The Goblets Series initially started as commissioned work. This project intrigued me because it provided the opportunity to impart an architectural sense of scale to inherently small objects, bringing them into a sculptural context. The link between decoration in architecture and utilitarian objects is seen starting in antiquity, and especially strong in the Middle Ages and Renaissance; this particular set of goblets references medieval ecclesiastic chalices.

   Through craftsmanship and intricate detail, my intention is to suggest that whatever might be consumed from these containers is precious. The glass itself assumes an opaque, obsidian aspect, obscuring the contents. Since there is no narrative per se, the viewer is left to assign their own story to these oddly familiar glasses. Another association, because they appear to be stone and utilitarian function is not priority, is with Egyptian funerary murals where food and tableware are depicted in low-relief in an attempt to provide the departed with everything they might need in the afterlife.

   My kiln casting process uses the lost-wax method in order to achieve crisp, minute detail; an object is first created in wax (the positive) and then covered with a high temperature

GOBLET SERIES

temperature, plaster-like material (the negative) that withstands the heat of the kiln. The wax is removed by steam and the resulting negative mold is placed in a kiln with glass billets placed in a container directly above the mold. When brought to melting temperature the glass flows through a hole in the bottom of the container and fills the mold. Surface texture and cold working marks on the bowls are then carefully polished to create the illusion they may have been carved rather than molded, and give a sense of this vessel being from some other time, possibly antiquity.

   This series is thematically unified with my other work through variations on the architectural motif of a Temple of the Winds capital, which is derived from the Egyptian revival style. The decorative feeling of historical treasures is evoked through traditional articulation of shapes and pattern, but by combining delicate, kiln cast stems and deliberately thick bases and bowls they are visually differentiated from familiar functional glassware, shifted toward the realm of artwork.

 

All images copyright ©2018 Steven Easton