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Artist Statement Alix Schwartz

I have always loved glass. However, for most of my life I thought I would be capable only of collecting glass art, not making it myself. At the time, I was familiar only with blown glass. The moment I discovered kiln-formed glass, I knew I had found my artistic calling.

Since that day, eight years ago, I have studied various techniques with many artists. The techniques that keep drawing me back are murrine and pattern bars. Murrine first appeared in the Middle East over 4,000 years ago, and were revived on the island of Murano, off Venice, in the early 16th century. Although I do not make murrine in the traditional way, pulling the long, colorful canes is the one time I interact with glass in its molten state. The patterns that are revealed in cross section when the cooled canes are snipped into short lengths delight and often surprise the eye.

Similarly, the thick and heavy rectangular or triangular pattern bars I create, when sliced open and mirrored like the wings of a butterfly, reveal shapes that the artist can try to predict but can never completely control. It is this frisson between symmetry and serendipity that keeps me coming back to pattern bars time after time.

Both the murrine and the pattern bars take best advantage of one of the qualities of glass that I love the most: depth. Because the viewer can see through the transparent and tinted glass, the edges of the adjacent opaque shapes stand out in relief, so that even a piece that is smooth on the surface reveals countless facets and points of entry into the work.

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