October 2010: Andy Paiko

The most commonly held image of a glassblower is of a somewhat romanticized craftsman surrounded by flaming furnaces, making vases and bowls and drinking vessels, water jugs and little decorative horses for countertop and mantle. Though this is for the most part accurate, I consider my goal as an artist to examine the role of glass in relation to its function. Must a vessel be used in order to be functional? Does a functionless sculpture have a real purpose outside of aesthetic contemplation? If so, does its creator have to take responsibility for making something that is otherwise useless?

These questions have led me away from abstraction towards a symbolic way of dealing with the form/function relationship. Each piece could be metaphorical; it could comment on the difficulty of decision making in everyday life, the relationship of society with nature or language, or the way the mind grasps experience through dreams. But further, I want to make things that try to both communicate AND imitate purpose.

The glassblowing process is an additive one, much like our personalities. Rather than a form emerging from a block of solid stone reductively, forms of glass are pushed into space organically by a cumulative history of layering and motion. My object-making process has developed to extend this layering, whereby many separate, individual glass parts are fused cold, away from the furnace to form a collage of sorts. This allows for a degree of detail and complexity difficult to achieve on the end of a blowpipe.