of light I find amazing. Glass is so beautiful. Egyptians and people back in 2,000 BC made amazing glass objects that today would be a challenge to a glass artist with a computerized kiln. It's amazing that something that can be so fragile can last so long.
Q. This isn't like you just picking up a brush and starting painting. It's a very technical form of art. Did you come from a science or engineering background?
A. I have a bachelor's in biology and a master's in public health, so I come from a science background. ... I recently entered a piece for ArtFields in Lake City but didn't get accepted. Fused glass has both art and science in common, but the two are so different. In science you work to create an answer. And that answer is the right answer. And everyone agrees that it's the answer. With this art, you use science to produce a result. But the result is very subjective. What you think is the right answer, other people may not think of as the right answer.
Q. Ever drop a piece?
A. Actually I did drop one of the ("Sea Glass") pieces. Luckily it was on carpet, so it didn't break. These can be very durable.